Google Reportedly in Talks to Acquire Skybox Imaging

According to Techcrunch, Google is reportedly in talks with Skybox Imaging to acquire their satellite imagery business for $1 billion.

Skybox Imaging was born in 2009 with the idea of revolutionizing the commercial satellite imagery market in launching a constellation of small satellites rather than large payloads.

In 2009 the company secured a Series A financing of $3 million from Khosla Ventures then In 2011 they completed a Series B round of $18M from Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. the start-up finally raised a series C financing of $70 million in 2012 from Canaan Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and existing investors.

Their first satellite SkySat-1, the first of a 24 satellite constellation planned by Skybox Imaging, started to provide imagery in December 2013.

Images, videos and analytics

SkySat-1 captures up to 90-second video clips at 30 frames per second. The resolution is high enough to view objects like shipping containers or cars. SkySat-1 also captures some of the highest quality color imagery of any commercial satellite and is capable of sub-meter native color and near-infrared imagery.

Skybox Imaging does not only supply images, but also analytics – based on their own tools or their customer’s tools – for example to monitor the number of ships in a port or the number of cars on a parking lots.

Thus far Google is buying his imagery data from commercial satellite providers (such as Digital Globe), but an acquisition could make sense. Google could for example add video to its still images in Google Maps and Google Earth.

The analytics software developed by Skybox could also be interesting to Google to improve its products and offer business to business solutions in addition to existing geospatial products.

See below video examples from Skybox Imaging, these videos were taken by SkySat-1, the first of Skybox’s planned constellation of 24 satellites.

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