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IFC invests in Planet Labs to improve access to emerging market satellite imagery


In Washington, D.C.:
Laura MacInnis
Phone: (202) 473--6978
E-mail: lmacinnis@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., April 13, 2015 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has invested $20 million in Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based company that deploys small, low-orbiting satellites to photograph remote and emerging parts of the world to help with disaster response, agriculture and urban planning.

Planet Labs’ fleet of nano satellites, which it calls “doves,” can be deployed in clusters to capture Earth imagery faster and less expensively than traditional satellites, whose data-rich images are often inaccessible to communities and businesses in developing countries. Up-to-date satellite imagery can inform strategic decisions about how to manage forests, water resources, coastal zones and farmlands, including choices about crop use. Planet Labs’ Earth snapshots can also track pollution and enable fast, targeted responses to both man-made and natural disasters.

“Satellite imagery is an important tool for economic development and disaster risk response, and Planet Labs’ datasets can help bridge the information gap many emerging markets now face. IFC’s investment will help ensure more companies and communities in developing countries have the information they need to grow in a smart and sustainable way,” said Nikunj Jinsi, Global Head of Venture Capital at IFC.

IFC’s equity stake is part of a $118 million fundraising effort for Planet Labs, which has also secured funds from Data Collective VC, DFJ, Capricorn Investment Group and others. The proceeds will be used to finance the manufacturing and deployment of satellites, ground stations and technical equipment, and to support business growth and sales.

IFC’s Venture Capital division provides equity financing to early- and growth-stage companies across technology-focused sectors including consumer internet, resource efficiency, and healthcare and education technologies. These investments help connect young companies with opportunities in emerging markets and extend the reach of new technology with high potential development impact.

About Planet Labs
Founded in 2010, Planet Labs Inc. (“Planet”) is a U.S.-based company that collects information about our changing planet using a fleet of compact, highly capable Earth-imaging satellites. Planet’s goal is to image the entire Earth every day. Planet is enabling the democratization of satellite imagery by making it easy to access online at an affordable price point. The broad coverage and high frequency of its satellite imagery will grant Planet customers access to global and local insights that currently are either impossible or cost-prohibitive to obtain.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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