Tony Elumelu’s Heir Holdings has announced its investment in US start-up Planet Labs’ innovative satellite manufacturing technology
Heirs Holdings, the pan-African proprietary investment company founded by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has announced its investment in US start-up Planet Labs’ innovative satellite manufacturing technology. Heirs Holdings is the only African investor in the project, which is based in San Francisco.
Planet Labs‘ vision is to “help people understand the planet and make better decisions.” This in their view will be achieved “by giving people a view of the Earth in near real-time” and thus “spur people, companies, and governments to action.” A release made available to us by the African Press Organisation explains that Planet Labs aims to transform the way imaging of the Earth is carried out, through the introduction of ultra-small satellites called “doves.” These “doves” circle the planet in low orbit and are significantly cheaper to produce and deploy than existing technology. Moreover, as they orbit closer to the Earth, they are able to take higher-resolution images than traditional satellites.
Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, commented, “As the only African investor in Planet Labs’ project, we are incredibly proud to have supported such an innovative and dynamic company, which has already achieved significant success. As part of our business philosophy of Africapitalism, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups to enable them to bring scale to their projects and we look forward to following Planet Labs’ achievements over the coming years.”
Planet Labs has already achieved some significant milestones. In 2013 alone, the company launched four satellites on three rockets, and delivered their first fleet of 28 satellites, which are expected to head into space shortly.
Planet Labs’ co-founder, Robbie Schingler, said, “We are very excited to welcome Heirs Holdings to our team of investors and thank them for their support. The funding that they and other partners provide is vital for our development as a company and we are particularly pleased to be working with an African company, as our technology has the potential to support Africa’s development by monitoring and mapping the continent’s natural resources and agriculture.”