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Xona Space Systems raises pre-seed round investment from 1517, Seraphim Capital, Trucks Venture Capital and Stellar Solutions

(14 May 2020 - Xona Space Systems) Xona Space Systems, a San Mateo-based startup creating a secure and precise Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) satellite service, has raised a $1M pre-seed round led by 1517, with participation from Seraphim Capital, Trucks Venture Capital, and Stellar Solutions.​

In the U.S. alone, over $300 billion of economic impact per year relies on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), yet the only signals available to the public are unprotected, imprecise, and susceptible to disruption from easily obtainable jammers and spoofers. The reliability and performance of satellite navigation needs to drastically increase to support modern industries such as autonomous vehicles, aerial mobility, maritime automation, and many more.

Xona Space Systems is developing the secure and precise PNT service that will enable modern intelligent systems to operate safely at scale. The Pulsar service by Xona Space Systems offers ten times better accuracy than standard GNSS through its patent pending powerful and encrypted signal with rapid convergence times.​

“What we are developing will enable modern technology, such as autonomous vehicles, to become readily accessible,” said Brian Manning, Xona’s CEO. “To reach their full potential, localization systems need to work safely and consistently in any weather conditions, in any environment, and in any region. The infrastructure that we are developing will provide this.” ​

In the United States, over 70% of roads and nearly 70% of the population live in snowy regions according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In adverse weather the effectiveness of LiDAR and vision systems for autonomous cars can be severely degraded. GNSS is too imprecise and vulnerable to interference to serve as a reliable alternative. The Pulsar service, which is unaffected by weather or road visibility, will deliver robust and accurate positioning to ensure safe operation even in the harshest conditions.​

"We are very excited to be working with the Xona team," says Nick Arnett, Principal at 1517, "we can't wait to see what the future holds for Xona Space Systems." Arnett continued, “The US Department of Homeland Security has identified over a dozen sectors of infrastructure that they deem to be critical and each of these sectors relies on GPS data in one way or another. So, having a system that’s resilient, that’s reliable, that’s secure is really imperative.”​

In 2019, Xona Space Systems was identified by Seraphim Capital as part of the top one per-cent of seed-stage space-tech startups and invited the team to participate in its third Space Camp accelerator program.

Rob Desborough, Partner at Seraphim Capital and CEO at Seraphim Space Camp, commented: “Part of the role of Space Camp is to uncover and support early-stage space-tech companies that will enable entirely new industries and business models. What the team at Xona Space Systems is doing, is going to be critical to so many existing services, like providing centimetre accuracy for autonomous transport, and the technology will pave the way for many more that haven’t been thought of yet.”​

Throughout this year, Xona Space Systems will conduct ground-based testing of the system that will lead to the development of the initial flight units.

About Xona Space Systems

Xona Space Systems is developing a new generation of high-accuracy position, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions for intelligent systems. Delivered via a secure, high-power signal from low Earth orbit, the patent-pending Pulsar service from Xona aims to enable the next wave of connected technology.​

About 1517

1517 supports teams with grant, pre-seed, and seed funding for technology startups. Our focus is on makers, hackers, and scientists interested in working outside tracked institutions because we believe that the path geared towards higher education is not for all. We motivate people to work on what they’re passionate about, to learn by doing, and to create new technologies.​

About Seraphim Space Camp

Seraphim Space Camp is the UK’s first dedicated accelerator program for start-ups in the SpaceTech industry. Launched by Seraphim Capital, the world’s only venture capital fund specializing exclusively in SpaceTech investment, the program is backed by both the UK and European Space Agencies as well as by corporate partners such as Dentons, Rolls Royce and Cyient.

Taking a “VC-mindset” approach to the accelerator concept, the founders of Seraphim Space Camp believe that investability should be a prerequisite for companies’ participation in the program, not the endgame.

The value proposition is designed to attract the ‘best of breed‘ high growth technology companies that are best addressing the biggest challenges facing corporates and the wider SpaceTech industry, and to support them in achieving commercial scale by creating tangible outcomes beyond simply funding.

Seraphim Space Camp is creating an ecosystem and community support network to ensure that participating start-ups are equipped to maintain their accelerated growth beyond the completion of the program, providing mentoring from more established companies from the Seraphim Capital portfolio, opportunities to work with invested corporate partners on proof-of-concepts and other technology integrations, and ongoing access to facilities and resources in locations around the world.

About Seraphim Capital

Seraphim Capital is a London-based venture capital fund manager with £100 million under management and the manager for the world’s first SpaceTech focused venture fund. The Seraphim Space Fund is the world’s first venture fund dedicated to financing the growth of companies operating in the space ecosystem. We invest in companies that are transforming global industries through the generation, enhancement, and application of satellite- and drone-enabled data.

Seraphim typically invests at Series A stage into IP-led businesses that have the potential to redefine large existing markets or create entirely new ones. Over the last decade, this has included artificial intelligence (computer vision, neural networks, machine learning), the Internet of Things (software, sensors), and advanced materials (polymers, semiconductors). Collectively, the Seraphim team has more than 100 years’ experience, having invested in more than 200 early- and growth-stage businesses.