Kepler Communications, founded by a team of U of T aerospace engineers building the Internet for space, announced it has raised $92 Million USD in Series C funding. Since 2016, the company has raised more than $200 million in equity, with support from Costanoa Ventures, Canaan Partners, Tribe Capital, BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund, and other leading investors.
With this funding, Kepler will launch an optical data relay network in 2024, complementing its existing RF network. Kepler’s optical communications infrastructure will use two near-orthogonal planes of relay satellites in sun-synchronous orbits, with satellites in each plane continuously connected using SDA-compatible optical inter-satellite links. Optical services will be operational and available to customers by Q1 2025.
Kepler’s impressive technology and out-of-this-world ambition attracted support from U of T’s innovation and entrepreneurship network, including Start@UTIAS+Hatchery. The help and guidance Kepler received were critical for developing the company’s intellectual property and demonstrating the viability of their equipment.
As Kepler co-founder Jeffrey Osborne said in a 2020 interview with U of T, “@UTIAS gave us the early connections, mentorship, and finances we needed to get Kepler off the ground.” Osborne credited U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) alumnus Francis Shen for his philanthropy, which made Start@UTIAS+Hatchery possible. “Francis Shen recognized a challenge that students and young entrepreneurs had great ideas and a ton of talent, but no mechanisms to bring their ideas to market. @UTIAS was instrumental in helping us launch Kepler.”
The Kepler Network will streamline on-orbit communications with a network infrastructure designed to act as Internet exchange points (IXP) for space-to-space data relay. The Internet-ready constellation will deliver data to and from spacecraft in real-time, enabling high-speed data relay through SDA-standard optical terminals.
“Since our foundation, Kepler has been dedicated to enabling the future of space communications; working tirelessly to create the infrastructure needed for real-time, always-available access to space assets. As we build out The Kepler Network, we are solving challenges the industry faces and simplifying mission communications by bringing modern Internet capabilities into space,” said Mina Mitry, chief executive officer for Kepler. “Internet services on Earth completely transformed civilization, and we believe extending the Internet to space will have the same far-reaching impact.”
The company plans to launch two Pathfinder satellites in Fall of 2023, testing and validating optical communication technology developed for the Kepler constellation. The company’s newest satellites build on the flight heritage of its existing constellation, totalling 21 satellites after the launch of two additional spacecraft in mid-April 2023.
Kepler offers customers a service-level agreement (SLA), and a turnkey solution to satisfy the complete communications requirements of a mission. The agreement includes communications payloads for both optical and RF, spectrum licenses, security, ground infrastructure, and edge computing.
Kepler Communications, Inc. is a satellite telecommunications provider on a mission to build the internet for space. Incorporated in 2015, Kepler provides real-time, continuous connectivity for space communications, abolishing barriers to make space-generated data universally available. The Kepler Network will initially service low earth orbit (LEO) and plans to provide connectivity services to space missions in LEO, MEO, GEO, and beyond. Based out of Toronto, Kepler is building a global company to enable communications for the future space economy.