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Wednesday, 07 January 2015 12:05

Edinburgh firm that analyses satellite enviro data gets big cash

An Edinburgh firm that analyses big data from satellites for environmental solutions, such as forest and soil carbon stocks, has been given another fresh boost of large financial investment.

Satellite  earth-firstGlobal Surface Intelligence Ltd (GSi ), the earth observation analytics company, has received a further vote of confidence from its investors, securing a second round of funding. This now takes investment in the company to £1.18 million since February 2013.

Original backers Par Equity LLP and the Scottish Investment Bank have been joined by Green Angel Syndicate in the second round, which sees the trio commit a further £775,000. The investment is set to accelerate GSi's growth plans, with the team projected to double, reaching 14, by 2016.

The company has developed predictive analytics and machine-learning software to turn raw earth observation data into commercially useful information about the environment.

It is currently monitoring timber volumes in North America and Scandinavia and has been used on projects assessing forest carbon stocks across six continents. GSi is also supporting the Australian government's soil carbon monitoring programme.

The company's GSi-Platform sits on some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world which are hosted by the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

Nigel Douglas, chief executive of GSi, said: "We are encouraged by this latest round of funding, which attracted a lot more investment than it had initially intended. While we could have kept going, it was decided to close the funding door at £775,000 before things got silly.

"Since our launch in 2012, we have developed advanced 'big data' analytics that enhance the accuracy of earth observations, which previously had been hindered by skewed results from cloud cover or atmospheric distortion.

This gives us a much clearer view of the earth and whilst the environment is at the centre of the business, our patented technology can be applied to many different sectors.

Satellite  earth 1"We are already developing global yield predictions for more than 120 different crops for the commodities market and this latest investment will allow us to build the team to meet increasing demand and further expand our agriculture crop yield services."

GSi's technologies help organisations make better environmental and business decisions. Its system processes, filters and analyses hundreds of thousands of satellite images, which allow users to carry out historical global big data time-series analytics as far back as 2001.

GSi's first patents were registered in 2009, and it was officially incorporated in 2012 with its head office in Edinburgh. The company has developed a very powerful software platform and it has brought to market several niche products with a focus on environmental data solutions. GSi's aim is to continue to innovate other data-layers by developing new internal products, and by working with clients, universities and scientists to help commercialise them.

Speaking about the latest round of investment Paul Atkinson, partner of Par Equity LLP, commented: "Since our initial investment in GSi, some 18 months ago, the management team has demonstrated its ability to develop the technology and strengthen its position in a truly innovative market. We remain firmly committed to help growing GSi into one of the leaders in this important global sector."

Global Surface Intelligence (GSi)
Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre
Par Equity LLP
Scottish Investment Bank
Green Angel Syndicate