A number of SkySat satellites before a launch.
Satellite imagery and data specialist Planet Labs is preparing to go public and announced on Wednesday that it will be merged with a SPAC and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Planet Labs is joining forces with the special purpose vehicle dMY Technology Group IV, which is traded on the NYSE under the ticker DMYQ. The deal gives the aerospace company a $ 2.8 billion stock valuation and is expected to close in the fourth quarter, leading to Planet listing on the NYSE under the ticker PL.
“Planet is a data company … we are a mature company with a massive new and unique set of data from our 190 satellites, the largest terrestrial fleet ever, and more than ten times the size of any other,” Planet co-founder and CEO Will Marshall told CNBC.
DYMQ shares rose 2% in pre-trading hours from their previous closing price of $ 9.81.
Co-founder and CEO Will Marshall
The deal is expected to raise a total of $ 434 million for Planet, including a $ 200 million PIPE round – or a private investment in public equity – led by BlackRock and along with Google, Koch and Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures. Previously, Planet raised more than $ 380 million in capital from investors such as Google, DFJ, Lux Capital, DCVC, Founders Fund, Space Capital, and others.
“I am very excited to have such high quality partners as we approach this important milestone for Planet,” said Marshall. “We’ll do this in the long run.”
Planet joins a trend of space companies going public through SPAC deals. Redwire, Satellogic and Momentus should follow in the coming months.
A data subscription business
Planet has launched 462 satellites to date, and its current orbital fleet includes 21 satellites that can take images with a resolution of 50 centimeters and about 120 that can take images with a resolution of nearly three meters. Resolution is a way of measuring the details that a satellite can image. A smaller resolution means a better view of the ground.
Marshall found that his higher resolution satellites do a “scan of the entire landmass of the earth once a day”.
The company’s images then flow into a data index that, according to Planet, makes the earth “searchable” for its more than 600 customers. Planet’s customer contracts are concluded as subscriptions, 90% of which are annual recurring contracts. Existing revenues are broadly divided into four sectors: civil with 24%, agriculture with 23%, defense and intelligence with 22% and mapping with 17%.
“Analytics is the foundation of the biggest trillion dollar trends in the global economy as various industries digitally transform,” said Marshall. “‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
He analogized Planet as a data company rather than a satellite company, just as Google is a search engine and advertising company and not a server company.
“They have servers in the back end, yes … Planet has satellites in the back end and we’re really good at that,” Marshall said. “But we’re a data company – we sell data to our customers; that’s the value you get “
Over $ 100 million last year
Planet had revenue of $ 113 million last year – as the company’s 2021 fiscal year ended on January 31st. While Marshall says Planet doesn’t need as much money as is raised through this SPAC, the company will use it to grow its sales, marketing, and software lines.
The company aims to be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis by early 2025 and grow sales to nearly $ 700 million by early 2026.
“We’re ready to go out into the world now, and the world really needs us,” Marshall said. “If we look around the world, pretty much every company in every industry has to measure ESG [environmental, social and governance] every government in every country has to measure its emissions and so on. “
“We have to be a global company, and we’re getting there,” added Marshall.
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