Sensor Showdown Highlights: Part 1

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Project Geospatial and Ursa organized the 2020 Sensor Showdown, a number of live-streamed panels featuring experts in space, technology, data analytics, and more, as part of the Geospatial Frontier Virtual Technology Fair.

In this blog series, we’ll cover all the panels, highlighting a few at a time. Keep reading to learn more and click the videos to watch. Enjoy!

Advances in Commercial GEOINT Panel

The first panel in the series featured speakers from companies employing different remote sensing capabilities: hyperspectral, electro-optical, and synthetic aperture radar.

The panelists shared thoughts on how to build a successful business that provides solutions, not “just data,” to commercial and government clients.

Opening remarks by Robert Zitz [1:20]

Introduction to PredaSAR Corporation [8:00], BlackSky [12:39], HyspecIQ [15:54]

The US budget sequestration in 2013 was a turning point for the remote sensing industry, which relied heavily on US government dollars until that point. How do you pitch a business plan to investors today? How has that pitch changed? [20:00]

Isn’t it true that having at least steady dollars or contracts from the US government sends a signal to venture capital or private equity?  [22:50]

There are going to be limits to what you can sell, particularly with respect to advanced commercial GEOINT. We’re talking about capabilities that may make some people nervous in the US Intelligence Community. How do you navigate this path?  [28:10]

How are each of you combining your existing capabilities with other data sources? What partnerships do you have or are planning to form? [36:20]

Have the National Reconnaissance Office and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency expressed a desire to have companies work together to provide tipping-and-cueing and later an analytic service? [45:00]

What solutions are you offering customers? [47:30]

Do you envision a time when government customers will have as easy access to your information as they do to more highly classified systems’ data?  [55:00]


Investor Perspective Panel

This panel of investors from top venture capital firms discussed their thoughts on emerging trends and technologies in the commercial space industry.

What types of companies are they interested in? What funding opportunities do they expect to see this year and next?

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Panelist introduction by Jeanne Suchodolski [1:40]

Serious investment in the commercial space industry began 10 years ago. What are investors expecting to see from these early investments as they reach maturity? [6:40]

Do you think investors still believe space is a good place to invest? How might the first wave of investments influence subsequent investment rounds? [12:20]

Are you starting to see a transition in investment toward services or solutions, rather than individual components, hardware and launch services? [19:35]

Is space investing mostly still about on-orbit capabilities? What is the mood and appetite for other types of space investments? [23:50]

Are investors pulling out of space investments due to the COVID pandemic? [29:20]

Cybersecurity is becoming part of the due diligence required for investing in a company. Are you seeing that in the space sector? [38:40]

Are there risks and concerns that US companies need to be aware of when entertaining overseas investment dollars? [42:10]

How much are your investment decisions influenced by a government’s interest or lack of interest? [45:40]

Is a business worth more to invest in if they have a path toward an IPO or path toward them being held privately? [46:30]

Are there technologies currently on the table or emerging that appear to be game changers? [48:40]

Have you seen any changes in telescope or antenna technologies of interest? [53:35]

What changed in the 2015 timeframe that made space attractive as an investment? [54:50]

Stay tuned for more highlights and visit geospatialfrontier.com/sensorshowdown for more information.

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