The company has a center specializing in the development of artificial intelligence and data technology in Barcelona
The main challenges facing humanity in the coming decades have a global dimension: the production and distribution of food, energy, the management of natural resources... Satellogic was founded in 2010 with the premise that information is required to tackle these challenges on a global scale, and without any major investment. In the first stage, the Argentinian company is building a constellation of 90 microsatellites. It currently has five satellites in orbit.
Is it possible to build a constellation of satellites without any major investment?
Satellogic completely reinvented satellites by designing and developing all the necessary technology to assemble a constellation of small, lightweight and low-cost satellites. This makes it possible to launch a constellation of dozens and even hundreds of satellites, not only as part of the Earth observation market, but also – and more importantly – to create new markets and services that were previously unfeasible.
What type of services will Satellogic provide with these satellites?
We have two business units. The first, for data products and services, includes the sale of multispectral images with a resolution of 1 m and hyperspectral images with a resolution of 30 m, aimed at large companies. The second line offers exclusive control of a fleet of satellites over an area of interest, with no disbursement of capital or technical or operational risk. It is intended for municipal, regional and national governments for the development of a space program for Earth observation.
What countries are they operating in?
The company currently has operations in six countries, where it employs over 170 satellite engineers, artificial intelligence experts and solution specialists. Satellogic's central office and its R&D team are in Buenos Aires, which is where the microsatellite components are designed. The assembly, integration and testing takes place in Montevideo. The solutions are developed in Barcelona, where the company has a center specializing in artificial intelligence and data technology. We have a product development team in Tel Aviv and two offices for business expansion in Miami and Beijing.
What was your aim when you opened the Barcelona office?
Although we inaugurated the Barcelona office in May 2018, we actually arrived in Spain in April 2017. Our European headquarters is globally responsible for developing data products and services. Europe in general, and Spain in particular, has an excellent offer of talent in computing sciences and artificial intelligence, two areas of knowledge that are key for the development of our products. This singular offer is the result of several factors. On the one hand, there are world-renowned research centers and universities that contribute to training talent. Satellogic currently collaborates actively with several of these institutions. There is also an active ecosystem of large companies, startups and entrepreneurs that is essential for attracting talent, and above all for maintaining it up-to-date in the latest cutting edge technologies. Spain – and specifically Barcelona – are also important for attracting talent: the climate, the quality of life, communications, its cosmopolitan spirit… These are all contributing factors that make it easier to convince foreign talent to take up residence in Spain.
How is Spain important to the company's strategy?
As in the case of many other companies established in Spain, our market is global. What is important is not so much to sell where you are located, but to be established in a region that will help you sell anywhere. Large European companies, good communications, government subsidies and access to programs that support the research and development of new products are crucial factors in our growth strategy.
Your plan included the creation of around 100 jobs between 2018 and 2020. What infrastructure and how many workers do you currently have in Spain?
This is still our plan. We currently have over 20 workers in Spain and we're still hiring. There are several selection processes open at the moment. We have no doubt that we'll continue increasing the number of employees, just as we've done so far. For example, a few weeks ago we were lucky enough to sign an important contract in China, and this has meant that we now need to focus on organizing the team in Asia. But even in this case, the products that are sold there will be developed in Spain.
How has the company developed in Spain since its arrival?
The initial aim of the Spanish subsidiary was to develop data products. Although this continues to be our main area of work, we have expanded our functions to also support other Satellogic units like the development of software for our satellites, image treatment, business development, sales, R&D and others. This expansion occurred naturally when we found partners and resources in Europe that were particularly qualified for these functions.
What is the profile of your customers in Spain?
Currently most of our customers come from the agricultural and forestry sector. We also have customers in the energy sector and we're working with governments on projects for updating the property register, mapping and tax management. We also collaborate with major NGOs in nature conservation projects.