Tokyo-based ALE Co., Ltd (ALE), led by CEO Lena Okajima, with the mission to bring space closer to people, has completed a successful series A round of funding led by Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong-based private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, and SPARX Group, Shinsei Corporate Investment, QB Capital, and individual investors. The round raised US $11 million in a third-party allotment of shares. The total amount of funding raised to date is US $26 million.
ALE is a private aerospace startup operating the “Sky Canvas” project, which lightens the sky to a vast canvas for aerospace entertainment by creating man-made meteors. It also advances research of the upper atmosphere, collecting data in the mesosphere during reentry, small satellites and related technologies.
This round of funding helps ALE further accelerate its schedule for proving man-made meteor technology and commercializing it in 2020. The funds will be allocated to developing a new generation of satellites for commercial man-made meteors, development of new technology used for content in the “Sky Canvas” business, to launch a service utilizing data-driven insights from observation of man-made meteors, and to the development of electro-dynamic tethers (EDT) used to prevent contributions to the growing space debris problem.
The investors who contributed to this round of funding are expected to support ALE with their vast global network, assisting in securing new clients for the Sky Canvas project and partners for the company’s data services business.
As part of this round of funding, Wendy Yu of Horizons Ventures joins ALE as an external director.
■Series A investors
- Horizons Ventures
- SPARX Group Co., Ltd.
- Shinsei Corporate Investment
- QB Capital LLC
- Individual investors
◇ Sky Canvas
Sky Canvas is ALE’s aerospace entertainment project, which likens the sky to a vast canvas of opportunity. The company’s first project under this banner is achieving the world’s first man-made meteor in 2020. It plans to follow that project with development of a variety of next-generation entertainment. The aerospace entertainment segment enables ALE convey the appeal of space and science to a wider audience in order to draw attention to those sectors and draw more talent to the field.
* “Sky Canvas” is a registered trademark of ALE
◇ Data analysis of the upper atmosphere layers during reentry
Observation of artificial meteors will allow the retrieval of information from the data measured during reentry in the upper atmosphere, which is connected to climate change. This data directly relates to meteorological phenomena and also affects the various man-made objects traveling through the mesosphere, which would be of benefit to meteorology and the aerospace industry. ALE plans to collaborate with scientists and research institutions to increase the fidelity and accuracy of climate change and weather forecast models, as well as drive the design and optimization of safe spacecraft.
◇ Development of microsatellite technologies
ALE conducts development of micro-satellite and associated technologies. Current, ALE is working with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop compact, lightweight electro-dynamic tethers (EDT). This EDT is expected as one of the effective measures to counter space debris proliferation, that Japan has set as a priority. By installing this EDT in advance on the satellites and rockets that will be launched in the future, it will be possible to lower their orbit after the mission and make them enter Earth's atmosphere. This type of post-mission disposal (PMD) technique will prevent the generation of new space debris.
* ALE press release on conductive tether (EDT)
* JAXA press release regarding tie-up with ALE (J-SPARC) in EDT development
ALE’s mission is to “Make Space closer. For all of us. Together.” With our innovation and technology ALE strives to fulfill the endless curiosity of us humans, and to advance the development of science as well as grow space business that will enrich our daily lives.
Company Name： ALE Co., Ltd
Address ： 2-21-1Kawamoto Building 2nd floor Akasaka, Minato-ku Tokyo
CEO ： Lena Okajima
Established ：Sept. 1, 2011
Business Overview ：Space Entertainment Business ”Sky Canvas”, Data analysis of the upper atmosphere layers during reentry, development of microsatellite technologies