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Seed Of The Week: Skynopy

Founded by two Space Tech veterans, the startup raised a €3.1 million Seed Round for its platform that makes it easier for companies to manage their satellite services.

The Skynopy team

In the limitless realm of space, the satellite industry is undergoing a remarkable expansion. 

Satellites, varying in size from shoeboxes to small cars, serve many purposes — from telecommunications and global internet coverage led by industry giants like SpaceX, OneWeb, and Amazon, to Earth observation for scientific research, weather monitoring, and defense applications. 

Currently, approximately 5,000 satellites are orbiting the Earth in lower orbits, ranging from 160 to 2,000 kilometers above the surface. These are known as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

Their number has skyrocketed in recent years, driven largely by SpaceX's RideShare program, which allows multiple satellite operators to share rocket launch costs and more easily launch their satellites into orbit. Over 100 new satellites are now projected into space every quarter through the program, generating an increasing amount of data. 

However, according to Antonin Hirsch, Co-Founder and CTO of space tech startup Skynopy, this rapid advancement in satellite numbers and technology has highlighted a significant challenge: satellite connectivity. Despite cutting-edge technology and easier access to low Earth orbit, outdated technology and processes are limiting the ability of satellite operators to control their satellites and download the data they generate, creating a major bottleneck in the market. 

What Is Skynopy?

Skynopy is a Paris-based SaaS and hardware startup focused on simplifying satellite communications. Founded in October 2023 by CEO Pierre Bertrand and Hirsch, the company provides satellite operators with an efficient and cost-effective way of communicating with their satellites by offering them a plug-and-play style "connectivity as-a-service" solution.

Their platform consists of leveraging existing ground antenna networks and enabling them to be used by different satellite operators. These operators can then benefit from smooth and seamless global connectivity without having to invest in and manage their own costly and complex ground infrastructure.

Hirsh explains that there are two types of satellite operators: telecoms (global internet broadband providers) and earth observation satellite operators. Skynopy exclusively serves the latter, focusing on commercial service providers that need earth observation capabilities. This is because many major internet providers already have their own ground infrastructure.


"Until now, satellite connectivity has been both complex and costly," says Hirsch. He likens satellite communications to sending a video from a mobile phone: "Operators have had to find the nearest antenna and navigate through a series of complicated programming maneuvers just to establish communication. They're then charged by the minute for these connections."

Skynopy’s ambition is to address the outdated complexity of satellite connectivity and meet the growing needs of the low Earth orbit space industry by bringing the simplicity of modern mobile connectivity to the satellite sector. In doing so, he believes that Skynopy will be removing a major pain point and barrier to entry into the Low Orbit Space industry.

Under the hood

Skynopy’s connectivity solution is both software and hardware-based.

“We are able to connect existing ground antennas to different satellites using either Skynopy’s custom-made cloud-based software, which we use as an interface to connect the ground antenna to the satellite and then collect the data the satellite sends back in the software. Or we use universal connectivity kits consisting of hardware connectors that are fixed onto part of a ground-based setup,” Hirsch explains. By connecting satellites with existing ground station networks, Skynopy can scale rapidly and offer high-bandwidth connectivity with minimal capital expenditure.

“What we’re offering is a connected network and an end-to-end service that provides safe (encrypted) and seamless connectivity on a global scale,” affirms Hirsch.

The connectivity kits are produced in partnership with other French, German, and US actors that specialize in the designing and manufacturing of radio and antenna equipment for low-orbit satellites. In just six months, Skynopy has managed to sign three such study-and-design contracts notably with key players such as HEMERIA and the French space agency, CNES. These partnerships enable Skynopy to both design and produce the connectors with the other companies and also benefit from their existing ground antenna infrastructure.


Skynopy Co-Founders Pierre Bertrand (CEO) & Antonin Hirsh (CTO)
Skynopy Co-Founders Pierre Bertrand (CEO) & Antonin Hirsh (CTO)

Before co-founding Skynopy, Hirsch, a telecoms engineer, and Bertrand, an aerospace engineer, worked for Loft Orbital, a French-American startup developing shared satellites.

Loft Orbital retains ownership of the satellites, maintaining them and renting out shared space on them to multiple customers. This model allows customers to deploy their instruments and equipment for their different missions without having to invest in, launch, and manage an entire satellite. By sharing the satellite with other customers, operators benefit from reduced costs while Loft Orbital handles all aspects of the satellite's operation, including launch, integration, and management.

While working at the company together, Skynopy’s founders became aware of the problems and costs generated for satellite operators by outdated connectivity models and decided to apply Loft Orbital’s turnkey solution to connectivity.

Hirsch and Bertrand are both passionate about space. At one point Bertrand, who also previously worked at satellite broadband giant OneWeb, even applied to join a space mission as an astronaut. Hirsch became hooked on space while working on satellite telecoms for Thales and EutelSat. “The more you work in the Space industry, the more Space intrigues you. We definitely caught the Space virus,” Hirsch admits. 

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