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Co-founders Julie Baker, Derek Edinger '94, M.Eng. '95, and Adam Maher '06, M.Eng. '07, of Ursa Space Systems.

Cornellians’ company gets $15M in venture funding

Ursa Space Systems, a satellite services company co-founded five years ago by two alumni, has received $15 million in Series B funding, led by Razor’s Edge Ventures and Empire State Development.

The Ithaca-based startup is using the funding to create new products with a range of applications, including insurance, logistics, mapping and environmental and social governance.

Ursa’s satellite-based analytics offer an alternative view of communities, and can deliver reports on areas too remote or devastated to be accurately measured by eyes on the ground.

Cornell impacting New York State

“New and innovative startups throughout New York state are making use of cutting-edge technology to provide services in a modern, diversified economy. Ursa’s commercial use of SAR (synthetic aperture radar) imagery will fill an economic niche with help from a New York Ventures investment,” Eric Gertler, Empire State Development acting commissioner, said in a statement.

Ursa – co-founded in late 2014 by CEO Adam Maher ’06, M.Eng. ’07; chief strategy officer Derek Edinger ’94, M.Eng. ’95; and COO Julie Baker – has targeted the insurance market for expansion. With the high frequency of extreme weather incidents across the globe, Ursa technology can help insurance companies better respond to and plan for future events.

“Unlike other forms of imagery, synthetic aperture radar satellite-based imagery can collect information in all weather conditions, including dense smoke, cloud cover or haze, at any time of day or night,” Maher said. “These attributes make it perfect for assessing damage quickly and continuously, from things like extreme weather incidents to oil spills. The problem we are addressing is urgency. The more quickly a change is known, the more valuable it is to our customers.”

One of the company’s main products is its Global Oil Storage inventory report, which allows customers to gauge supply and demand around the world. In addition to energy analytics, Ursa also offers custom monitoring services for information and analysis about parts of the world that their customers are interested in.

Ursa plans to continue its growth in downtown Ithaca.

“Being headquartered in Ithaca has provided us with great talent from the region including scholars from Cornell, Ithaca College and Rochester Institute of Technology, to name a few,” Maher said. “On top of that, Ithaca is an affordable community with a network of support for startups, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

Molly Israel is director of marketing and communications for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

Media Contact

Abby Butler