March 29th, 2022 – Synspective Inc. raised US $100M in a Series B funding round led by Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (Tokyo, Japan), Nomura SPARX Investment, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan), Pavilion Capital Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), among others. Synspective is ranked as one of the ten largest startups in Japan with a total funding value at $200M. We sat down with Atsushi Shito and Ami Sugisaki of Synspective to learn about the ingredients for startup success.
Atsushi Shito, Board Director and General Manager of the Corporate Administration Dept.
Atsushi is the General Manager of the Corporate Administration Department and is in charge of accounting, finance, auditing, investor relations, legal strategy, and operations. Prior to Synspective, Atsushi worked for a number of audit corporations where he performed financial audits and provided support for IPO, J-SOX, and financial due diligence. A one-time startup co-founder and CFO infusing over 8M in capital, he is also a Certified Public Account (CPA).
Ami Sugisaki, Finance, Corporate Administration Dept.
Ami was part of Japan’s finance branch division of a major U.S. oil company for six years. She gained firsthand experience of business investment decision-making and performance analysis, and consolidated financial statements and disclosure. To deepen her expertise, she subsequently moved to an independent PE fund where she was in charge of all middle and back office operations. This included overall fund management, dealing with domestic and foreign institutional investors, and providing instruction to overseas GPs, administrators, and lawyers. She joined Synspective to gain listing experience in manufacturing and social infrastructure, and is responsible for day-to-day communication with investors.
■Three reasons Synspective secured funding:
#1: Future potential of the space industry market
（Atsushi）One reason is the booming space business market. Governments around the world are fostering the space industry, and the Japanese government’s space budget is annually increasing. The satellite data market, in particular, is expected to grow with increased defense budgets and other factors. Given the geopolitical defense and security risks in Europe and around the world, the demand for satellite data is increasing more than ever before.
（Atsushi）Among the many space start-ups, we feel that expectations for Synspective are particularly high. The small SAR satellite segment, which is the core of Synspective’s business, faces steep technical challenges and the barriers to market entry are high. SAR satellite data is one of the most promising markets for segmentation in the industry but there are currently only a few companies worldwide that are actually operating SAR satellites.
（Ami）The supply of SAR satellite data is not keeping up with demand worldwide. Although many companies and other entities are interested in purchasing SAR satellite data, the data is not available. Another reason is the business model of data sales. I think the fact that space-related businesses can generate revenue and yield cash returns quickly may have also resonated with investors.
#3: Proven achievement record
（Atsushi）It was significant that we were able to show that the company had launched and operated small SAR satellites, acquired images, and had already begun selling data. We have also launched several satellite data solutions that our customers use. I think the audience could sense that Synspective is a company that will continue to grow in the future.
（Ami）That’s right. I think the company was also recognized for its achievements: obtaining contracts, participating in joint projects with JICA and the World Bank, and starting partnerships with influential companies. Finally, we were able to show that our accounting, legal, and internal management systems are in good shape and the IPO is within reach.
■Series B funding round received investment and financing from global VCs
– What is the difference from Series A?
（Atushi）We closed the Series A round before the satellite launch. Synspective was recognized as a strong player in the space industry with founders who had the drive, insight, and vision to create an enduring business. We were able to raise funds with future expectations even though we didn’t have a track record yet.
We raised Series B funding after launching the first satellite. Our solutions customer, Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., and strategic partner, Oriental Consultants Global Inc., made an investment. I believe they had high expectations for our future growth and provided us with the funds because of the trust we built through our solution sales.
（Ami）One of the differences between Series A and Series B is that Series B includes overseas investments. One of the world’s most highly regarded investment firms, Singapore’s Pavilion Capital, which invests mainly in Southeast Asia, provided a significant amount. I think the fact that Synspective has a subsidiary office in Singapore and has been able to recruit key players in the industry has had an impact on our presence there. We also received positive feedback for focusing on Asia and having a business model that sells data and solutions.
Additionally, after undergoing careful examination and a thorough screening process, we were able to raise capital funding for our business. This signals that Synspective is a promising, stable, and reliable company worthy of investment.
– What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
（Atsushi）There is a common perception among investors that it is difficult to invest in the space industry. Attracting new investors in the beginning was not easy. However, our efforts to build good relationships with existing shareholders have been successful. Those who have invested in us since the Series A funding round have decided to make additional investments, which has changed the course of events.
At the same time, we announced projects and partnerships that show our progression, such as successfully launching our second small SAR satellite, StriX-β. Without the support of our existing shareholders and all our employees, we would not have been able to raise the amount we did.
■We intend to use the funds to further expand our business!
– How will the funding be used?
（Ami）New funds will be used mainly for small SAR satellites, mass production facilities, and developing and expanding our satellite data solutions.
（Atsushi）By building a SAR satellite constellation and monitoring the Earth more frequently, we will be able to provide more data for our customers. Synspective’s mission is to use data to realize a sustainable future. To do this, we would like to progress toward a public offering.
Want to harness the power of satellites to change people’s lives here on Earth? Our vacancies can be found on our Careers page.