The company, which primarily serves environmental monitoring, insurance and oil and gas customers, is also developing additional sensors as it looks to scale. In addition to the natural color optical images that it offers today, Urban Sky is developing sensors for near-infrared imagery and long-wave infrared imagery. The latter sensor, which the startup calls HotSpot, has already been demonstrated to monitor wildfires in real time as part of a NASA grant and support from the Air Force.
Urban Sky was founded in 2019 by Antonio and CTO Jared Leidich. The two worked together at World View, a company that’s developing high-altitude stratospheric balloons for remote sensing and space tourism, but that’s not where the company was initially conceived. That happened earlier, when the two cofounders worked together on Paragon Space Development’s StratEx program. (That program culminated with Google Executive Alan Eustace completing the highest-ever stratosphere jump from a balloon.)
In addition to the mobile deployment system, the company has also developed a simulator of stratospheric flight profiles that it uses to predict the flight path of a balloon, starting backwards from the area that it wants to image. Based on that target area, the software will back-predict where Urban Sky will need to launch from.
The Series A financing round was co-led by New Legacy Ventures, Lerer Hippeau and Lavrock Ventures, with participation from Catapult Ventures, Union Labs VC, DA Ventures (a Denver Angels Affiliate), and TenOneTen Ventures.