Beringea leads investment into Northern Michigan space company

NICK MANES — February 09, 2020

  • Farmington Hills firm leads with $5M investment

  • Funding comes at time of increasing number of satellites in orbit

  • Further investment into company is likely

Space will be the next frontier for a Southeast Michigan venture capital firm. Farmington Hills-based Beringea LLC announced that it led a $5 million investment round into a northern Michigan firm focused on equipment used for analyzing and processing data collected from satellites in space.

The capitalization into Traverse City-based Atlas Space Operations Inc. comes as executives say there’s increasing need for investment in the burgeoning industry of space exploration and as more satellites are launched and send data back to Earth.

“You talk about weather, military defense, general earth observation, there’s a need for real-time communication,” said Beringea Vice President William Blake. “There’s frankly a need to get this data down to earth. When you see the cost of launch and satellite construction being reduced, ground infrastructure is kind of the next segment of the Space 2.0 industry.”

William Blake, Beringea Vice President

Space will be the next frontier for a Southeast Michigan venture capital firm. Farmington Hills-based Beringea LLC announced that it led a $5 million investment round into a northern Michigan firm focused on equipment used for analyzing and processing data collected from satellites in space.

The capitalization into Traverse City-based Atlas Space Operations Inc. comes as executives say there’s increasing need for investment in the burgeoning industry of space exploration and as more satellites are launched and send data back to Earth.

“You talk about weather, military defense, general earth observation, there’s a need for real-time communication,” said Beringea Vice President William Blake. “There’s frankly a need to get this data down to earth. When you see the cost of launch and satellite construction being reduced, ground infrastructure is kind of the next segment of the Space 2.0 industry.”

Space 2.0, Blake said, refers to the emergence of companies like Elon Musk’s Space X and the increasing commercialization of space exploration and has been touted by space historian Rod Pyle. Terms of Beringea’s investment into Atlas and its co-investors were undisclosed.

As Crain’s previously reported, Atlas moved to Traverse City from California after an investment offer was made from Boomerang Capital LLC, a Traverse City venture capital firm.

The number of satellites projected to be orbiting earth in the coming years is rapidly expanding. A report last year in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review projects that there could be as many as 1,100 satellites by 2025, up from 365 in 2018.

“You talk about weather, military defense, general earth observation, there’s a need for real-time communication,” said Beringea Vice President William Blake. “There’s frankly a need to get this data down to earth. When you see the cost of launch and satellite construction being reduced, ground infrastructure is kind of the next segment of the Space 2.0 industry.”

Space 2.0, Blake said, refers to the emergence of companies like Elon Musk’s Space X and the increasing commercialization of space exploration and has been touted by space historian Rod Pyle. Terms of Beringea’s investment into Atlas and its co-investors were undisclosed.

As Crain’s previously reported, Atlas moved to Traverse City from California after an investment offer was made from Boomerang Capital LLC, a Traverse City venture capital firm.

ATLAS Space Operations, CEO & Co-FounderSean McDaniel,
Sean McDaniel, CEO & CO-Founder,
ATLAS Space Operations

The number of satellites projected to be orbiting earth in the coming years is rapidly expanding. A report last year in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review projects that there could be as many as 1,100 satellites by 2025, up from 365 in 2018.

Given that projected rise in satellite usage, Blake told Crain’s he anticipates further investment into Atlas, and likely a series B fundraising round in the coming year as the company works toward greater scale.

“For us, we’re underwriting investment in the company today and subsequent support going forward, so our expectation is outsized returns,” said Blake, who declined to provide specific figures. “We view them as a leader in the space field and view that there will be significant liquidity options for us going forward.”

The latest investment round will allow Atlas to grow its software platform called Freedom and “virtualize and automate the access to [hundreds] of ground nodes on a global scale,” CEO Sean McDaniel said in a statement.

Spread the awesome news!

Explore More News & Updates

ATLAS Wins Data Analytics SBIR to Deliver Resiliency and Insights

ATLAS Wins Data Analytics SBIR to Deliver Resiliency and Insight

ATLAS Space Operations, the leading Ground Software as a Service™ (GSaaS) provider, today announced the award of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop a data analytics platform for the United States Space Force. The program will see ATLAS integrate communications infrastructure and multi-domain command and control systems to deliver enhanced insights regarding space communications through network data analytics.

Read More »
Redefining GSaaS: Ground Software as a Service

Redefining GSaaS: Ground Software as a Service™

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) model is ubiquitous. These days, it would be difficult to count on one hand the number of SaaS tools that we interact with every day. Increasingly, businesses are adopting the SaaS model and allowing other businesses to ‘subscribe’ to their professional offerings. In this article, we break down the shift that the satellite communications industry has experienced with GSaaS, or Ground Station as a Service, and the disruptive leap forward ATLAS Space Operations has made in redefining GSaaS — now, Ground Software as a Service.

Read More »
ATLAS Awarded SBIR Contract for Space Domain Awareness

ATLAS Awarded SBIR Contract for Space Domain Awareness

ATLAS Space Operations, the leading provider of Ground Software as a Service™ (GSaaS), today announced the award of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to develop their Space Domain Awareness (SDA) capabilities. This effort will use ATLAS software and hardware to increase ATLAS’ ability to conduct passive RF observations of

Read More »