Auren Hoffman (00:01):
Welcome to World of DaaS, a show for data enthusiasts. I'm your host Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph. For more conversations, videos, and transcripts, visit safegraph.com/podcast. Hello fellow data nerds. My guest today is Emiliano Kargieman. He goes by EK as well. He's the CEO of Satellogic. Satellogic has launched 17 commercial, low orbit satellites just in the last year. Emiliano, welcome to World of DaaS.
Emiliano Kargieman (00:31):
Hi, Auren. Thank you for having me. It's great to be here.
Auren Hoffman (00:34):
Now, your proponent of this kind of the LEO, the low earth orbital satellites. These satellites may move really fast relative to the earth. I think the orbit like every 90 minutes or so, like what are some advantages of being so low earth orbit?
Emiliano Kargieman (00:50):
Right. So we're trying to take high resolution pictures of the problem-
Auren Hoffman (00:53):
Emiliano Kargieman (00:54):
... right? So, so when you [crosstalk 00:00:55]-
Auren Hoffman (00:54):
So just closer, the better?
Emiliano Kargieman (00:56):
The closer you are-
Auren Hoffman (00:56):
Emiliano Kargieman (00:56):
... closer you are, the higher the resolution that you can get-
Auren Hoffman (00:56):
Emiliano Kargieman (00:57):
... with the same [crosstalk 00:00:57]-
Auren Hoffman (00:57):
Emiliano Kargieman (00:57):
... with the [inaudible 00:00:57] spaces, right? So it pays to be close. Now, you have to be in orbit because when you're in orbit, you know, you're constantly falling and missing the earth. And that allows you to keep the satellite around orbiting the earth every 90 minutes and just remap, you know, the planet. But, but as long as you're in orbit, you know, the closer you can be to the earth, the better resolution you're gonna get with the same satellite, right? So that's the biggest advantage.
Auren Hoffman (01:23):
Got it. Now, is there a sense where you could be even like lower, but it would be going too fast or what's... is there, is there some sort of sweet spot?
Emiliano Kargieman (01:31):
At some point... So there are trade ups, right? But at some point, you know, there's still a little bit of atmosphere there, right? The atmosphere doesn't completely disappear, but, you know... so the atmosphere... the little molecules of air here and there will slow you down over time, right? And actually the solar pressure, just the photons hitting on your satellite will push you down. And so after a while you're the orbit, right? If you're flying, you know, at [crosstalk 00:01:53]-
Auren Hoffman (01:53):
If you're lower, your satellites just... they're not gonna be in orbit as long as-
Emiliano Kargieman (01:57):
Auren Hoffman (01:57):
... if you're higher orbit or something like that.
Emiliano Kargieman (01:59):
Right. So at some point, you know, you'll do orbit in the day, right? So it's no-
Auren Hoffman (02:01):
Emiliano Kargieman (02:02):
... it's no use, right? It's lot of CapEx for, for the- (laughs)
Auren Hoffman (02:03):
Emiliano Kargieman (02:06):
Right. So that's kind of a trade off. You wanna be there long enough that you can repay the CapEx and, you know, close to the earth enough that you can take really good pictures.
Auren Hoffman (02:13):
Now, I guess, since if you're going super fast around the earth, like taking images at, at that speed is somewhat more challenging. You may have like, you know, lots of different issues with shadows and other types of things. Like, how have you approached it?
Emiliano Kargieman (02:27):
Yeah. That, that's really the difficult thing about imaging the earth from orbit is exactly that, is you're going super fast, right? The satellites are moving at 27,000 kilometers an hour, right? So-
Auren Hoffman (02:38):
Emiliano Kargieman (02:38):
... 16,000 miles an hour. So the ground is moving relative to you at a very high speed, right? Like, around seven kilometers per second.
Auren Hoffman (02:46):
Emiliano Kargieman (02:46):
So imagine, you know, you are... You know, imagine you're sitting next to a formula one raise with your camera in your hand, right? You're trying to take a picture of the moving cars, right? Like, this is very similar, right? Cars are going super fast.
Auren Hoffman (02:59):
Emiliano Kargieman (02:59):
You're trying to take this picture. You know, if, if you take a long exposure, bad, you know, so that you have enough signal to noise, that the picture is well exposed, you know, it looks well, the cars are gonna be a blur. And you have the same problem for more of it, right? You take a long exposure. The ground is all gonna be a blur. So if you take a very short exposure, you know, okay, the car might not be blurred or the ground might not be blurred, but you know, you're going to have very few photons. The image is gonna be very dark. The signal noise is gonna be very bad. So this trade off between signal to noise, and a picture that has no blur, it is really the big, big, difficult problem to solve from lower orbit to collect imagery.
Auren Hoffman (03:35):
And is there, so is there like some sort of machine learning stuff where you clean the picture up after afterwards, or-
Emiliano Kargieman (03:40):
That could be an approach, you know, post processing imagery could be an approach. This is an approach that other companies have taken in the past. The problem with that is you cannot do it over one image. You need to take a series of images to post process and remove that blur, and increase the signal to noise. And because of sampling, you actually need to take kind of... you always improve the signal to noise by the square root of the number of images you use, right? So if you wanna improve the signal to noise by a factor four, you need 16 images, right?
Auren Hoffman (04:05):
Emiliano Kargieman (04:05):
If you need to improve by a factor of five, you need 25 images. So suddenly, you know, the amount of data that you have to download to get one good image starts to overwhelm your down link capacity, your processing storage capacity. Traditional satellites solve this problem in a different way, right? They put this very, very large telescopes in orbit, this very large apertures. And, you know, you might have seen these guys next to a Formula One races actually that have this, you know, huge lenses-
Auren Hoffman (04:30):
Emiliano Kargieman (04:30):
... that look like a big dish, right? And you're like, what's this guy doing with a big, big lens like that, right? And what they're trying to do is they're trying to [crosstalk 00:04:37] exposure-
Auren Hoffman (04:37):
Get the light in quickly.
Emiliano Kargieman (04:39):
Right. And get in photons. You know, the aperture of the telescope is like a funnel. If you make it big enough, you get enough photons that you can do a very short exposure and get a good picture, right? So that's an approach. That's the approach that traditional industry has taken to these problems. So when you look at Maxar satellites, DigitalGlobe satellites, you know, the traditional players in your industry, the, the big government owned and operated satellites, they take this approach. They put this very large apertures in orbit, you know, a meter and a half wide, two meter wide, whatever.
Auren Hoffman (05:07):
Emiliano Kargieman (05:08):
And they point them to the ground. Now, that's a great [crosstalk 00:05:10].
Auren Hoffman (05:10):
And it's obviously very heavy. It's, it's expensive to put up, right? Okay.
Emiliano Kargieman (05:14):
Extremely expensive. [crosstalk 00:05:15].
Auren Hoffman (05:15):
Emiliano Kargieman (05:16):
This is why the satellites cost 800 million dollars, right? Not because-
Auren Hoffman (05:18):
Emiliano Kargieman (05:19):
... they're, you know, they're stupid. No. They, they know what they're doing, right? (laughs) But it's just very expensive to do these things, right? So when you're trying to do this from a small satellite, like we are doing, you have to figure out how to solve this problem. And what we did, this is kind of the core of our technology. But what we did is we figured out a way to solve this problem that has no drawbacks, basically, that allows us to collect data continuously from a small satellite, from small aperture that is well exposed, and it has no blur. And this uses some adaptive optic tricks, but it's really the key of what we've been able to, to build over the last few years. We, we built this camera initially in 2014, we tested in orbit for the first time. And we've been building our satellites with this technology ever since. And this is really what allows us to make very, very small satellites that collect [crosstalk 00:06:03] a lot of things.
Auren Hoffman (06:04):
In some ways, you think of yourself more as a camera company than a satellite company or something, or...
Emiliano Kargieman (06:08):
(laughs) Yeah. We think ourselves as a data company.
Auren Hoffman (06:11):
Emiliano Kargieman (06:11):
So I'm, I'm happy we're, we're here to talk to you.
Auren Hoffman (06:13):
Emiliano Kargieman (06:14):
But, uh, (laughs) but yeah, we have our own data sets that we capture with our own hardware, right? Like, we're completely vertically integrated, if you want, data company.
Auren Hoffman (06:23):
Interesting. Now, I know your cost of like building, deploying, and launching a satellite is like, let's say roughly a million dollars. I mean, you mentioned some of these other satellite companies were... you know, they were, let's say closer to like a billion dollars. [inaudible 00:06:35] a massive difference. You know, this does seem like a low, pretty low price, even though also I know also like prices are coming down and there's a lot of other companies that are doing that. Like, how do you see this cost curve changing even more over the next five years? Or do you think we've kind of hit that inflection point? Okay, it's, it's gonna come down very, very gradually from now on, or do you think you go from like a million dollars to $100,000?
Emiliano Kargieman (06:57):
Right. So first, if you think about what we're doing, there's two things that record to what we're doing. The first one is the camera that I mentioned. This is not necessarily reflecting on the cost of the satellite, but what this allows us to do is to capture 10 times more data with any of our satellites that you can capture with any other small satellite, just because we can collect data continuously, right? On top of that, we have this, you know, satellite cost or bill of materials is around $500,000, right? And we can put the satellites in order for around a million. And if we were out to go to the market, right? And buy best of breed pieces in the market today to build our own satellite design, right? If I go and buy the computers, and I go and buy the telescopes from somewhere else, and I go and buy the reaction wheels, and all the different things that go into the satellite. Today, we'll probably be paying around seven to 8 million dollars in bill of materials, right?
Auren Hoffman (07:46):
Emiliano Kargieman (07:46):
With best of [crosstalk 00:07:47].
Auren Hoffman (07:47):
So you have to do it yourself, essentially.
Emiliano Kargieman (07:48):
When we started doing it, 10 years ago, we would have paid maybe 20 million, right?
Auren Hoffman (07:53):
Emiliano Kargieman (07:53):
For the bill of materials. So it's coming down. Like for us, it's not, right? Because we're completely vertically integrated.
Auren Hoffman (07:59):
Emiliano Kargieman (07:59):
What we did is we're taking, you know, supply chains from the automotive industry and the consumer electronics industry, and we're using those things to bu- build satellites. So we don't have those issues, right? So four satellites themselves, I think the, the supply chains are getting cheaper for us. You know, we're at a price point, which we think is, is kind of the right price point. A little bit like with your phone or your notebook, right? It makes sense for you to spend, you know, whatever, $1,500 on a notebook, right? And you're gonna-
Auren Hoffman (08:24):
Emiliano Kargieman (08:24):
... change it in a couple of years. You expect you're gonna be roughly the same. What's gonna happen is just the notebook is gonna be better-
Auren Hoffman (08:30):
Emiliano Kargieman (08:31):
... in a couple [inaudible 00:08:31].
Auren Hoffman (08:31):
So you're gonna have a better camera, a better... So it's, it's not really about. A- at this point, you don't need to drive the cost from a million dollars to $100,000, you just want every year to have a better, better version of that, of that million dollar satellite, essentially.
Emiliano Kargieman (08:44):
That's, that's correct. We basically put satellite hardware into a more law kind of curve, right? Where we can double the capacity that we get out of the satellites for the same cost every 18 months, right? And, and we have a roadmap to continue to do this into the future, but we don't expect that we need to go to $100,000 satellites, right?
Auren Hoffman (09:01):
Emiliano Kargieman (09:03):
Because in the end, we just need to put 200 of this orbit and keep them there, right? Doesn't-
Auren Hoffman (09:05):
Now [crosstalk 00:09:06].
Emiliano Kargieman (09:05):
Auren Hoffman (09:06):
Some, some, some of the price of satellite is the launch cost, right? It's a, it's a particular large. And, and the launch cost price have been coming down over time [inaudible 00:09:14]. Companies like SpaceX have been, have been putting pressure on it. Do you see that, like, at the kind of a steady state, or do you think it's just gonna like maybe slowly, gradually get, get a little bit lower, or do you think there's gonna be another step function making the launch cost lower?
Emiliano Kargieman (09:27):
I think if SpaceX is successful or when SpaceX is successful with Starship, there's going to be another step down in cost, right?
Auren Hoffman (09:35):
Emiliano Kargieman (09:36):
We're gonna go from, you know, the $5,000 per kilogram we're paying today to maybe $500 per kilogram, right? Like that's-
Auren Hoffman (09:42):
Oh, wow. Oh, that's a huge step down in cost. Okay.
Emiliano Kargieman (09:44):
That's a, that's the promise, you know, of, of SpaceX Starship working, right? It's like a really order of magnitude reduction in cost per kilogram to orbit, right? That's I think the only project I see out there that realistically can get there in the next few years in terms of cost, right? There are of course, a lot of small launcher companies, you know, people building new vehicles, and there are other advantages to having small launchers and, you know, the flexibility that those give you, but in terms of price per kilogram, you know, in the near future, at least, that seems to be the, the one. And then farther down the line, I think, yeah. I think you can think of the future where we go to $100 per kilogram in launch cost and maybe even below that. And that will definitely, you know, make other space companies possible, right? I mean-
Auren Hoffman (10:30):
Emiliano Kargieman (10:31):
... a lot of what we can do today is just based on the cost of putting mass in orbit, right?
Auren Hoffman (10:35):
Emiliano Kargieman (10:36):
For something to make sense or, you know, for business model to close or not to close, right? So when we think about an order of magnitude lower costs and launch, that's going to enable companies that are just not viable today, right? So that's very exciting.
Auren Hoffman (10:49):
And what's the life of a current... o- one of your satellites today is, how do you think about it? You think, okay, there's like a three year lifespan, and then we'll replace them over time, or how do you think through that?
Emiliano Kargieman (10:58):
Yeah. That's, that's exactly correct. We build them for a three year lifetime. We actually, you know... I mentioned in the beginning that the satellites, at some point they de-orbit naturally, right?
Auren Hoffman (11:05):
Emiliano Kargieman (11:06):
So... or satellites, if we don't keep them in orbit, they will de-orbit naturally after a year, right? So we actually use our propulsion system to keep them in orbit for three years.
Auren Hoffman (11:16):
Emiliano Kargieman (11:17):
After that, we just let them decay and burn down in the atmosphere. So for us, it's about, you know, we want to replace this technology every, you know, every three years, we want to replace a third of our constellation in orbit every year. And when you look at the tradeoffs, you know, you could design... easily design the same satellite to live six years in orbit, but it would probably cost you twice what it costs us to do it, right?
Auren Hoffman (11:37):
Emiliano Kargieman (11:38):
It would probably be 2 million dollars and live six years. Well, I much rather, you know, replace the-
Auren Hoffman (11:42):
Emiliano Kargieman (11:42):
... satellite with a new generation in three years, and it just battered all around.
Auren Hoffman (11:46):
Yeah. Okay. That, that makes a... Now, I know that you guys have launched about 17 satellites, commercial satellites in, in the last year, and that- that's a pretty nice constellation already. I think, collect like over 4 million square kilometers of data daily, which is really, really cool. But I heard, you're gonna try to expand your constellation to get to over 300, let's say in the next four years, which is kind of like an incredible growth. Like, what's the plan to getting there?
Emiliano Kargieman (12:12):
So [crosstalk 00:12:13].
Auren Hoffman (12:13):
It's just like, we need to raise a whole bunch more money or what's like... or is there-
Emiliano Kargieman (12:16):
Auren Hoffman (12:17):
... or... and that's the only limiting factor, or some other core limiting factors.
Emiliano Kargieman (12:20):
So, so the good thing is now we're funded to do that. So that's not a limiting factor. So in terms of rolling out, just rolling out the satellites, today we have... or pilot manufacturing facility has a capacity to do up to 24 satellites per year, right?
Auren Hoffman (12:33):
Emiliano Kargieman (12:33):
And so this [crosstalk 00:12:34].
Auren Hoffman (12:34):
That's a limiting factor today. Okay, got you.
Emiliano Kargieman (12:36):
This year we're... this year would be basically doubling or constellation in orbit. But at the same time, we're building a new high throughput facility in the Netherlands, where we will be able to do 100 satellites per year, right? So 24, 25 satellites per quarter. And that's going to be fully operational at the end of this year. So into 2023, we expect to be launching a lot more satellites. We've reviewed the total number of satellites that we need to put out because we've improved a little bit of the camera design. This is part of, you know, of kind of being able to iterate on this generation. So we don't need to get to 300 to realize our vision of remapping the entire earth every single day in high resolution, we need to get to a little bit over 200. But the plan is still the same, by 2023, we expect [crosstalk 00:13:18].
Auren Hoffman (13:18):
A- and extra 100 is really just for fail safe or for, you know, in case something goes wrong or is, is insurance or, or why have an extra 50% if you don't need it?
Emiliano Kargieman (13:26):
Since I think... Since you've saw those numbers that we published in July, we've actually improved on the technology. So what we were doing with 300, we can now do with [crosstalk 00:13:35].
Auren Hoffman (13:35):
Oh, got it. Okay. Got it. [crosstalk 00:13:36] So 200 maybe is the max you need. Okay, got it.
Emiliano Kargieman (13:38):
Just saving a gap. So the plan is still the same for us. By 2023, we expect to be remapping all of the earth, every single square meter of the earth, every week at 70 centimeter of resolution. And by 2025, we expect to be remapping the entire surface of the earth every single day, at 70 centimeter of resolution, right? And, and that's kind of the, the goal. Then we're going from 70 centimeters of a solution down to 40, a little bit over 40 centimeters.
Auren Hoffman (14:04):
And that, that requires a better camera and, and some other things or, [crosstalk 00:14:08].
Emiliano Kargieman (14:08):
Or flying, or flying the satellites a little bit lower, maybe.
Auren Hoffman (14:11):
Okay. [crosstalk 00:14:12] And then maybe the satellites won't last as longer, some... Okay, got it. Okay. Got it.
Emiliano Kargieman (14:14):
Auren Hoffman (14:14):
So as you have a higher throughput of the number of satellites you could build, if you're building 100 a year and you only need 200, then maybe they only need to be in orbit for two years or... okay. Got it. Okay. So that makes sense. Interesting.
Emiliano Kargieman (14:26):
Yeah. And at that point, really, it's also about... you're gonna understand that it's also about the ability to download process, the petabytes of data that we will be generating every year, right?
Auren Hoffman (14:38):
Emiliano Kargieman (14:38):
'Cause you know, the, the earth is 150 million square kilometers of land, right?
Auren Hoffman (14:43):
Emiliano Kargieman (14:43):
Land mass, if you don't take the oceans. When we are remapping the earth at 70 centimeters of resolution every week, we're generating around 250 petabytes of data a year that we need to [crosstalk 00:14:53].
Auren Hoffman (14:53):
And how do you download that effectively? Because the satellite's moving super fast. So how do you get that to a ground station quickly?
Emiliano Kargieman (15:01):
So we're currently using ground stations, both in close to the north pole and close to the south pole, right? These satellites are going from pole to pole, orbiting the earth from pole to pole.
Auren Hoffman (15:10):
Emiliano Kargieman (15:10):
What basically means they're over the north pole or the south pole, roughly every 45 minutes. They're over one of the poles, right? So we use ground stations that are close to the poles. Basically [crosstalk 00:15:20].
Auren Hoffman (15:19):
And what... Is, is that because of they're closer to the earth at that given time? Or why do, why do you do it at the south pole as opposed to doing it in, you know, in Brazil or something?
Emiliano Kargieman (15:28):
'Cause your satellites are orbiting the earth, but the earth is spinning under you, right? So [crosstalk 00:15:33].
Auren Hoffman (15:32):
Uh, gotcha. So, so those are always where it's always gonna hit that place. Okay.
Emiliano Kargieman (15:36):
Auren Hoffman (15:36):
That makes sense. Okay.
Emiliano Kargieman (15:37):
So you always hit the poles, but if you al- already put your ground station in, in the Amazon-
Auren Hoffman (15:42):
Emiliano Kargieman (15:42):
... you're only gonna hit it once every, you know, three times per day, right?
Auren Hoffman (15:45):
Emiliano Kargieman (15:45):
Instead of 15 times per day.
Auren Hoffman (15:46):
Emiliano Kargieman (15:46):
That's different. So every time you're on top of the ground station, you're on top of the ground station for maybe 10 minutes that you have a good connection to the satellite. And you use those 10 minutes, you know, have a radio [crosstalk 00:15:56].
Auren Hoffman (15:56):
Sorry, o- one thing I, I don't totally understand. So why are you going pole to pole rather than like going other routes around the earth? Like, why is there an advantage of going pole to pole?
Emiliano Kargieman (16:05):
I think there's two advantages. One is precisely because it allows you to put ground stations in places where you can have a lot of visibility to the satellites every day. That's one.
Auren Hoffman (16:15):
Emiliano Kargieman (16:16):
And the other one is, you actually get to put the satellites in an orbit that is synchronized to the sun, and in a way that allows you to get the same kind of lighting conditions every time you're taking imagery, which is particularly good for an imaging constellation, right?
Auren Hoffman (16:30):
Emiliano Kargieman (16:30):
Where you're always going over the same point in land at the same local time, roughly every day with the same satellite, right? Which means we know what the lighting's gonna look like. You know, we know how much... you know, where the shadows are going.
Auren Hoffman (16:42):
It's important that it's the same satellite because each satellite may have a different version of a camera and you have to do different tricks to do that, or why is it important it's the same satellite going over the same point?
Emiliano Kargieman (16:52):
Oh yeah. It's not important. I think every satellite goes over. And, you know, we then have to, of course, for a live imagery, we then have to reprocess them and, you know, unify 'em so that we're always giving the same, like compatible data to customers, and not something different depending on the satellite it came from, right? Even if we have different versions.
Auren Hoffman (17:09):
Interesting. Now your, uh, your customers obviously want you to succeed, but satellites, is it intensively capital business? Like, do they help like essentially prepay for the development? 'Cause I, I... you know, like, definitely your customers have an incentive to want you to be around for, you know, for a really long time and to help them. So how do you work with them to basically fund like the long term health of the business?
Emiliano Kargieman (17:32):
So I think they're, you know... When we think about our customers, I will divide them in two different groups, right? Today, we're selling in what is the... what I call the existing earth observation market, right? The, the market that exists today, people are buying satellite imagery every day. And this is mostly governments, right?
Auren Hoffman (17:49):
Emiliano Kargieman (17:49):
The reality is high resolution imagery. It's currently bought mostly for security, for defense and intelligence, you know, by governments.
Auren Hoffman (17:57):
Emiliano Kargieman (17:57):
And so this is the existing market. And then, but the market we're really going after, and this is what we can bring to this industry that is very unique is because we're going to be the first company in a position to remap the entire earth every week in high resolution, then every day, we can start delivering this data to every potential customer around the world, basically at zero marginal cost.
Auren Hoffman (18:18):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:18):
Right. Because we will have a complete catalog of the entire earth. So-
Auren Hoffman (18:21):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:21):
... serving [crosstalk 00:18:22].
Auren Hoffman (18:22):
Yeah. You don't have to give them, you don't have to give 'em today's data. You can give 'em data from, you know... they could pay a little bit less for two weeks ago or two months ago's data. And maybe they're happy with that or something.
Emiliano Kargieman (18:31):
Right. But the reality is today when I have to serve a customer, I have to point a satellite to their target.
Auren Hoffman (18:37):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:37):
That carries a huge opportunity customer there. It's like, you know-
Auren Hoffman (18:40):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:40):
... it's like with [crosstalk 00:18:41].
Auren Hoffman (18:40):
You have to reposition, or... okay. Okay. Yep.
Emiliano Kargieman (18:43):
Yeah. Just point the camera, right? It's like flying a drone or flying an airplane, right? You have to pick, you know, the, the route that it's gonna take, right?
Auren Hoffman (18:49):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:50):
And by the time we're remapping the earth, we don't have to do that, right?
Auren Hoffman (18:53):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:53):
We can serve weekly data or daily data-
Auren Hoffman (18:55):
Emiliano Kargieman (18:55):
... to every customer in the world at the right price point to support their applications, right? So today, the reason why the market is government and defense and intelligence, so on is 'cause these are the guys that are willing to pay the most for the data. And that's why that's the market because you have limited capacity. And if you have limited capacity, you're gonna point it to the customers that are willing to pay the most, right? You're not gonna point, uh, $800 million satellite to a farmer in India that is willing to pay a couple of cents, you know, to see this farm, right?
Auren Hoffman (19:23):
Emiliano Kargieman (19:24):
Because that makes no sense. So this is the market today. Now, the revolution that we will bring to this market, what we call the democratization of earth observation data is the fact that suddenly, we will make anybody in the world able to afford satellite imagery for... to support any decision that they need to make, right? Now, we won't be selling directly to the farmers of the world.
Auren Hoffman (19:45):
Emiliano Kargieman (19:45):
We won't be selling directly to the, you know, to the end user probably. What we are building is a data platform that will be used by a ecosystem of value-added service partners and application developers that will take our data and, you know, fuse it with our things and transform it into these solutions that each of these industries need in each of the locations, right? Which might be very different.
Auren Hoffman (20:07):
Because, you know, today it's actually really hard to just like order images. First of all, as you mentioned, they're super expensive, and even it's like even the images you already have, it's not like, hey, you know, at SafeGraph, we'd love to buy images, but like to do that, we have to do like a BD deal. It's not like we can just like hit some API and put in some lot long and get the image. If they have it, get that image at some reasonable price. Like, how do you see that changing, let's say over the next few years?
Emiliano Kargieman (20:34):
No, th- that's exactly true. And the, and the biggest issue is that the providers of satellite imagery today, they kind of even confirm that they have the capacity to sell you the image, right? Because they might have some higher priority customer come in at the last minute and require that they move the satellite somewhere else, right?
Auren Hoffman (20:48):
Emiliano Kargieman (20:48):
Auren Hoffman (20:49):
Emiliano Kargieman (20:49):
... but if the image or if they already took the image from a week ago, that's really what I'm talking about. You already took this image-
Auren Hoffman (20:54):
Emiliano Kargieman (20:54):
... it's sitting there on your server, you might as well sell it [crosstalk 00:20:58], right?
Auren Hoffman (20:59):
Today, you think it's like, it's still hard to buy an image that like they have.
Emiliano Kargieman (21:03):
Auren Hoffman (21:03):
And again, it's like, "We'll buy an image from six months ago. It doesn't even have to be that current." But you know, it's very, very hard to buy that today.
Emiliano Kargieman (21:10):
Well, we are basically solving that problem, right? We have an API, you can log in, you know, use your credentials, and not only download archive data from the API directly, and, and the other thing that you can do that's, you can actually task satellites. You can put orders for the future.
Auren Hoffman (21:25):
Emiliano Kargieman (21:25):
You, you want... you can say, you know, "These are the... I, I want... " [crosstalk 00:21:28].
Auren Hoffman (21:28):
And I understand why that should be expensive, right? So the tasking seems to be a lot more... much more expensive [crosstalk 00:21:33].
Emiliano Kargieman (21:33):
But it is, it is expensive today, right? Because you're putting an order for the future. And today-
Auren Hoffman (21:37):
Emiliano Kargieman (21:37):
... we have to manage the capacity. Now, a- and I'll tell you in a minute what we're doing about that, which is also very unique to make it as affordable as possible. But on top of that, imagine that by the point I have enough satellites to remap the earth every week, I will be able to guarantee that I'm gonna give you an image of any point on earth you're interested in-
Auren Hoffman (21:54):
Emiliano Kargieman (21:54):
... in a week, right?
Auren Hoffman (21:55):
Emiliano Kargieman (21:56):
And by the time I'm remapping the earth every day, I will be able to guarantee that I'm gonna give you an image in the day.
Auren Hoffman (22:00):
Emiliano Kargieman (22:00):
Auren Hoffman (22:01):
Of course... well then of course, then you also can guarantee you already have an image for that [crosstalk 00:22:05].
Emiliano Kargieman (22:04):
That's true. But there s- there stopped being a difference between ordering for the future and ordering for their archive.
Auren Hoffman (22:11):
Emiliano Kargieman (22:12):
Auren Hoffman (22:12):
Yeah. Yep. Interesting. Yeah.
Emiliano Kargieman (22:12):
Because for me, it's essentially the same, right?
Auren Hoffman (22:14):
Emiliano Kargieman (22:15):
So you're basically going to subscribe, and this is what you can do in our API. Now, you can go in and you can subscribe to the areas of the world that you're interested in, in.
Auren Hoffman (22:21):
Emiliano Kargieman (22:23):
And you can say, I wanna subscribe [crosstalk 00:22:25].
Auren Hoffman (22:25):
Some sort of time series on this and I could see this-
Emiliano Kargieman (22:28):
Auren Hoffman (22:28):
... every week for the next year or something.
Emiliano Kargieman (22:31):
And so there's two ways in which you can engage with this API today. You can say, "I want a kind of a best effort. You know, make the best effort to give me all of the imagery that I want of the future, you know, of this place. And subscribing, let's say to this county. And I want, you know, this county remapped every week. Just make your best effort to give me that, right?" And we will. And the other thing that you can say is just, "Give me a guarantee that you're gonna give me all of this county remapped in high resolution in two weeks." Right? And that second order is of course going to be more expensive.
Auren Hoffman (23:03):
Emiliano Kargieman (23:03):
So what we built is a dynamic pricing system that basically allows our customers to choose how they wanna interact with say API, based on how much they're willing to pay, to get the data and what guarantees they want. Now, what is interesting is as we build the constellation and we put more satellites in orbit, you, you know, we are providing a better service at a lower cost. And I think that's eventually when we have, you know, weekly remaps by 2023, a lot of the applications in the world are gonna be fine with weekly data, right? If you're monitoring agriculture, there's-
Auren Hoffman (23:33):
Emiliano Kargieman (23:34):
... you know, it's okay. Weekly data is okay. If you're monitoring airports, maybe, you know, you want daily, right?
Auren Hoffman (23:38):
Emiliano Kargieman (23:39):
So for that, between the point in time, when we have weekly... guaranteed weekly data, and we still don't have enough satellites to guarantee daily data, you might still have to pay more to get that. But then at some point, 2025, we have guaranteed daily data, you know. And at that point, yeah, some customers might still want data, you know, several times per day.
Auren Hoffman (23:58):
Emiliano Kargieman (23:59):
And those customers [crosstalk 00:23:59].
Auren Hoffman (23:59):
I want something at night or something or you know-
Emiliano Kargieman (24:01):
Auren Hoffman (24:01):
... or something a little different. Okay.
Emiliano Kargieman (24:03):
Those guys are gonna be paid more, right?
Auren Hoffman (24:04):
Emiliano Kargieman (24:04):
But everybody else, it's just one state data is gonna be able to get it basically from the catalog, from the archive. And that's how, you know, we think we will democratize this type of data or, you know, derive data too, that comes on top of that.
Auren Hoffman (24:18):
It seems like there's no doubt in my mind that the price of images of earth are going to be dropping dramatically over the next five years. There's Satellogic and other... there are other companies out there that are driving that price down as well. Beside for lowering the price of these images, how else do you think this data is gonna become more accessible?
Emiliano Kargieman (24:40):
The biggest adoption problem for earth solution data to actually make an impact in, in the world and in the way we make decisions, the biggest one is the price, right?
Auren Hoffman (24:48):
Emiliano Kargieman (24:48):
And this is one of things [crosstalk 00:24:50].
Auren Hoffman (24:50):
It's just so expensive today. It's, it's, it's basically unreasonable to use in most applications.
Emiliano Kargieman (24:55):
Right. But once you solve that, let's say, I mean, we will be in a position to deliver this data at the right price point for every potential customer, right? And by the way, we're not gonna charge the same for the data if the end use is agriculture. But if the end use is defense and intelligence, right? We don't have to. But on top of that, what you need to do is you need to turn this data into something that is immediately useful to your customers. And this might not be, you know, the raw pixels that are being delivered today.
Auren Hoffman (25:25):
Emiliano Kargieman (25:25):
I think the future for us and for all data companies that are delivering data, you know, and that are expecting mainstream adoption is going to be putting layers of information and processing on top of the data, so that you are making the lives of your customers. In this case, our customers are value-added service companies that will go and build solutions, right? But you are making their lives easier. So they don't have to [crosstalk 00:25:48].
Auren Hoffman (25:48):
Okay. So most of these you don't, you don't need the image anyway, you need the intelligence gleaned from the image, and you could just give them the intelligence just to make... so to make their lives a little bit easier.
Emiliano Kargieman (25:57):
Over time, I think that's, you know, that's the path is you start bundling information that makes it easier to build applications in top, right? So-
Auren Hoffman (26:05):
Emiliano Kargieman (26:06):
... in the end, you know, I might just want to understand where the field boundaries are, or where the yield is going to be for certain crop, or what crop types there are, right? For agriculture. So it's great. On top of the raw data, I'm getting, you know, layers of information, vector layers with this information, then that's great. It's making my life easier, right? Because in the end, I'm still gonna have to take this and turn it into something that a farmer can use, right?
Auren Hoffman (26:27):
Emiliano Kargieman (26:27):
And it's not going to be a vector layer coming from, you know, from Satellogic, it's going to be, you know, something else. Prescription of, you know, what you need to go into in the field, right? And I think that's the way we make it more accessible. That's the path that the industry needs to take. First, to provide affordable data, second, to provide reliable data, right? The thing that... where I can say, I want weekly data, I want daily data and I know I'm going to get it, right? We're just not in the situation today. So you want the data to be affordable. You want the data to be reliable, and you want the data to be easy to use, right? For the customers. And you know, those are kind of drivers for where we see this going in the future.
Auren Hoffman (27:05):
So th- the way I see the satellite industry is like, you have the attackers like Satellogic, like Planet, and then you maybe have the defenders like Airbus, Maxar. Like, it seems the attackers right now have the advantage over the defenders, 'cause, 'cause you're taking advantage of all these new types of technology, et cetera. Like, how do you see the defenders ultimately like responding? How can they maintain their positions?
Emiliano Kargieman (27:31):
I think there are niche markets. I mean, and people get mad because I call defense and intelligence, uh, and niche market.
Auren Hoffman (27:37):
Emiliano Kargieman (27:37):
[inaudible 00:27:37]. Yeah. Of course, there are huge companies built in the defense and intelligence sector, right? But there are markets that are always going to need the Maxars and the DigitalGlobes, and you know, the, the Planet's high resolution satellites at sky sets. There are markets for that. There's always going to be markets for that. Because, you know, a- as I mentioned, when we have a guaranteed daily remap of the entire planet, these customers are still gonna want data every hour, right?
Auren Hoffman (28:02):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:02):
Or every 30 minutes.
Auren Hoffman (28:03):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:03):
Auren Hoffman (28:04):
Or a higher resolution photo or, or some sort of [crosstalk 00:28:06].
Emiliano Kargieman (28:06):
Of a higher resolution, right?
Auren Hoffman (28:07):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:07):
Or, or they will wanna deliver to, I don't know, to the battlefield in real time. I don't know.
Auren Hoffman (28:12):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:12):
So I think there's a niche there in, (laughs) in the defense and intelligence sector that will always support, you know, large number of... And, and by the way, Maxar, you know, is the company this, or, or [inaudible 00:28:24] is the company this, building for this market, right? So it's not a small market-
Auren Hoffman (28:28):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:28):
... it's a good market, right?
Auren Hoffman (28:28):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:30):
And I think it will continue to be a market that they dominate. So we are selling into this market because we have a lot of capacity in orbit because, you know, the customers want it, right? We have a lot of data, we have it at a lot cost, right? So the customers want it. It's just the volume and the revisits and so on. But this is not... or, you know, this is not a playing field, right? This is a market where we will always have some value add. Because of course, if we have a daily remap of the entire planet, yes, every, you know, government in the world is going to want to have access to this data set, right?
Auren Hoffman (28:59):
Emiliano Kargieman (28:59):
But on top of that, they're always gonna want other things that we are not going to supply that, you know, the Dove Constellation for Planet is not going to supply, and there's going to be a need for the Maxars and DigitalGlobes, and the Black Skys, and all these other companies that are focusing on the defense and intelligence sector, right?
Auren Hoffman (29:17):
Now, but to still... For you to get funded, you do have to serve also many of these national security organizations, governments, et cetera. Like, how do you think about this type of customer? Is it, okay is a really important customer for us because they're getting us funded. They're already buying, they know how to buy, they've been buying these images for, for decades, et cetera. And we're, you know... some of these new markets are not yet ready for us, or we haven't lowered the price enough for new markets, or how do you think about this national security customer?
Emiliano Kargieman (29:47):
Yeah. It's, it's kind of breaking out of the chicken and egg problem off building a new platform, right? Because, you know, I could have say, we're just gonna focus on the commercial market. You know, we just need 300 million dollars, let's go put the satellites in orbit, you know, finance the capEX, put the satellite in orbit, build the platform, and then go capture the applications-
Auren Hoffman (30:06):
Emiliano Kargieman (30:06):
... once we have, you know, daily. But of course, you know, if I could have (laughs) had, you know, 500 million in the bank ready to do that, you know, that might have been a plan. I think it would probably still be a bad plan, right? Because [crosstalk 00:30:18]-
Auren Hoffman (30:17):
'Cause you're not, you're not trying things out, you know.
Emiliano Kargieman (30:19):
Auren Hoffman (30:19):
Emiliano Kargieman (30:20):
You're not interacting with your customers-
Auren Hoffman (30:21):
Emiliano Kargieman (30:21):
... you're not trying things out, you don't know how the product's gonna behave until you put it in the market, right? You don't know if you're building the right thing. So I actually don't think that would have been the approach, right? I... personally, I don't come from the aerospace industry, right?
Auren Hoffman (30:33):
Emiliano Kargieman (30:33):
I come from the software industry. You know, just don't build a software product away, right? (laughs)
Auren Hoffman (30:37):
Emiliano Kargieman (30:37):
Like just, you know... And so, I would have never thought about it that way. So what we see in the existing market, you know, in the government market is-
Auren Hoffman (30:45):
Emiliano Kargieman (30:45):
... these are the customers, right? The fortune 100 companies that are today consuming the earth observation data. These are the customers, right? So we have to give them value, because this is a way in which we validate our product, you know. To a couple of weeks ago, the NGA, the National Geospatial Agency came out with a report saying, you know, "This is how we evaluate the quality of the data that, that is being produced by commercial customers." And we were super happy because we got the gold medal in multi spectrum range, right? But if you're not engaging with this groups, right? You don't know, you don't know that-
Auren Hoffman (31:15):
Emiliano Kargieman (31:16):
... if you're building the vacuum, you don't know, right? So for us, it, it has two advantages. One is, yes it can fund, you know, or help co-fund the deployment of the constellation that we need to build. But on the other hand, it allows us to be, you know, in the trenches, in touch with customers from [inaudible 00:31:32], right? And, and that's invaluable for a company.
Auren Hoffman (31:36):
Okay, cool. Now, one of your biggest customers, maybe your biggest customers, ABDAS, which is a data science company in China. How do you see that type of partnership expanding over time? Because they're, they're kind of like a VAR in some ways on top of your data.
Emiliano Kargieman (31:50):
Yeah. And, and as I mentioned before, the main customer for a platform is going to be value-added resellers and, you know, value-added partners that will take our data, and they will know a specific use case very well, right? They will know the customer very well, and they will adapt our data to that use case. In this case, ABDAS is a, you know, is an analytics company in the province of Hainan, in China that is building applications to monitor medicinal herbs, right? (laughs)
Auren Hoffman (32:16):
Emiliano Kargieman (32:16):
To monitor the crops like the medicinal crops. And Hainan is the province in China that I think produces 50% of the agricultural produce of the, of the country, right? So right there by the Yellow River is a super fertile place, you know, it's... And so, this company is specializing in that, and that's great, right? This is the kind of customer that we want. We can give them-
Auren Hoffman (32:34):
Emiliano Kargieman (32:34):
... something that they can get in no other way. Which is, you know, today we're giving them a monthly remap of the entire province of Hainan in China, and they're running their algorithms on top up, and finding the medicinal crops and, you know, figuring out how they're evolving. And they're selling this data back to the government actually.
Auren Hoffman (32:50):
Emiliano Kargieman (32:51):
Is what they're doing, in the province of China. This is great. I mean, this is, this is kind of customers that we want, right? They... We have a long term contract with them, you know, we're gonna be delivering this data of over Hainan for them for a number of years, and they can build a rel- you know, a business over reliable data source, right? So this is a really good example. Now, you know, we have a recently announced an agreement with Palantir, and it's... that's... the concept is very similar, right?
Auren Hoffman (33:14):
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Emiliano Kargieman (33:15):
We're gonna be giving them reliable data source that they can take to their own cus- they can run analytics on top, and they can take to their own customers, you know, for their own good. And this is a five year contract in this case, right? And for us, it's great. I mean, for us, it's a reliable source of revenue if you want, right? Recovering revenue. For them, is a reliable source of data, right? So... and they can specialize in the analytics, and we can specialize in putting more satellites in orbit, collecting the data and, you know, making it easy to access.
Auren Hoffman (33:41):
Okay. Now, you're clearly an international company. I know you're, you're originally from Argentina, you have executives in Nashville, and Seattle, and Barcelona, and Denver, and Charlotte, and France, and Israel, and Munich. Distributed workforces are pretty common nowadays in software companies, SafeGraph has a distributed workforce. But it's pretty rare in satellite firms. Like, how do you see that as a strategic advantage?
Emiliano Kargieman (34:04):
Yeah. I think, you know, from the beginning, you know, it's not like we did this on purpose, right?
Auren Hoffman (34:09):
Emiliano Kargieman (34:09):
But from the beginning, I always knew that... I come from, again, from a software industry, my previous companies were software companies. And I actually started all my other companies in Argentina, and eventually had to take them out, right? Because-
Auren Hoffman (34:21):
Emiliano Kargieman (34:21):
... eventually need to put the Salesforce and the product strategy close to your customers. And, you know, so I, I was already used to the model where you have a distributed team because of that. And I think since the day zero, I thought about building a company, you know, where you are essentially locating the pieces of the company the most, y- you know, the best place, right?
Auren Hoffman (34:41):
Emiliano Kargieman (34:41):
The ideal place for what you need to do. So I, I was actually in Mountain View... living in Mountain View when I had the idea of building Satellogic. And instead of hiring my engineering team in Silicon Valley, I decided to move back to Patagonia. Okay. The middle of nowhere-
Auren Hoffman (34:58):
Emiliano Kargieman (34:58):
... to do that. And the reason for that really was two things. First is, you know, just a regulatory environment in the US to build space technology is insanely complicated, expensive, and difficult to navigate, right? And I had suffered some of this in my information security companies, uh, having to deal with ITAR. And I kind of had sworn at the time that I didn't want to ever deal with ITAR again, right?
Auren Hoffman (35:20):
Emiliano Kargieman (35:20):
So I, I, I knew, you know, I knew I didn't want to build my engineering team there. So I, I decided to go and build my engineering team in a very weird place in Patagonia, where there was an existing company that had been building satellites for NASA for a number of years for like historical reasons. And I said, "Hey, I'm gonna take this speed here. I'm gonna build my core engineering team around this-
Auren Hoffman (35:40):
There's a similar, like SpaceX was in Long Beach or something like that. 'Cause there are-
Emiliano Kargieman (35:44):
Auren Hoffman (35:44):
... already all these like kind of companies that built rockets there.
Emiliano Kargieman (35:47):
Right. And then, you know, the time came to start manufacturing our satellites at scale, right? And of course, I don't know how much you know about Argentina, but it's really not the place where you wanna put a manufacturing facilities.
Auren Hoffman (35:58):
Emiliano Kargieman (35:58):
Importing stuff, exporting stuff.
Auren Hoffman (36:00):
Yep. You need something more asset light in Argentina, right. Yeah.
Emiliano Kargieman (36:04):
Right. So we moved that to a free trade zone in Uruguay, which is across the border from where we had our office in [inaudible 00:36:09], like it's a 30 minute flight, right?
Auren Hoffman (36:12):
Emiliano Kargieman (36:12):
And it has none of the issues doing on Argentina. Now, when we started putting together a sales team, you know, of course you don't want a sales team in South America, right? You're far from everyone in the world.
Auren Hoffman (36:22):
Emiliano Kargieman (36:22):
So we started to put together a sales team in the US, right? So, you know, you see how this is going.
Auren Hoffman (36:28):
Emiliano Kargieman (36:28):
Every time we decided to, you know, create and function the company, we thought about where's the right place to do that. So we were about to build our analytics and product team and, you know, the US wasn't really the right place for a number of reasons. You know, cost was one, the ability to attract the right talent and maintain it over time was another one. So I decided that, you know, Barcelona was actually a really good location to do that, it was the great place to attract talent from all of Europe, and [crosstalk 00:36:56].
Auren Hoffman (36:55):
Who doesn't wanna live in Barcelona, right?
Emiliano Kargieman (36:57):
Auren Hoffman (36:58):
Emiliano Kargieman (36:58):
So yeah, exactly. You're young, you know, it's like great weather, great food, good... you know, (laughs) great standard of living. So that's why we set up in Barcelona for product analytics team, right? And so, we were very distributed before the pandemic hit, right? And we already had all the process in place to work as a distributed company. And I think, you know, after the pandemic hit, we just went all in and said, "Look, we're never going back to the model of, you know, concentrating people around offices. And let's just exploit the nature of distributed workforce." And, uh, you know, and on the other hand, we're building a satellite company, right? That's gonna be having customers all around the world, right?
Auren Hoffman (37:34):
Emiliano Kargieman (37:34):
Or satellites kind of be located on top of one place. They're roaming here, right? So kind of made sense from that perspective too.
Auren Hoffman (37:41):
No, I know you mentioned you're headquarter in a free trade zone in your... like, what is the advantage of being in a free trade zone?
Emiliano Kargieman (37:47):
The main advantage is I can buy components or equipment anywhere in the world. Have it shipped directly door to door, to my warehouse without going through customs, essentially. Just-
Auren Hoffman (38:00):
I got it.
Emiliano Kargieman (38:00):
... get into my warehouse. So [crosstalk 00:38:03].
Auren Hoffman (38:02):
That's amazing. Okay. So if you wanna get it out of your warehouse, maybe there's some custom things, but getting it into the warehouse-
Emiliano Kargieman (38:08):
Auren Hoffman (38:09):
... it's not like you have like the Uruguay customs team, like going through everything.
Emiliano Kargieman (38:12):
Actually I can get it out. If I get it out of Uruguay, I don't even have to go to customs again, right?
Auren Hoffman (38:14):
Emiliano Kargieman (38:14):
So I can move the whole thing.
Auren Hoffman (38:17):
Okay. Got it. Okay.
Emiliano Kargieman (38:18):
So, so it's, it's kind of, you know, having a manufacturing facility in a land that is, you know, free from essentially, literally free from, you know, trade restrictions, which makes it very simple to operate a global supply chain with, you know, j- just in time to go and build expensive things, right?
Auren Hoffman (38:36):
Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Now, when we talked with Will Marshall, who's the CEO of Planet Labs on World of DaaS, he was kind of insistent that Planet was a data company, not a satellite company or a space company. Do you see satellite... Satellogic in a similar way or...
Emiliano Kargieman (38:50):
100%. I think, you know, I think Will and Planet have, have the right vision about the future of this industry and where we need to go. And we see it the same way. I mean, the customers at the end don't care if we're operating satellites or we are, you know, operating drones or we're sending-
Auren Hoffman (39:05):
Emiliano Kargieman (39:06):
... people with a magnifying glass (laughs) to take a look at something, right? Like, the cool glass, right? Where we get the data. If we get it from mobile phones or we get it from satellites, right? They want a problem solved, right? They want a data set that is the closest to, you know, solving the problem, and it's possible. And you know, this is one thing that is very important. This is one place where I think not coming from the aerospace industry, you know, has helped me and has helped us, which is, from the beginning, we were focused on solving problems, right? And if we had to build a satellite to do it, then we build a satellite. If we actually have to completely redesign satellites (laughs) from the ground up to do it, then we do it, right?
Auren Hoffman (39:41):
Emiliano Kargieman (39:41):
But if we don't have to, you know, we're not going to, right? I mean, we're not in love with the technology first. And then, you know, trying to see what we're gonna use it for. You know, we are really building the satellites to go and solve real problems, right? And I mean, you've mentioned this in your podcast several times, there are not so many examples of successful data as a service companies, right? And... but I think in this domain, in particular, when you think about planet earth, you know, the value of the data set that we will be collecting collectively, right? Planet and us.
Emiliano Kargieman (40:12):
You know, the people that is building the infrastructure today to go and collect data of the planet in high frequency, in high resolution, and make it accessible, you know, at the right price point. You know, this is really going to change the world, right? It's really going to change the way we make decisions. It's going to level the playing field. It's going to get rid of information at cemeteries, and make actually the world economy more efficient, right? So, you know, it's... I, I think the value here is huge and the values in the data, right? Nobody cares if it's coming... where it's coming from. It just happens that satellites are the right tool for the job, right?
Auren Hoffman (40:45):
Emiliano Kargieman (40:45):
Lower forwarding satellites are the perfect tool for this job of monitoring that.
Auren Hoffman (40:50):
Okay. Yeah. Really, really interesting. Now, you know, you, you mentioned these VARs that you work with, with analytics companies, ABDAS, County, or et cetera. They're also a lot of other data companies in the geo space world. There's SafeGraph also geo-space data. There's CoStar, there's CoreLogic. There's tons of other data companies. Like, how do you see working with these data companies?
Emiliano Kargieman (41:09):
That's our goal, right? Making our APIs, you know, easy to use, making our Cadillacs easy to access, so that everybody can use them, right? Coordinating on data source. Actually, you know, we started a while ago to coordinate our API and the way we're managing our, our spatial temporal catalogs, or stack catalogs to make it, you know, a common framework with other companies in the industry. Because, you know, it is about making, you know, this data as easy to fuse with other data sources as possible, right? To solve problems. Again, I'm, I'm expecting our customers are gonna be using your data, gonna be using our data, are gonna be using everybody else's data, right? To solve their problems.
Auren Hoffman (41:45):
Yeah. Now, you guys have recently gone public. Why choose going public now as opposed to, you know, waiting?? Uh, I think a lot of companies moving your space, maybe have gone public a little bit later in their life cycle. What was the advantage of going public earlier in the life cycle?
Emiliano Kargieman (42:00):
Yeah, I think, I think there's two things. The first one is we saw, this is an opportunity to fully fund our business plan, right? To be able to go out and build our consolation of satellites, and we could have continued to fund the company in the private market of course, but being on the public market, I think it also gives us, you know, a platform to grow that is harder to do, that is harder to replicate on the private, on the private side, right? So I think those were part of the, of the [crosstalk 00:42:27].
Auren Hoffman (42:27):
Is that because you might wanna make strategic acquisitions or something like that, or...
Emiliano Kargieman (42:30):
Correct. I think, you know, I think we... in our future, there's both organic growth. If you want something in organic growth-
Auren Hoffman (42:35):
Emiliano Kargieman (42:35):
... that's gonna have to happen. But on top of that, you know, you mentioned this, even though we're building satellites that are, you know, 1000 times less than Maxar, you know, worldview satellite, this is still a capital intensive.
Auren Hoffman (42:48):
Emiliano Kargieman (42:48):
Right? So we still will need to continue to raise money in the future. And just having access, you know, to the public markets to do that, it just makes a lot of sense for the speed of execution that connects to us, right? We're at a stage where we've validated technology, validated the product market fit. You know, we have revenue, we have customers, we just need to put 200 satellites in order as fast as we can, right? And I think this was the right platform for us to do that.
Auren Hoffman (43:15):
Okay. Interesting. A couple personal questions. So Uruguay is probably one of the more stable countries in the world, but like right next door where you're from, Argentina, has maybe not been as fortunate, and has had maybe a lot of constant political change over the years. Like, how has that shaped your thinking of being a founder coming from Argentina?
Emiliano Kargieman (43:34):
Look, I think it totally does, right? I think you'll see this in Argentina and [inaudible 00:43:39] in general. And there are many, many examples. You know, we tend to be people that is very resourceful, that is very kind of stubborn and fights. (laughs)
Auren Hoffman (43:47):
Emiliano Kargieman (43:47):
You know, with whatever tools we have, you know, for as long as we can. I think that's all, you know, that's all stuff you learn from early on, right? Today in the US, you know, you are worried about inflation.
Auren Hoffman (43:58):
(laughs) Right. Right.
Emiliano Kargieman (43:58):
I remember, you know, I remember I being-
Auren Hoffman (44:01):
6% inflation or something.
Emiliano Kargieman (44:02):
Right. 6% inflation. I remember being eight years old and nine years old and, you know, and having 2000% inflation, right?
Auren Hoffman (44:09):
Emiliano Kargieman (44:10):
Yeah. And I remember going to a supermarket and, and just having someone whose work was to like, just put the new prices and things working full time, right?
Auren Hoffman (44:18):
Emiliano Kargieman (44:19):
'Cause they were do one turn is supermarket updating the prices, and then they have to-
Auren Hoffman (44:22):
Emiliano Kargieman (44:23):
... do another one, right? U- updating it again. So, you know, I think those things prepare you for the, you know, making decisions in an uncertain world. And I think, you know, that ends up being, speaking to a resiliency of Argentina and entrepreneurs. I also think that there are things in, (laughs) you know, that you have to unlearn, right? To be successful. And that's a lifelong process. (laughs)
Auren Hoffman (44:45):
Now, your wife, Paula is a fiction writer, and she writes a lot about futuristic technology, science fiction. She even has a book called dark constellations. It seems like you guys are like very kind of together on your journey. You must have like really interesting dinner conversations.
Emiliano Kargieman (45:02):
(laughs) Yeah. You know, we feed each other. I'm, I'm Paula's biggest fan from the very, very early, early days when she started... you know, before she was in a publish author, but she's developed an amazing career, she's... her books are doing really, really well. And, and yeah, she's very interested in a lot of things that I'm also interested in, with a completely different perspective.
Auren Hoffman (45:23):
Emiliano Kargieman (45:24):
And so she, she will look at things with a completely different perspective, completely different eye. And that's amazing. And I think-
Auren Hoffman (45:30):
Has that helped you be a CEO? Some like, like using that creativity or anything, or...
Emiliano Kargieman (45:35):
I continue to be an avid reader of science fiction, you know?
Auren Hoffman (45:37):
Emiliano Kargieman (45:38):
I think, and I actually think some of the biggest philosophers of our time are science fiction writers, right? You know, because they're really thinking about the future in ways-
Auren Hoffman (45:47):
Emiliano Kargieman (45:47):
... and the impact of what's happening today in ways that, you know, take more time to permeating into, you know, either more established circuits like academia, and so on. So I'm... I could teach you to be an avid reader. And I think, you know, it also... you know, on a personal level, it's also worked very well because the fact that Paula's interested in the stuff that I'm doing, she's, she's interested in the future of technology. She's interested in space and the things. You know, it has really helped because, you know, being married to the CEO of a startup, it's, you know, it's not an easy feed in itself, so-
Auren Hoffman (46:17):
Right. That's true.
Emiliano Kargieman (46:18):
... uh, (laughs)
Auren Hoffman (46:18):
It's tough to, it's tough to be married to a CEO of a startup. Hopefully, my wife's listening right now. Last question we ask all of our guests, what is the convention of wisdom or advice that is generally bad advice?
Emiliano Kargieman (46:30):
I think the worst one is don't reinvent the wheel. You know, because sometimes, you know, sometimes when the environment changes, when the situation changes, you have to go back to first principles. You have to go back to thinking, "Hey, how would I build a wheel if I started-
Auren Hoffman (46:46):
Emiliano Kargieman (46:47):
... you know, if I started today, right?" And not, you know, I don't know, 10,000 years ago or 20,000 years ago, right? How would I create a wheel today? And I think that's, you know, that's super important, that's what's allowed someone like Elon Musk to go and make a dent in the, you know, launch business, right? That's what has allowed us to go and build satellites that are, you know, 1000 times cheaper than, than traditional satellites. It's sitting down and, and going back to first principles, you know, a little bit like a small kid, you know, asking stupid questions, right, right?
Auren Hoffman (47:16):
Emiliano Kargieman (47:16):
You know, why? (laughs) Why are you doing that?
Auren Hoffman (47:19):
Emiliano Kargieman (47:19):
Why? Until you get to the bottom of it, right? And nobody knows why, right? Like, nobody knows. And if nobody knows, then you've found something that maybe it makes sense to, to change. So I don't buy the, don't reinvent the wheel.
Auren Hoffman (47:32):
Okay. Great. That, that's great. I love that. Love that. Now I, I follow you on Twitter. Is that where generally, we should point everyone to, or where should people find you on the internet?
Emiliano Kargieman (47:42):
Sure. My Twitter handle is @earlkman, but you can also write, just write me a note, [email protected], and that should get to, to me.
Auren Hoffman (47:52):
Okay. Awesome. EK, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for joining us on World of DaaS.
Emiliano Kargieman (47:57):
Thanks, Auren. Really enjoyed.
Auren Hoffman (48:00):
Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the show, consider rating this podcast, leaving a review. For more World of DaaS, and is D-A-A-S, you can subscribe on Spotify or Apple Podcast, or anywhere you get your podcast. And also check out YouTube for videos. You can find me at Twitter at @auren, that's A-U-R-E-N, Auren and we'd love to hear from you.
Emiliano Kargieman is Founder and CEO at Satellogic, a satellite and geospatial data company. Emiliano and Auren discuss the power of low-orbit satellites, how building and deploying satellites has become dramatically more affordable in the past decade. They also discuss promising technologies that will usher in the next generation of satellite companies.
Peter Platzer is CEO at Spire, owner and operator of the largest multi-purpose constellation of satellites. Peter and Auren dive into how the satellite industry has evolved over the past few decades, the different types of satellites out there today and what type of analyses are possible with satellite collected data.
Will Marshall, co-founder and CEO of Planet, talks with World of DaaS host Auren Hoffman. Prior to Planet, Will served as a Scientist at NASA/USRA. Planet is a data business that operates hundreds of orbiting satellites that capture images of the entire world daily. Will and Auren cover Planet’s proprietary methods of building a satellite imagery dataset, how its data is used by numerous industries, Planet’s plan to go public later this year, and more.