February 22, 2024

NUVIEW announces acquisition of analytics platform Astraea

CEO Clint Graumann spoke with Geo Week News about how the company’s first acquisition fits with their overall business model.

This week, NUVIEW, a startup whose plan is to launch a constellation of lidar-enabled satellites with the goal of mapping Earth’s land surface on an annual basis, announced their first acquisition. The company announced on Tuesday that they have completed an acquisition of Astraea, a geospatial data analytics platform. Details of the acquisition, including terms and the specific number of employees who will join NUVIEW from Astraea, have not been disclosed.

NUVIEW emerged from stealth at the Geospatial World Forum in May of last year, announcing their plans for the lidar satellite constellation at the event. The company quickly raised significant money, with TechCrunch reporting in June of 2023 that they had raised $15 million, with a portion coming from a group that includes actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Late last year, CEO Clint Graumann spoke with Geo Week News about the company’s founding and their mission, a conversation you can read here. This week, Graumann once again took time to speak with Geo Week News to talk about the company’s first acquisition and how it relates to their overall business model.

Before delving into our conversation with NUVIEW’s CEO, it’s worth looking at the platform the company is acquiring. Astraea describes their platform as “making imagery-derived insights more accessible and an enterprise-grade space strategy more obtainable,” on their LinkedIn page. The platform provides access to satellite imagery from sources like Planet, Maxar, and BlackSky, and uses built-in algorithms to provide insights to end users based on the imagery. 

In a statement following the acquisition, Astraea CEO and co-founder Daniel Bailey said, “NUVIEW shares Astraea's passion for finding solutions to some of the world's toughest problems through Earth observation and data analytics. With only an estimated 5% of the world mapped with the accuracy that only LiDAR technology can bring, NUVIEW's groundbreaking space-based LiDAR coupled with Astræa's platform infrastructure is poised to offer unprecedented AI solutions and indispensable data vital for advancing global climate initiatives and sustainable development. It's an exciting opportunity to focus on our aligned mission and take meaningful steps towards shaping a better future.”


So why did NUVIEW make this platform their first acquisition? Graumann, who has an extensive history in the Earth Observation and satellite space prior to founding NUVIEW, points to familiarity as one reason. 

“I’ve been collaborating with them for years on and off in different capacities,” he told Geo Week News. “And I’ve always thought they’re building a really unique platform that’s actually flown a bit under the radar. I’ve always seen it as a platform that is really great for not only moving data in volume to end users, but also the analytics capabilities that it gives the user are really intuitive.”

This fits in with how NUVIEW has always perceived themselves as a company, even dating back to their first slide deck, Graumann says. Their business model has revolved around the idea that they would be working with what he refers to as their “partner network,” who he describes as being “usually data resellers or analytics providers,” who can take the data from NUVIEW and provide that to their end users. 

“I believe that our partners in every market, whether that’s a geographic market or whether that’s a vertical market, know their end users better than we could ever possibly know them. And so our tool is to enable them, and the Astraea platform is really that vision come to life.”

More tangibly, Graumann believes that the acquisition launches them three years ahead on their roadmap on the geospatial part of NUVIEW’s business. When asked where that number comes from, he notes that this is the amount of time they estimate it would have taken to build this kind of platform from scratch in a commercially viable fashion. 

As noted, this is the company’s first acquisition, but in speaking to Graumann it’s clear that acquisitions were always part of the plan. He says that he’s “a believer in buy where you can, and build where you must.” He expanded on that to clarify this doesn’t mean to just buy everything and hope it works out, but rather buy mature things where they’ve gotten the challenges and early stages out of the way, and build out your unique IP capabilities, which in their case is their lidar instruments. 

Graumann has observed in the Earth Observation space specifically that companies who try to do everything inevitably fail, and it’s something that he and the company have kept in mind throughout their short history. 


“I believe 110 percent that total vertical integration is a disaster. I believe in vertical integration, but I’ve seen every Earth Observation startup and legacy company that tries to go all the way down the analytics platform, all the way to the user, they struggle. We want to have the most exquisite, amazing data that’s analytics-ready for our partners, and a way to get it to them efficiently.”

Obviously the platform and technology that NUVIEW is acquiring in this deal is a massive part of it, but Graumann also emphasized to Geo Week News the importance of the team that comes along with it, both in this specific acquisition and in these kinds of deals in general. Although it’s not clear how many Astraea employees will be coming to NUVIEW, they do plan on integrating the new team members rather than keeping teams separate.

“I think when you put one team’s focus on one thing and one team’s focus on another thing, you create walls artificially within your own company,” Graumann said. “What we really see as a great and unique thing about NUVIEW is that we started with customer demand and then decided to build a sensor that meets that demand. The Astraea team brings a wealth of customer knowledge about what they want out of the data, and if you integrate the customer knowledge team with the hardware team, you get really well informed on how the sensor needs to be built to provide exactly the right type of data in the right time and specifications.”

He continued, “The team is everything when you’re making an acquisition. Having the right people on the bus is more important than having the exact right answer to everything you do, because people know how to solve problems. The way that the Astraea team has approached solving problems around energy, climate, and sustainability are all very important to us, and understanding things like change detection, 3D, and AI are also really important things. When we look at any other part of the value chain of the vertical integration of our business, we look for people to solve problems in new ways rather than do it in old, legacy ways.”

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