GeoKinesia founder Pavel Pavlovsky is hopeful an injection of equity funding this year will help the Barcelona remote sensing technology firm build on last year’s gains, which included securing long-term contracts for the use of its core land and structure interferometry radar.
Building on interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and survey data analytics technology that came out of Spanish geomatics research body, the Centre Tecnologic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), GeoKinesia has worked with miners, energy, civil engineering and construction companies, and government agencies.
CEO Pavlovsky, who founded the company in 2020, said GeoKinesia had already worked with BHP, Anglo American and Glencore. Half of its revenue comes from Latin America, mainly Mexico and Peru, while users in Canada and parts of Europe have also been receptive.
Pavlovsky sees immediate growth potential in Africa, India and south-east Asia.
InSAR makes use of Earth-orbiting satellites to make high-density land surface, and structural, measurements via radar signals. SAR imagery is produced by reflecting radar signals off a target area and measuring the two-way travel time back to the satellite.
SAR interferometry measures differences in multiple SAR images of an area acquired at different times, producing maps called interferograms that show ground-surface displacement.
“We have a very high quality and sophisticated product, high growth rate and high margin,” Pavlovsky told InvestMETS.
“We see the interest for remote sensing is growing,” Pavlovsky said.
“In the present economic climate, more cost-efficient solutions will be demanded.”
Pavlovsky said the application of InSAR in the European Environmental Agency’s continental-scale land monitoring program, through its European Ground Motion Service, was a “great step in making land motion data and analysis accessible, opening a new market for us”.
“We also see huge InSAR application potential in emerging markets, especially for infrastructures monitoring, but entering this market will not be easy,” he said.
“Some InSAR intrinsic technology limitations remain a challenge and in general, despite the growing interest in remote sensing, convincing use cases and remote sensing technologies’ adoption [in] different verticals remains slow.”
GeoKinesia has five employees and Pavlovsky is looking to expand that this year.
Other than early small-scale government funding and research grants, the company has relied on bootstrapping to date.
“The company started its activities in the first COVID year and crawling through Death Valley was exceptionally difficult,” Pavlovsky said.
“In general, we found it very difficult to raise a round for an early-stage, deep-tech start-up.
“Most VCs, from what we saw, are very speculative and seek proven business models based on exceptionally large markets where valuations could be in the $100 million area.
“We have been built from the beginning as a purely digital, very lean company and we are finding, it seems, our place on the market.”