IFC takes Planet Labs Series C to $118m

The World Bank finance institution invested $20m in the satellite imagery company to close its Series C round ahead of target.

Planet Labs, a San Francisco-born company that designs, builds and operates a network of satellites, held a second closing of its Series C round on $118 million this week. The deal surpassed its $93 million target and is agtech’s largest venture capital fundraise, according to AgFunder’s 2014 data.

World Bank finance institution International Finance Corp (IFC) was the lead investor in the round and invested $20 million.

“Satellite imagery is an important tool for economic development and disaster risk response, and Planet Labs’ datasets can help bridge the information gap many emerging markets now face,” Nikunj Jinsi, global head of venture capital at IFC, said in a statement. “IFC’s investment will help ensure more companies and communities in developing countries have the information they need to grow in a smart and sustainable way.”

IFC is the largest global development institution that focuses exclusively on the private sector. Its venture capital division provides equity financing to early- and growth-stage companies in technology-focused sectors.

The latest round follows January’s first close on $70 million when venture capital firm Data Collective led the round. Other VCs including Yuri Milner, DFJ, Capricorn, OATV, Founder Fund, Felicis Ventures, First Round, AME Cloud Ventures, Industry Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, Lux Capital and Ray Rothrock (Venrock GP) also invested equity.  Western Technology Investment contrinuted $25 million in debt financing at the first close.

Planet Labs plans to use the funds to continue the manufacture and deployment of satellites, ground stations and technical support. Proceeds will also go into marketing and business strategies designed to reach emerging markets, including those geared toward agriculture.

According to Planet Labs, the satellites launched, called “doves”, can be deployed in clusters to capture Earth imagery faster and more cheaply than traditional satellites. Data collected is accessible to farmers in real time to monitor the fields and make timely adjustments.

The new funds will help Planet Labs scale its satellite constellation, support business development, sales and develop its data products.