Satellite AIS and Weather Firm Spire Goes Public

spire satellite
File image courtesy Spire

Published Mar 1, 2021 7:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Satellite data company Spire Global has reached an agreement to go public in a special purpose acquisiton company (SPAC) merger deal, joining forces with the publicly-listed investment vehicle NavSight Holdings. 

Spire is known for its constellation of multi-purpose nanosatellites, which are deployed in low earth orbit (LEO) to pick up a broad range of data, including AIS transmissions. Spire is a provider of satellite AIS data for the European Maritime Safety Administration (EMSA), among other users. 

“Spire was founded nearly a decade ago to help lead, inspire, and create the business of space-based data. Today, our proprietary data and solutions help customers solve some of earth’s greatest challenges, including Net Zero and Climate Change adaptation," said Peter Platzer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spire. "This transaction funds [our] growth plans and allows us to pursue, on a more aggressive timetable, this massive and growing long-term opportunity ahead of us."

The proposed agreement is expected to deliver up to $475 million for Spire, including up to $230 million in proceeds from NavSight's IPO, which occurred last September. It is also supported by a $245 million committed PIPE (private investment in public equity) anchored by Tiger Global Management, BlackRock, Hedosophia and other funds. The transaction values Spire at $1.6 billion. 

Spire provides maritime application developers with AIS and weather data as a service, delivered via APIs that allow companies to build sophisticated tools for weather routing and voyage planning. 

"With profit margins running tight, data, and particularly combinations of different types of data, are allowing maritime professionals to make more accurate data driven decisions," explained Spire's head of product marketing, Iain Goodridge, in a guest post last year. "Many are doing more with AIS data and are increasing their use of weather forecasts, particularly wind/wave forecasts. This combination of data sources provides greater accuracy which helps build confidence in relying on data to make data-driven decisions."