Lumen Orbit Bags $2.4M Investment for Orbital Data Centers


Key takeaways:

– Washington-based startup Lumen Orbit has secured a pre-seed investment of $2.4 million.
– The company plans to deploy hundreds of satellites for processing data in space before downloading it on Earth.
– Lumen Orbit’s project is expected to save bandwidth, costs, and latency.
– The first satellite, a 60-kilogram demonstrator, will launch in May 2025.
– The startup has several MOUs for more than $30 million and a paying customer for its first demonstrator.

Bellevue-based tech startup Lumen Orbit has secured a $2.4 million pre-seed investment round to kick off its ambitious plan to put hundreds of satellites in orbit. The primary mission is to process raw data collected by these space-hardened devices in orbit before transmission to clients on Earth.

Investors Betting Big on Lumen Orbit

The investors backing this three-month-old venture include known players like Nebular, Caffeinated Capital, Plug & Play, Everywhere Ventures,, Sterling Road, Pareto Holdings, and Foreword Ventures. Additionally, more than 20 angel investors, including four Sequoia Scouts are funding the startup through the Sequoia Scout Fund. According to Philip Johnston, Lumen CEO and co-founder, the investment round was 3x oversubscribed.

Johnston is a former McKinsey & Co. associate and a co-founder of an e-commerce venture, Opontia. The other co-founders of Lumen are chief technology officer Ezra Feilden, a former engineer at Oxford Space Systems and Airbus Defense and Space, and chief engineer Adi Oltean, a former principal software engineer at SpaceX’s Starlink facility in Redmond, Washington.

Unleashing Data Power in Open Space

In a statement, Oltean said that the company’s goal is to establish a constellation of orbital data centers for in-space edge processing. He revealed that their plan entails other satellites to dispatch the raw data they collect to Lumen’s satellite constellation, providing faster and cheaper insights to ground-based customers.

Lumen Orbit aims to send approximately 300 satellites into a very low Earth orbit, around 315 kilometers above Earth. The first satellite to be launched will be a 60-kilogram demonstrator, set to lift off in May 2025 as a rideshare payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Forming Industry Connections

Johnston revealed that Lumen is currently forging partnerships with Ansys and Solidworks for satellite design and development. Additionally, they have initiated the process of filing applications with the Federal Communications Commission and the International Telecommunication Union. He admits that the $2.4 million investment round will facilitate the launch of a revenue-generating model in about 16 months.

Lumen already boasts several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) worth over $30 million and expects a paying customer for their first launch. With a full-scale prototype launch planned for the end of 2025, Lumen plans to start launching the first orbital plane of eight satellites six months later. Within six to twelve months, Johnston said they will deploy the initial five orbital rings.

Industry Perspective

Notably, Lumen is not the only player eyeing the prospect of launching space-based data centers. Other projects like ASCEND, backed by the European Union, and Texas-based Axiom Space have similar plans. Axiom Space is partnering with Kepler Space and Skyloom to initiate an orbital data center launch on Axiom’s first space module around 2026-2027. Despite these emerging endeavors, Johnston remains confident, referring to Lumen’s distinctively unique service that currently isn’t publicly offered by anyone else.

Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne is the CEO and Founder of Livy.AI

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