ArkEdge Space Inc. has raised JPY 635 million (approx. USD 5.2 million) in Series A Additional Closing, completing a total of JPY 2.3 billion (approx. USD 18.7 million) in Series A funding.
ArkEdge Space Inc. (headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Takayoshi Fukuyo) has completed a new round of financing through SPARX Innovation for Future Corporation and Pavilion Capital PTE as new shareholders, raising JPY 635 million (approx. USD 5.2 million), and joining existing shareholders Incubate Fund and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital Co.. Added to an initial round in January 2022, led by Incubate Fund and including Real Tech Fund and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital Co., the total amount raised in Series A is now JPY 2.3 billion (approx. USD 18.7 million). Accordingly, the total amount of funds raised by ArkEdge Space Inc. from the seed round totals approximately JPY 2.7 billion (approx. USD 22 million).
With the funds raised this time, we will accelerate the construction and reinforcement of our satellite development system through addition hires and other measures, to ensure the realization of our 6U satellite constellation for IoT communication, Earth observation and maritime VDES, for the achievement of the SDGs, currently under construction. In addition, we will develop and demonstrate nanosatellite technologies required to build a constellation of satellites for lunar activities support by 2025.
Purpose of the fundraising
(1) Construction of a constellation of communication and positioning satellites for lunar surface activities support
The project aims to develop and demonstrate nanosatellite technologies required for the construction of an ultra-long-range communication system between the Moon and the Earth by 2025. ArkEdge Space Inc. has already developed a comprehensive architecture for the positioning and communication system, a lunar positioning satellite system, and a lunar communications system as part of the “Development of Positioning and Communications Technologies for the Moon and Earth Activities” strategic project under the Government of Japan's Strategic Program for Acceleration of Space Utilization (STARDUST Program). We have been selected as a contractor to study related systems and their development plans, including an ultra-long-range earth-to-earth communication system.
With the funds raised this time, we will steadily carry out the development and launch of the demonstrator of an ultra-small spacecraft for lunar positioning and communication. With the growing number of international activities related to lunar exploration, such as the international Artemis Program aiming for a manned lunar landing in 2025 and a manned Mars landing in the 2030s, ArkEdge Space Inc. will contribute to Japan’s sustainable deep space exploration of the Moon and beyond, and to the establishment of a lunar surface industry.
(2) 6U Satellite Constellation
Last year, ArkEdge Space Inc. was selected by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for the “Nano-Satellite Constellation Technology Development and Demonstration Project” (FY2021 Subsidy for Industrial Technology Development Project for Practical Applications), aiming to support the development and demonstration of IoT communications, Earth observation, marine DX (VDES), and high precision attitude control missions. Our goal is to realize the design, development, and on-orbit operations of seven 6U satellites by 2025, on these four themes.
With the funds raised this time, the company secured the ability to demonstrate its service business by providing its 6U satellite platform to governments, research institutes, and private companies around the world, thereby contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, the resolution of global issues, the digital transformation of the ocean, and the creation of a sustainable space industry. We will continue to strive to achieve this goal.
(3) Strengthen human resource recruitment and organizational capabilities
ArkEdge Space Inc. is looking for a wide range of members to promote the realization of these businesses, including engineers for the digitalization of the oceans, the construction of IoT satellite constellations for the SDGs, and space infrastructure projects for lunar activities.
Comments from the Underwriters
Toru Akaura, Managing Partner, Incubate Fund
I met Takayoshi Fukuyo (ArkEdge Inc.’s CEO) in 2017. Since then, he has been remarkably successful in acquiring numerous projects in Japan and abroad.
I am confident that the company will lead the world’s space business with its nanosatellite development capabilities backed by the cutting-edge technologies of the Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory of The University of Tokyo and its business development capabilities led by Mr. Fukuyo. We are determined to join forces with other shareholders to support the company to the fullest extent.
Mizuki Komasa, Growth Manager, Realtech Holdings, Inc.
Since our investment in the seed round in March 2021, ArkEdge Space Inc. has made great strides as a space business platform provider, including multiple government projects and low Earth orbit missions. The Real Tech Fund will continue to support ArkEdge Space Inc., which is expected to make significant contributions to solving various problems on Earth and expanding the frontiers of humanity.
Masaaki Ando, Principal, Investment Development, MSIVC2021V Investment Limited Partnership (Unlimited liability partner: Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital Co.
ArkEdge Space Inc. is a startup with world-class nanosatellite development capabilities and business development in the space industry, and we are confident for its future growth. The company aims to establish a low-cost, high-volume production method for high-performance 6U satellites and provide a unique constellation of satellites that will contribute significantly to the digital transformation of the oceans, IoT communications for SDGs, and the establishment of deep space exploration and the lunar industry. We will continue to support them.
Mr. Shinichiro Migaku, President of SPARX Innovation for Future K.K.
In addition to its ability to develop Japan's only full-scale nano-satellite constellation, we look forward to its extensive human network both inside and outside Japan and its capability to execute numerous projects. We hope that ArkEdge Space will open up the very frontier of the Japanese new space industry.
Pavilion Capital Head Japan Investments CHOUN Chee Kong
Through this funding round, ArkEdge Space will focus on building a 6U satellite constellation, building a communication and navigating satellite constellation for lunar activities, and strengthening its recruitment and organizational capabilities. We expect that ArkEdge Space solves various global social problems by continuously developing IoT communication, earth observation, and ocean VDES satellites for SDGs as an organization, and to contribute to the long-term "space business" based on the exploration and development of the Moon and Mars.
Past Achievements and Recent Developments
(1) Selected by JAXA for research on the “Development of Positioning and Communication Technologies for Lunar Activities” (December 2021)
ArkEdge Space Inc. was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a contractor for the “Study on Development of Positioning and Communication Technologies for Lunar Activities.” We are studying the overall architecture of the positioning and communication system that will be the foundation of lunar exploration, as well as related systems and their development plans, such as a lunar positioning satellite system and an ultra-long-range communication system between the Moon and the Earth.
(2) Selected for the conceptual study of an ultra-small spacecraft system in Comet Interceptor (August 2021)
ArkEdge Space was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a contractor for the “Conceptual Study of an Ultra-Small Spacecraft System for the Comet Interceptor Mission,” a publicly solicited competition.
(3) Selected for the “Nanosatellite Constellation Technology Development and Demonstration Project” (August 2021)
ArkEdge Space Inc.’s 6U satellite constellation program has been selected by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for the “Nanosatellite Constellation Technology Development and Demonstration Project.” 6U satellites will be launched from 2023 and by 2025 and the demonstration will be conducted with seven 6U satellites for four themes: IoT communications, earth observation, ocean DX* and high precision attitude control.
*On-orbit demonstration of VDES satellite for digitizing the ocean
(4) Second anniversary of the launch and operation of RWASAT-1
ArkEdge Space Inc. received an order for Rwanda’s first satellite, a 3U nanosatellite. RWASAT-1 was manufactured and developed in collaboration with Rwandan government agencies and The University of Tokyo, and released from the Japanese Experimental Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station in 2019. In 2021, a commemorative message was successfully sent to RWASAT-1 from Tokyo via LoRa communication to celebrate the second anniversary of its release. RWASAT-1 is still in operation as of March 2022.