Kepler raises $92m in fresh funding
April 15, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Toronto-based Kepler Communications has raised $92 million in a Series C funding round as part of its project to launch an “internet ready” satellite optical data relay system to compliment its existing radio frequency network.
Since 2016, the company has raised more than $200 million in equity, with support from Costanoa Ventures, Canaan Partners, Tribe Capital, BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund, and other leading investors. The new cash comes from IA Ventures.
With this funding, Kepler says it will launch an optical data relay infrastructure in 2024, complementing its existing RF network. Kepler’s optical communications infrastructure will use two near-orthogonal planes of relay satellites in sun-synchronous orbits, with satellites in each plane continuously connected using SDA-compatible optical inter-satellite links. Optical services will be operational and available to customers by Q1 2025.
“Exponentially decreasing launch costs make space more accessible than ever, but connectivity beyond Earth is still costly, challenging, and inconsistent,” said Brad Gillespie, general partner at IA Ventures. “The Kepler Network solves this by providing a fast, open, developer-friendly network enabling ‘it-just-works’ connectivity between any asset in space and back to Earth—and someday to Mars and beyond! With proven customer demand for their high-speed optical network, we are excited to lead this funding round to enable Kepler to continue its rapid growth and achieve profitability.”
The Kepler Network will streamline on-orbit communications with a network infrastructure designed to act as Internet exchange points (IXP) for space-to-space data relay. The Internet-ready constellation will deliver data to and from spacecraft in real time, enabling high-speed data relay through SDA-standard optical terminals.
“Since our foundation, Kepler has been dedicated to enabling the future of space communications; working tirelessly to create the infrastructure needed for real-time, always-available access to space assets. As we build out The Kepler Network, we are solving challenges the industry faces and simplifying mission communications by bringing modern Internet capabilities into space,” said Mina Mitry, CEO for Kepler. “Internet services on Earth completely transformed civilisation, and we believe extending the Internet to space will have the same far-reaching impact.”
The company plans to launch two Pathfinder satellites in Fall 2023, testing and validating optical communication technology developed for the Kepler constellation. The company’s newest satellites build on the flight heritage of its existing constellation, totaling 21 satellites after the launch of two additional spacecraft in mid-April 2023.