Planet acquires Dutch earth data company VanderSat

11 November 2021 3 min. read
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US-based Planet has acquired VanderSat, a Netherlands-based company specialised in satellite-observed earth data for among others the agriculture sector.

Founded in 2010 by three NASA scientists, Planet is one of the globe’s leading providers of satellite imagery and geospatial solutions. The company captures and compiles data from over 3 million images per day, and then sells insights leveraged from its database to over 700 clients worldwide.

Following the previous acquisitions of BlackBridge in 2015, Terra Bella in 2019, and Boundless in 2019, Planet has now purchased VanderSat for approximately $28 million, to be paid in cash and shares. “We believe VanderSat’s products will add value in Planet’s core verticals of agriculture and civil government, and will help us open up to others such as insurance and banking to help grow our business,” said Will Marshall, Planet CEO and co-founder. 

Planet acquires Dutch earth data company VanderSat

The move also bolsters Planet’s European presence, which was established when the San Francisco-based company purchased Berlin-based BlackBridge. All of VanderSat’s around sixty employees, including founder Richard de Jeu and CEO Thijs van Leeuwen, will join Planet as part of the integration. 

Established in 2015, VanderSat provides insights to customers by adding a layer of proprietary algorithms to public satellite data from NASA (United States), ESA (Europe) and JAXA (Japan). The firm’s insights report on key conditions on the Earth’s surface, like soil moisture, land surface temperature, vegetation optical depth, and biomass.

“Our services give our customers essential insights into soil and crop conditions, unhindered by changing cloud-cover and atmospheric conditions,” explained Van Leeuwen. Using these insights, farmers can improve their crop management, water utility companies can optimise their water management, and insurance companies can enhance their climate risk management.

By joining Planet, VanderSat will be able to accelerate its growth journey and mission to serve one billion hectares of land in 2024. “By joining Planet, our mission and impact will be dramatically accelerated and together, we aim to reach that goal in 2022.” 

The sell-side dealmaker

The deal comes a year after VanderSat raised several million euros to help further develop its patented satellite technology. The M&A consultancy that facilitated the growth capital, Hogenhouck M&A, was also the lead advisor to VanderSat’s shareholders in the Planet transaction. Back in 2017, Hogenhouck M&A also stood by VanderSat during its first investment round. 

Commenting on its role, Hogenhouck M&A partner Mark van Beusekom said: “VanderSat is well positioned with a highly specialized team and unique algorithms. The company combines an interesting and scalable business model with the ability to have a real impact on a global scale. In Planet, VanderSat has found the ideal partner to further scale-up and to increase its impact.” 

Earlier this year, Planet entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), to become a publicly-traded company called Planet Labs PBC. “The intended listing of Planet at the NYSE through a SPAC introduced tight deadlines and additional layers of complexity,” said Iris van Weel, director at Hogenhouck M&A.