RapidEye Seeks Investors After Successful Global Partnership Campaign

By | September 9, 2010 | Feature, Government

[Satellite News 09-09-10] RapidEye has hired Roland Berger Strategy Consultants to help the German geospatial solutions provider attract new investors and raise additional capital to expand its business, the company announced Sept. 9.
    RapidEye CEO Wolfgang Biedermann said his company is well equipped with the technical resources necessary for global expansion, but has invested its finances in development. “We want to expand our market reach, our investment in new systems and our product development efforts more quickly to take advantage of the business opportunities which present themselves to us.”
Biedermann will use the new funding for additional new product and market development, as well as upgrading and improving its systems to handle growth. RapidEye, which owns and operates a five-satellite constellation, has just come off of an aggressive global partnership campaign, which successfully expanded its international network.
    Last month, GAF signed on with RapidEye to be its data distributor in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. GAF CEO Peter Volk said that the deal gives RapidEye access to its existing network of partners, which could quickly result in increased data sales. “This underpins GAF’s outstanding positioning in the German and European market. We are sure to use this technology to the benefit of our agriculture, forestry, security, and environmental services.”
    In July, RapidEye won a distribution deal in Canada, entering into a strategic alliance with MDA subsidiary Geospatial Services, which has led the development and delivery of RapidEye’s satellite system as its prime contractor. MDA Geospatial Services Business Manager Paulo Bezerra said his company entered the deal because of increased demand for satellite imagery in the Canadian market and pointed to other potential development deals with RapidEye. “We are also looking forward to partnering on joint solutions projects developed from optical and radar imagery.”
    Harris Corp. was selected as RapidEye’s partner in the United States. RapidEye will supply new product to its North American partners after an extensive regional mapping campaign that produced imagery covering 95 percent of the contiguous United States, 97 percent of Mexico and almost 60 percent of Canada. Many areas were imaged more than once over this three-month span and totaled 17 Million square kilometers of North America.
    In June, RapidEye signed a partnership agreement with Ukrainian Space Agency subsidiary Dniprocosmos State Co. to distribute its data services in Ukraine. The two companies have been partners in other areas as Dniprocosmos also builds the rockets to launch RapidEye satellites. “In 2009, we successfully completed a joint pilot project to monitor agrarian resources in our country. Currently, we are in process of a joint project using land cover classification. Becoming a RapidEye distributor will allow us to implement the latest space technology for our Ukranian users,” Dniprocosmos Deputy Director Vyacheslav Voloshyn said in a statement.
    For the North African markets, German GeoConsultants Group (3G) will act as RapidEye’s distributor in Libya and Tunisia as a result of a partnership agreement signed in July. Karem Ben Khaled, Executive Director at 3G said that satellite imagery for agricultural purposes has been a big seller in the region. “The RapidEye satellite system provides unique capabilities and benefits for environmental and especially agricultural monitoring, but also for the rapid and accurate topographic mapping for very large areas.”
    RapidEye also established a presence in South America, by signing Brazilian distributor Santiago & Cintra Consultoria as its sales partner in the region, which covers territory in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. RapidEye’s new partnership yield also includes Geosys in France, Procalculo in Columbia, Metria in Sweden and the Baltics, and Chinese distributor BEO, along with Panaxx in the Asian region – all acquired, among others, through business alliances formed in the past six months.
    Armed with its new distributor network, RapidEye said it would use some of the capital it raises to develop its second-generation satellite system. As the company works to match last year’s fundraising success from its GeoEye competitor and capitalize on the projected 16 percent commercial data sector sales growth at $3.9 billion by 2018, RapidEye hopes a second generation satellite system will join the 260 Earth observation and meteorology satellites that are planned for launch in the next 10 years.
     Euroconsult CEO Pacôme Revillon said the sector’s growth is driven by the government sector. “Today, government demand accounts for over 80 percent of commercial Earth observation data and service revenue. … Initiatives such as the European Union’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security will provide further impetus for services usage, as the program is designed to develop operational Earth observation services for use by public entities.”

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