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AiDash, a company using satellite imagery and AI to monitor infrastructure, today announced that it raised $27 million in series B funding led by G2 Venture Partners, with BGV, National Grid Partners, and additional strategic investors participating. The proceeds bring the company’s total raised to date to $33 million, which AiDash says will be put toward expanding its workforce and further developing its platform.
Companies in a range of markets are using satellite imagery to improve efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and even make investment decisions. Driving the adoption is an explosion of data — at the start of 2019, an estimated 5,000 satellites revolved around the Earth’s orbit — but also advancements in AI that make analyses of the imagery more attainable than before. If the current trend holds, the geospatial analytics market size will grow from $6.9 billion in 2020 to $27.9 billion in 2025, according to Markets and Markets.
AiDash seeks to be at the forefront with a product that enables “satellite-powered” operations for utility, energy, and related industries. Founded in San Francisco in 2019 by serial entrepreneurs Abhishek Vinod Singh, Nitin Das, and Rahul Saxena, the company leverages high-resolution, multispectral imagery and synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data to train AI models to make predictions for maintenance, inspection, and disaster and disruption management activities.
SAR, a form of radar that’s used to create two-dimensional images or three-dimensional reconstructions of objects, uses the motion of a radar antenna to provide finer resolution than conventional, stationary radars. It’s impervious to interference from clouds, fog, and haze both day and night.
“Our AI algorithms are case-specific, pretrained, and innovative. They can pluck relevant insights from historic data and convert that into the best plan of action for the operations and management team,” AiDash explains on its website. “AiDash offers a suite of satellite-driven AI products that are tailor-made for core industries such as utilities, telecom, roads and railroads, smart cities, mining, and more.”
In addition to satellite imagery, AiDash collects data from smartphones, vehicle-mounted devices, and handheld and preinstalled sensors to serve as a ground truth. For customers including National Grid and other Fortune 500 companies, the startup delivers analytics to mitigate the impact of wildfires, severe storms, and erosion on assets like railways, roads, power lines, and construction sites.
In March, Avista, an energy company servicing Eastern Washington and parts of Idaho and Oregon, partnered with AiDash to develop a wildfire resiliency plan. According to Avista plan manager David James, the platform allows Avista to image its entire system and run reports and forecast plans that account for budgetary constraints. “This is a powerful platform that will help us differentiate between herbicide program, our encroachment program, and then our risk tree program,” he said in a statement.
AiDash also recently joined the Open Geospatial Consortium, a community committed to making geospatial location information and services freely accessible.
It is anticipated that nearly 10,000 satellites will launch between 2019 and 2028. The market for analyzing their data is enormous, with Crunchbase estimating that geospatial startups have raised $4.1 billion across more than 600 funding rounds.
AiDash competes with companies such as Ursa, which is developing a platform that aggregates data from a network of satellites and fuses it with additional data sources. Among other rivals are Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Descartes Labs, New York-based Cherre, and Cape Analytics, which uses AI and aerial imagery for home insurance inspections.
In a report, Gartner predicts that geospatial analytics could grow to become an essential part of many organizations’ day-to-day operations. “By now, many leaders recognize the role of analytics and data mastery in unlocking business value and achieving their organizations’ digital ambitions,” the firm writes. “Increasingly, this means mastering the use of geospatial analytics and spatial thinking. For some organizations, this could be transformative — even becoming a launching pad for entirely new businesses.”
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