SAN FRANCISCO Dec 18 Yuri Milner, the Russian
investor known for his bets on high-flying social media
companies Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc, is
raising his sights beyond the stratosphere.
Billionaire Milner led a $52 million investment in satellite
maker Planet Labs, the firm said in a statement. Planet Labs
said it plans to put a fleet of 28 image-gathering satellites
into orbit early next year.
The San Francisco-based company aims to make ultra-efficient
satellites that it says can capture and transmit more images at
lower costs than traditional satellites. It was founded by three
physicists who previously worked at NASA's Ames Research Center
in Silicon Valley.
Other new investors joining this round include Industry
Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Lux Capital, and Ray Rothrock.
Planet Labs' existing investors include Draper Fisher
Jurvetson (DFJ), Capricorn, O'Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures (OATV),
Founders Fund, First Round Capital, Innovation Endeavors, Data
Collective, and AME Cloud Ventures.
Earlier this week, influential startup program Y Combinator
said Milner would no longer automatically invest in each of the
companies that participate. Twice a year, Y Combinator admits
about 50 young companies for instruction in entrepreneurship and
introductions to key players in Silicon Valley.