Breakthrough buys into balloon-based sensing business

Breakthrough Victoria has emerged as an investor in US-based “stratospheric exploration company” World View to the tune of $37 million, with the Arizona-headquartered company planning to establish a manufacturing operation and hire “up to 200” in Victoria.

The investment vehicle for state government funds made the announcement on Friday morning. It shared that World View will establish an “Indo-Pacific headquarters in Melbourne” as well as a facility elsewhere in the state.

“World View’s innovative solutions have the potential to revolutionise various industries, from remote sensing to communications,” said Breakthrough Victoria CEO, Grant Dooley.

Dooley’s organisation’s investment is part of a recent Series D raise by World View. which was established in 2012 and is a specialist in “Earth observation from stratospheric high-altitude platforms (HAPs)”.)

World View says that its solution meets a gap in space imaging and analytics that isn’t replicated cost-effectively by drone, low-earth orbit (“LEO”) satellite or geostationary (“GEO”) satellite.

The company says its remotely-piloted Stratollite platform is able to carry out missions of up to 45 days and offers “high-resolution electro-optical, infrared, radar, hyperspectral and other remote sensing capabilities” for various industries.

In a statement on Thursday (Arizona time), World View said it would establish a regional headquarters at Melbourne, where its wholly-owned World View Indo-Pacific subsidiary will be based.

“Australia, especially Victoria, offers access to incredibly skilled talent, cutting-edge technology, promising partnerships, smart capital and significant geographic leverage to support our Indo-Pacific remote sensing and future space tourism operations, while also contributing to our established business in the United States,” said CEO Ryan M. Hartman.

The company set up last month at a “stratospheric centre of excellence” at the Melbourne Connect innovation hub. The site will serve as the interim location for its Indo-Pacific headquarters while it finalises plans to build its Victorian manufacturing site.

Picture: credit World View


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