Blackshark.ai, creator of first semantic 3D digital twin of entire Earth, announces $20M funding round led by Microsoft’s venture fund M12 and Point72 Ventures. Google Earth co-founder Brian McClendon, former Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke and CEO of Applied Intuition Qasar Younis join as advisors to the board
November 13, 2021 Blackshark.ai is generating a semantic 3D digital twin of Earth for planetarymanagement based on satellite data and AI. The company today announces fresh capital of $20M to accelerate accessibility to geospatial data and insights at scale, and drive metaverse innovation. The round is co-led by Microsoft’s venture fund M12 and Point72Ventures, joining a syndicate with existing investor Markus Wagner, founder of i5invest. Brian McClendon (co-founder Google Earth), Dirk Hoke (former CEO Airbus Defense& Space) and Qasar Younis (former COO y combinator and currently CEO of Silicon Valley unicorn Applied Intuition) are joining the company’s board of advisors.
Blackshark.ai debuted just last year with its contribution to Microsoft Flight Simulator, which represents the entire planet in photorealistic 3D by building on top of massive computation power and a novel approach to Artificial Intelligence. The technology blackshark.ai developed has since launched as a platform making geospatial data and 3D simulation environments available at global scale. Applications running on the blackshark.ai platform include use cases for government, geospatial intelligence, humanitarian relief, metaverse/AR, simulation for autonomous driving and flying, deforestation monitoring, insurance, smart cities and more.
Michael Putz, co-founder and CEO of blackshark.ai, explains: “Our platform can process petabytes of satellite data in near real-time and accurately extract semantic information such as building footprints/heights, land use, bodies of water or infrastructure assets such as streets or rail tracks.” This information alone is valuable for many industries and is used as an additional layer of input for the blackshark.ai platform to ultimately reconstruct the physical world in 3D. “These 3D environments are not just beautiful to look at, but given the availability of semantic information they can be queried, searched, updated rapidly and changed for simulation purposes in an instant. This is immensely powerful and really sets the product apart from anything else I have seen”, says Brian McClendon, co-founder of Google Earth on joining the company’s board of advisors.
The US/European founding team has quickly been able to attract large customers globally and is scaling rapidly. “Like many others, I first came to know about blackshark.ai’s capabilities based on their contribution to the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, but it quickly became apparent that the applications of their tech extend far beyond gaming,” said M12 Managing Director Samir Kumar. “Blackshark is a unique intersection of AI-based semantics extracted from geospatial mapping data at planet scale that can be combined with generating high quality synthetic 3D structure data from 2D satellite imaging using procedural generation techniques. Taken together, Blackshark is on its way to developing a new kind of semantic 3D base map of the whole planet including a digital twin of all structures on the surface of the earth!” Sri Chandrasekar, Managing Partner at Point72 Ventures adds: “We believe blackshark.ai’s cutting-edge technology is creating an incredibly valuable asset for the future. A digital twin of Earth opens up new opportunities to interact with the world around us and helps meet the growing demand for geospatial analytics and solutions.”
Raised funds will be used to accelerate the accessibility of the blackshark.ai platform across industries by further ramping up the global go-to-market team as well as on data scientists and developers. “Our vision is to democratize access to geospatial data and to help enable the next generation of technology that will build on top of a digital twin of our physical world”, says Michael Putz looking forward.
Blackshark.ai provides a 3D digital twin of Earth by extracting information from satellite imagery and reconstructing detected attributes in photorealistic 3D fully automatically. A scalable artificial intelligence builds the core of the blackshark platform, detecting features globally with incredible precision and speed. A patented approach to 3D reconstruction can store petabytes of data and render it in infinite detail in real-time, allowing for powerful visualization and simulation applications for government, geospatial intelligence, humanitarian relief, planetary management, autonomous driving and flying, insurance, smart cities and more. The blackshark.ai platform, backed by Microsoft’s venture fund M12and Silicon Valley VC Point72 Ventures, serves large clients globally with a team of 100+ people based out of Silicon Valley/US and Graz/Austria, Europe’s computer vision hub.
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M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, invests in early-stage enterprise software companies with a focus on business applications, cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity, data & AI, developer tools, healthcare & life sciences, and emerging technologies. Since 2016, M12 has invested in over 100 companies, helping startups accelerate growth with unparalleled access to Microsoft. With offices in San Francisco, Seattle, London, Tel Aviv, and Bengaluru, M12 has the team and resources to support entrepreneurs globally.
About Point72 Ventures
Point72 Ventures is a global venture capital strategy led by a diverse set of domain experts with the capital and mandate to lead rounds through all stages of a company’s growth, from idea to IPO. The team invests in founders with bold ideas who use the latest technologies to drive transformational change across industries. Point72 Ventures offers entrepreneurs access to expertise and insights, executive and technical talent, and hands-on support. With offices in the U.S. and Europe, Point72 Ventures is an affiliate of Point72, the global asset manager founded by Steven A. Cohen. For more information, visit p72.vc.