Sunday, April 12, 2015

2015 is Shaping Up to be a Good Year for UrtheCast

          By Chuck Black

Vancouver based, Earth imaging company UrtheCast certainly began 2015 with a bang, starting with the January 2015 announcement that the company was hiring and expanding. Since then, several additional announcements have added to the positive buzz surrounding the publicly traded company. 

The view towards Earth from the UrtheCast  high and medium resolution cameras on the Russian Zvezda module of the International Space Station (ISS). As discussed in the June 13th, 2014 CanTech Letter post, "Google’s acquisition of Skybox is validation for Urthecast, says Clarus," the Urthecast revenue is derived from reselling Earth imaging data collected from orbit. As outlined in the June 10th, 2013 post, "UrtheCast Proceeds with Takeover and Funding for ISS Camera's," the firm received it first large cash infusion through a private sector "reverse takeover" of inactive Canadian mining company Longford Energy.  Photo c/o Urthecast. 

As outlined in the January 25th, 2015 post, "Canadian Space Company UrtheCast is Hiring," the company began the year by announcing its expansion plans, required to support a $65Mln CDN five year contract signed in November 2014 with an unnamed, "confidential customer."

Of course, it's quite possible that an indication of just who that unnamed confidential customer could potentially have been was supplied by the February 2015 announcement that Letitia A. "Tish" Long, a retired US government employee was joining the UrtheCast board of directors.

Tish Long. Photo c/o CNN.
As outlined in the February 23rd, 2015 Canadian News Wire (CNW) press release, "UrtheCast Appoints New Board Member Letitia "Tish" Long, Former Director Of The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency," Long previously served as the US deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (policy, requirements, and resources), the deputy director of naval intelligence and the executive director for intelligence community affairs at the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).

According to the CNW press release, Long's last job as the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGIA) was to manage the provision of "timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security" to both the US Department of Defense and the US intelligence community, a grouping of 17 separate US government agencies. These organizations used NGIA derived data to conduct intelligence activities (including espionage), contribute to military planning and perform other activities considered necessary "for the conduct of foreign relations and national security."

All of which has just got to suggest dozens of potential new Earth imaging clients at the very heart of the US intelligence community.

UrtheCast CEO Scott Larson. Photo c/o Vancouver Business.
Of course, just three weeks later, as outlined in the March 11th, 2015 UrtheCast post, "UrtheCast Partners With Pepsi® To Provide Innovative Earth Video Solutions For The New Pepsi Challenge™," the company announced a "brand partnership" with PepsiCo Inc., an American multinational food and beverage corporation, to provide full color ultra high-definition video Earth images for the brand’s 2015 global "Pepsi Challenge" marketing campaign.

In essence, it looks like the UrtheCast client base won't be restricted to intelligence agencies.

Then came the announcement of the first ever quarterly profit for the company. As outlined in the March 23rd, 2015 Business in Vancouver article, "UrtheCast brings in first-ever revenue, posts profit of US$6 million," the profit was the logical consequence of the $65Mln CDN contract signed in November 2014.

The article quotes UrtheCast CEO Scott Larson as stating that, "the improvement of our cash and working capital positions, combined with the technical progress that we have made, puts (UrtheCast) in an excellent position for growth in 2015."

And finally, as outlined in the April 8th, 2015 UrtheCast post, "UrtheCast Corp. enters into a bought deal agreement for gross proceeds of C$15,000,000," there was the announcement that UrtheCast will be raising an additional $15Mln CDN in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, through the use of what is called a "bought deal" financial arrangement. The offering is expected occur on or about April 16th, 2015 but will be subject to regulatory approval.

Taken together, these individual announcements reflect well on the current fund raising capabilities and potential sales opportunities for UrtheCast, but also serve as an example to Canadian space companies who don't wish to depend on Canadian Space Agency or Industry Canada contracts to remain in business.

Well played, UrtheCast.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page