TRL11 Inc., an Irvine-based maker of video and monitoring products for satellites, said last month it raised over $3 million in pre-seed funding.
The round was led by Boost VC, an early stage venture capital firm that invests in startups “accelerating the Sci-Fi Future,” the company said on its site.
Other participants in the round included Wonder Ventures, Anorak Ventures, Geek Ventures and angel investor Max Haot, who founded rocket maker Launcher. The remaining angel investors were undisclosed.
The funding supports TRL11’s expansion of its team, lease of a facility and the launch of two prototypes into low-Earth orbit.
“I’ve always been a sci-fi space nerd, but I never thought of it as a career path,” TRL11 CEO Nicolaas Verheem said in a statement.
“However, the recent explosive growth in the number of launches to low-Earth orbit creates some real challenges … some of which can best—or sometimes only—be solved with full video solutions in orbit.”
Technical Oscar, Emmy Winner
Verheem’s claim to fame in video technology started with his Irvine-based video products maker Teradek, whose products earned its team a Technical Oscar for supporting high-definition, real-time video transmission without the mess of cables.
The company’s Bolt 4K, a wireless transmission system used by TV shows and moviemakers, also received a 2021 Engineering Emmy Award from the Television Academy.
For his work with Teradek, Verheem earned an Innovator of the Year Award from the Business Journal in 2021.
Video in Space
Verheem last year parted ways with Teradek to apply his video expertise to low-orbit satellites.
According to the entrepreneur, the number of low-orbit satellites jumped from almost none to around 4,000 in a couple of years. That figure is expected to reach over 100,000 in this decade.
Despite the “exploding” amount of low-orbit satellites, only a fraction of them use video, Verheem told the Business Journal during an interview last August.
The majority of satellites instead observe Earth by downloading the images they take one by one, as stills, according to Verheem.
TRL11’s products aim to optimize that process with their video technology.
“Time and time again, video finds a way to add new value to just about every industry on Earth,” Verheem said in a statement. “Space will be no different.”