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Estonian space startup KappaZeta leaps forward with additional funding

Estonian space technology startup KappaZeta has secured a new round to further help farmers and set sights on forest carbon stock assessment.

Tartu-based space technology startup KappaZeta has secured €480,000 in funding from a group of investors, writes Baltic VC. Adding to the already established SpaceTech cluster in the city (since 2017, Tartu has been home to the European Space Agency Business Incubator Centre), it will further boost the development of space-related innovation in Estonia.

The financing round was led by the Estonian Business School Group, with key contributions from business angels Ahti Heinla, Prof Adam Beaumont, Markus Tamme, Mart Noorma and Anu Noorma, Priit Salumaa, Priit Vellak, Toomas Kams and Eva Kams and Tõnu Runnel. The investors bring along extensive business, forestry, Earth observation science and quality management expertise, owing to their experience from companies such as Starship Technologies, Mooncascade, Better Medicine, Sixfold, HD Forest, Milrem Robotics, etc.

This financing will speed up KappaZeta’s journey to disrupt the world of radar satellite data analysis. Founded in 2015 by Kaupo Voormansik and Tanel Tamm., the company uses radar satellite data to help farmers, improve profitability, and enhance the quality of agricultural products. Besides agriculture, it also offers services for insurance, forestry, defence, open-area mining, and environmental protection.

One of KappaZeta’s standout features is its ability to provide continuous time series of biomass estimation. How does it work? The team ingeniously combines Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations with cloud-free optical images to create accurate biomass estimates.

This enables farmers to monitor the growth of crops with precision and adapt their strategies accordingly. Furthermore, the technology excels in detecting different plant types and identifying crop types through their unique temporal signatures, leveraging the science of phenology – the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena. Only a few companies globally can offer this level of advanced radar satellite data analysis.

 Estonia from space

Beyond agriculture

While agriculture remains a core focus, KappaZeta’s innovations are not limited to the fields alone. The versatility of their technology opens doors to a multitude of sectors. This includes insurance, where precise crop data can revolutionize risk assessment and claims processing.

In forestry, KappaZeta’s capabilities will play a crucial role in forest management and carbon stock assessment. Defence applications, open-area mining, and environmental protection are also potential fields of exploration.

With the recent funding secured, KappaZeta is keen to enhance its agricultural and defence products and is on a mission to create a service for forest carbon stock assessment.

Besides that, KappaZeta aims to pioneer three-dimensional data collection using Sentinel-1, a constellation of two satellites. This will enable them to create a global and frequently updated dataset regarding forest biomass and carbon stock, a big leap in our understanding of Earth’s ecosystems.

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