Xona Space Systems, a pioneer in navigation technologies from Low Earth Orbit (LEO), has announced that they have raised an oversubscribed financing round to accelerate the development of their high-performance commercial satellite navigation network, bringing their total funding to over $25M.
The round was led by First Spark Ventures who is joined by numerous new investors including Lockheed Martin Ventures, SRI Ventures (of SRI International), Velvet Sea Ventures, Gaingels, Airstream Venture Partners, and Space.VC. Existing investors also continue to show firm conviction in Xona's accomplishments and market opportunity with participation from Seraphim Space, Toyota Ventures, 1517 Fund, MaC Venture Capital, and Stellar Ventures.
Xona is focused on the development of Pulsar – a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite navigation system designed to provide resilient and trusted centimeter-level position anywhere on the globe. Within the past year Xona more than doubled their full-time headcount, launched their first orbital mission, and signed agreements with major players across the GPS/GNSS ecosystem such as Hexagon | NovAtel and Spirent Federal.
"What the team has been able to accomplish in the past year is awe inspiring," said Xona CEO Brian Manning. "The massive domain expertise of our supporters in everything from scaling global companies to deep technical knowledge of GNSS is both a validation of our team's capabilities as well as a catalyst that has been instrumental to our growth and speed."
The new capital will accelerate the development of Pulsar through several critical design milestones by expanding the team and building out Xona's new R&D and manufacturing facility in Burlingame, CA to enable more rapid design cycles and prepare for production. Xona's first demonstration mission, Huginn, was successfully launched in May 2022, and their second mission, Muninn, is planned to launch in 2023.
"Xona's approach to GNSS is poised to enable a whole new class of robust & reliable solutions in everything from automotive to drones," said Manish Kothari, Managing Director of First Spark. "This is a technically challenging problem - a problem which the Xona team is uniquely qualified and experienced to address. We are very excited to be part of this journey with them."
Xona's core mission is to enable modern technology to operate safely in any environment, anywhere on Earth. To achieve this in industries such as automotive autonomy, drones, and aerial mobility, precise knowledge of location and time is critical, and it must be robust against sources of potential interference or degradation. This is driving a need for global infrastructure that can support the demands of these applications as they continue to expand in both capability and geography.
"As customer needs evolve, Lockheed Martin Ventures continues to work with companies we believe are on the forefront of emerging technology and that support increasingly resilient, hybrid systems," said Chris Moran, VP and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures. "We invested in Xona so they can continue to develop and build their commercial system to complement the greater Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) architecture."
Xona has been making rapid progress towards launching their commercial GNSS alternative. In less than a year the company has successfully tested the core technology for Pulsar in both simulation and hardware, designed, built, and flown the world's first ever privately funded satellite navigation mission, and grown to over 30 employees, all for under $10 million.
"The world would look very different today without GPS," said Xona CTO Dr. Tyler Reid. "The ubiquitous robust precision that Pulsar can provide has potential to make the same level of global impact, not only in present and emerging markets, but we believe this global high precision can also enable entirely new devices and apps that we haven't even thought of yet."
Click here to learn more about the Pulsar satellite system from Xona.