Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Planet Strikes Landmark Deal with Orbital Insight to Address Financial Markets


I am ecstatic to announce today that Planet has struck an unprecedented deal with the geo- analytics company, Orbital Insight. Together, we’re making a strong expansion into the financial sector.

This partnership represents some of the most exciting trends happening in the geo world. And the reason is simple: Five years ago, a partnership like this wouldn’t have been possible because the capabilities didn’t exist. Datasets like Planet’s (broad coverage, high frequency monitoring from nano satellite constellations) were the domain of academic papers, and machine learning driven geo-analytics just weren’t happening in commercial markets. We have come an awfully long way.

Within finance, we at Planet have been observing that increasingly, the lines between systematic and quantitative-driven funds are greying. As one of Planet’s early advisors mentioned, “whether you’re making global macro bets like George Soros or RenTech making automated bets, you’re hungry for data.” And Planet is beginning to deliver a deluge of data. Our monitoring constellation of 60+ satellites collects terabytes of data per day. As we approach sub-weekly revisit rates this calendar year, we’ll be adding more data than ever before to our ever-expanding seven-year imagery archive – already one of the largest commercial imagery archives in the world. So who has the motivation and the chops to assess and act upon this new data set if not for the speculative community?


New highways and housing developments emerge over 7 months in Nanning, China. Images captured by a Dove satellite on December 17, 2015 & May 15, 2016


On the analysis side, when we first looked at the imagery analytics market, scalable, automated geo-analysis for finance was confined to equities and was generally in its infancy. Four years ago, when Will Marshall and Robbie Schingler and I poked at some early partners, many analytical tools were powered by manual analysis. We knew it wouldn’t scale with a data set that is temporally rich and broad in coverage (i.e., non-tasked satellite data). Shops like Orbital Insight are providing truly automated geo analysis that drives business results. And Orbital will tell you: the single biggest blocker they have is finding data that is timely, global and abundant.

I have been deeply impressed with Orbital Insight’s commitment to bringing value to some of the world’s largest financial players. That is where they cut their teeth and it remains the driver of their business today. As Orbital has been maturing and they have closed a fantastic B round, we felt the time was right to join forces to take on high finance. We are confident that this combo of an unprecedented dataset alongside tools tailored for the speculative community can drive financial value for the world’s most sophisticated finance players.


Container ships at anchor near the Port of Singapore. Image captured by a Dove Satellite on July 29, 2016


To learn more about the deal and tech behind it all, read this Wall Street Journal report.

Ad astra! 🙂