Jul 7, 2021

Planet Labs agrees a SPAC Deal at US$2.8bn Valuation

Technology
PlanetLabs
Data
imagery
2 min
Planet Labs is preparing to go public, merging with a SPAC in a deal with backing from Google, BlackRock, and Marc Benioff

Planet Labs, a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, and dMY Technology Group, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), today announced that they have entered into a merger agreement under which Planet will become a publicly traded company. 

The deal has a post-transaction equity value of $2.8bn and will provide Planet with $545m in cash balance at close, including $345 million from dMY IV’s contribution, and a $200m PIPE provided by BlackRock-managed funds, Koch Strategic Platforms, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures, and Google.

Founded in 2010, Planet has raised around $374 million to date, and operates the largest Earth-imaging satellite constellation in operation. They have launched 462 satellites to date, and its current orbital fleet features 21 satellites that can capture imagery at a 50-centimeter resolution and about 120 that can capture imagery at a near three-meter resolution. 

They snap 3 million images per day across more than 150 million square miles. It has, on average, 1,500 pictures for each spot on Earth, and the images are taken at regular intervals over time. The pictures are not detailed enough to see something like a person’s face but are good enough to make out cars and other objects in a cityscape.

 

Shifting towards a sustainable economy

 

“At Planet our goal is to use space to help life on Earth. We have this huge new dataset -- an image of the entire Earth landmass every day -- which we serve up via a Bloomberg-like terminal for Earth data, making it simple to consume and expanding reach to potentially millions of users across dozens of verticals,” said Planet CEO and Co-founder Will Marshall

“As the world shifts to a more sustainable economy and more companies and governments set their sustainability and ESG goals, the first step in achieving these objectives is measurement. Planet’s daily, global data is foundational to making that transition. We’re excited to reach this important milestone of taking Planet public to significantly accelerate our mission, and to be doing so with dMY and other great investors,” adds Marshall.

Through this transaction, Planet will invest to accelerate its growth by further expanding into existing and new markets, as well as building additional software and machine-learning-enabled data products and solutions.

(Image: Planet Labs under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license)

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Jul 26, 2021

China announces 6-month campaign to clean up apps

Technology
China
Data
apps
2 min
China’s crackdown on tech companies seems to be expanding as the country’s industry minister launched a six-month campaign to clean up internet apps

A 6-month campaign has been announced by China’s industry minister, to clean up what it says are serious problems with internet apps violating consumer rights, cybersecurity and “disturbing market order.” 

In an online notice the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that, among other things, companies must fix pop-ups on apps that deceive and mislead users or force them to use services they might not want.

The order is all part of a wider effort to crack down on tech industries and police use of personal information. Authorities have recently ordered fines and other penalties for some of China’s biggest tech companies.

Earlier this month, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered online stores not to offer Didi's app, saying it illegally collected users' personal data. The company’s shares have now fallen by more than 40% since making its New York Stock Exchange debut on 30 June.

 

The latest campaign in the tech crackdown

 

The ministry launched this latest campaign with a teleconference call on Friday and issued its 15th list of dozens of apps it has said require fixing on Sunday. 

There are 22 specific scenarios it has said require ‘rectification’, among which the ministry mentioned pop-up windows as a specific problem, especially when all the screen of a pop-up window is a jump link with a false close button.

Other various problems it highlighted were threats to data security due to a failure to encrypt sensitive information while it is being transmitted, and failure to obtain users' consent before providing data to other parties; and malicious blocking of website links and interference with other companies products or services. 

It also took aim at illegal broadband networks, which it called “black broadband" that failed to conform to website filing procedures or might be subletting or using illegal access to networks.

Regulators have been stepping up enforcement of data security, financial and other rules against scores of tech companies that dominate entertainment, retail, and other industries.

 

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