TUCSON, Ariz., April 27, 2016 (World View PR) — World View, the pioneers at the edge of space, today announced it has closed a $15M Series B round, with Canaan Partners as the lead investor. The round also includes participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Tencent, Moment Ventures, and Base Ventures. With the funding, World View plans to accelerate the development and commercial adoption of its “Stratollites” — high-tech balloons that operate in the stratosphere.
Unlike any other balloon, drone or satellite in the industry, World View’s Stratollites offer directional capability over remote areas for extended periods of time. These innovative new high-altitude capabilities are being offered to commercial customers for the first time, at a fraction of the cost of existing technologies, signaling the emergence of a new and untapped stratospheric economy with extraordinary potential. Comparatively speaking, other existing high-altitude vehicles face a number of challenges, including restrictions on geographical flight location and flight elevation, short flight duration, high costs and limited lifespan. World View’s technology addresses each of these limitations.
The major innovation of the Stratollite is its ability to fly a variety of trajectories – from circumnavigating the earth to persistence over a location. Stratollites can maintain position over specific areas of interest for days, weeks, and eventually months on end. This allows for more sustained measurements and monitoring capabilities over a targeted area. Stratollites can carry a wide variety of commercial payloads (remote sensors, telescopes, communications arrays, etc.). Unlike other technologies that require ideal conditions for launch, Stratollites can launch rapidly on demand, and safely return payloads back to earth after mission completion.
World View’s Stratollites will serve a wide range of commercial and government applications, including:
- Communications: Stratollites can carry service providers’ cellular device signals and communications arrays over remote locations and before, during or after natural disasters, aiding first responders in their efforts to locate and assist those in distress.
- Remote Sensing: Stratollites offer a robust, affordable and rapidly deployable platform for real time visual and instrument observation over specific areas of geographical interest.
- Weather: Stratollites are ideal for collecting weather data since traditional systems cannot fly over the open ocean or other remote areas where weather develops for an extended period of time. Stratollites are able to gather weather data at the source and in-situ, making weather forecasting much more accurate and timely.
- Research: Offering an affordable platform for a variety of research applications, from astro- and solar physics to atmospheric and earth sciences.
To date, World View has deployed over 50 successful launches and returns. The company has time and again demonstrated its ability to repeatedly and rapidly fly to the edge of space and operate in the stratosphere including heights up to 140,000 feet — an underutilized section of Earth’s atmosphere. While trillions of dollars are spent on applications in space and the troposphere, the stratosphere is virtually untapped.
“Ultimately, we’re creating a new category with these Stratollites,” said Jane Poynter, CEO of World View. “The entire World View team is passionate about changing the future of space technologies and expanding their application to new industries. In the end, we’d like to make space accessible to everyone and use the technology at hand for the benefit of humankind.”
As a part of the new round of funding, Deepak Kamra, General Partner at Canaan Partners, Vab Goel, General Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, and Tom Ingersoll (former CEO of Skybox Imaging) have joined World View’s Board of Directors.
“There are other high-altitude vehicles, but the Stratollite concept is something that’s never been done before,” said Deepak Kamra, General Partner at Canaan Partners. “No other balloon, satellite or drone has been able to successfully complete long-endurance flight over a specific area of interest and safely return to Earth. World View is creating a brand new ‘above-earth’ economy that operates in an unutilized layer of space. The combination of innovative technology, the medium it’s being used in, and its commercial availability have positive business and environmental impacts.”
“World View offers an extremely unique, differentiated technology, and the company is defining an entirely new market by enabling new use cases for the edge of space,” said Vab Goel, General Partner, Norwest Venture Partners. “We are impressed with World View ’s vision and we believe the executive management team’s deep knowledge and expertise in the space industry will help accelerate this market
in the years ahead.”
About World View® Enterprises, Inc.
World View is pioneering a new era of discovery at the edge of space, offering an affordable and versatile flight platform for enterprise and government applications. The foundation of World View’s flight technology stems from a manned flight program led by key World View personnel that broke the altitude record for highest balloon flight in Oct 2014. Dubbed “StratEx,” the program qualified World View as the top, full-service high-altitude balloon flight provider. Its advanced system allows for long-endurance flights over specific areas of interest and a variety of flight paths including circumnavigating the globe. Available today for commercial flights of unmanned payloads only, and currently taking reservations for human-tended flights, World View is leading the way in the emerging stratospheric economy and creating unprecedented access to the near-space environment. For more information, visit http://www.worldview.space