Blackbird and Mike Cannon-Brookes have just tipped $5 million into this South Australian satellite startup

Mike Cannon-Brookes. Pictures by Belinda Pratten

Adelaide-based Fleet is dreaming big. It wants to be part of the Internet of Things and has plans to connect via more than 100 nanosatellites, with the first launches into space planned for 2018.

The next step in the two-year-old company’s plan is a $5 million raise in series A funding from the likes of Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, and Niki Scevak of Blackbird Ventures, who is joining the Fleet board.

Fleet was founded by Flavia Tata Nardini, a space engineer and Dr Matthew Tetlow, an aerospace engineer with entrepreneur Matt Pearson. Their vision targets industries agriculture, logistics, and mining and gas, and the nanosatellite network the company is developing at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellites will be free to use by sensors and devices worldwide. Fleet kicked off with matching seed funding from the South Australian government.

Tata Nardini says the Series A funds will be used to help build Fleet’s first nanosatellites and continue global expansion.

Fleet CEO Flavia Tata Nardini. Source: supplied

“We’re designing a technology infrastructure that will underpin the new industrial revolution. It will connect all corners of the globe to create a digital nervous system of devices,” she said.

“Our goal is for industries to use this technology to make real, tangible efficiency improvements to the ways they operate and address issues; be it measuring the effect of climate change on outer corners the Great Barrier Reef, or tracking important cargo like aid as it journeys across the Indian Ocean. This investment brings a global network of connectivity one step closer to reality.”

Earth Space Robotics founder, James Schultz, who also invested in the series A round said the company’s technology has the potential to completely change industries in the environment and natural resource sector.

“Fleet’s constellation of nanosatellites connecting thousands of sensors on Earth will drastically increase business efficiencies. Importantly, it will improve our ability to measure environmental change, and proactively steer the course towards better outcomes,” he said.

Cannon-Brooke’s, who tipped in his cash via Grok Ventures, said the Fleet team had an idea “that really gets the adrenaline pumping”.

“Fleet answers one of modern society’s most difficult but important questions: how do we bring all the devices and technology we’ve created together to work as one?” he said.

“Fleet is a prime example of Australian-led innovation at its best, and I can’t wait to help it influence the global economy for the better.”

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