Planet Labs Looks to Expand Software Offerings, Win New Customers With IPO Funds

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Google-backed satellite-imaging company hopes to list on New York Stock Exchange next month via SPAC merger

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Planet Labs has acquired Las Vegas-based SPAC dMY Technology Group Inc. IV and then debuted on the New York Stock Exchange under a new name, Planet Labs Public Benefit Corp., shortly after the shareholder vote on December 3. deal. SPACs are shell companies that issue shares to raise capital to buy a business and take it public.

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The $600 million equity increase includes a $252 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from existing investor Alphabet Inc. NS

Google, as well as new investor Salesforce.com Inc. The investment fund of Marc Benioff, CEO of TIME Ventures and Koch Strategic Platforms LLC, is a subsidiary of Koch Investments Group. Google, TIME Ventures and Koch Strategic Platforms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Planet Labs said it has raised more than $450 million in venture-capital funding, most recently $168 million in a Series D round in 2018 from Google and venture-capital firms Threshold Ventures and DCVC Management Company. Labs’ fleet of satellites, 450 of which have been launched since their inception in 2010, said the company.

Ms Johnson said going public through SPAC gives the company better access to capital and allows executives to engage more with investors than traditional IPOs, particularly through the process of increasing PIPE. “We are now putting the capital behind growing our commercial infrastructure,” she said. Ms Johnson joined the company last year from robo financial advisory firm Wealthfront Corp, where she was CFO and chief operating officer.

Once public, Planet Labs will invest in marketing and expand its software offerings, according to Ms Johnson. He said the company wants to strengthen its ability to offer time-stamped data, which companies and data analysts can incorporate into their systems for modeling and data mining. To help with that, the company earlier this month agreed to acquire Wandersat BV, the Netherlands-based earth-data provider Haarlem, for about $28 million.

“That type of analytical capability on top of our data opens up more market opportunities for us and more wallet shares with our existing customers,” said Ms Johnson. The company said it has about 700 customers, but did not disclose a target to increase that number. Its business customers are concentrated in industries such as agriculture and mapping.

Planet Labs is one of several satellite companies that have decided to go public through SPAC in recent months to capitalize on high investor demand for space-derived data. Other such companies include Boca Raton, Fla.-based Terran Orbital Corp. and Uruguay-based Satellogic.

The company, which sells subscriptions to its customers, will bring in $191 million in revenue during the fiscal year that ends in January 2023. This is 69% higher than revenue reported for the most recent fiscal year ended January 31. The company, which said it has more than 600 full-time employees, is expected to make quarterly profits by FY2025, Ms Johnson said.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s largest institutional investors, has invested in Planet Labs because the company collects a wealth of imaging data and generates more revenue than some competitors, said Caitlin, managing director of Pensions. Walsh said fund.

CPPIB, also known as CPP Investments, in September committed to providing $50 million in PIPE funding to Planet Labs, its first investment in the company. “It’s not only important to have the data, but it’s also important to have it in a form that’s useful to customers,” said Ms. Walsh.

[email protected] . on Mark Maurer

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