Ocean Data Startup Sofar Scores A Nearly $40 Million Funding Round

Oceans cover the vast majority of the Earth’s surface — 71%, to be exact. And yet so much of what occurs on the water goes completely unobserved by humans. But thanks to a $39 million fundraising round revealed on Monday…

Jennifer
Image Credit: iStock Images, evrenkalinbacak
Sign up for insightful business news.

Oceans cover the vast majority of the Earth’s surface — 71%, to be exact. And yet so much of what occurs on the water goes completely unobserved by humans.

But thanks to a $39 million fundraising round revealed on Monday by the ocean data startup Sofar, a much clearer picture of the seas is on the horizon.

Deep Blue Something

With its new funding raised in a Series B with Union Square Ventures and the Foundry Group, Sofar is seeking to expand its data-collecting capacity across all four (okay, five) oceans. Specifically, the startup will increase its armada of drifting “Spotter” buoys by a magnitude of thousands.

While not as advanced as the expensive buoys deployed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, each Spotter — which can cost as little as $5,000 a float — can provide real-time wind, wave, temperature, and ocean-current information.

So far for Sofar, there’s been a steady tide of public and private sector customers hungry for its stats:

  • Data from Sofar’s buoys improve weather forecasts, aid ship captains in charting routes around rough waters, and provide climate scientists with information on how the seas are shifting.
  • Among Sofar’s customers are the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the World Meteorological Organization, shipping carriers such as Berge Bulk, foreign governments, and around 70 universities.

Marriage At Sea: Sofar didn’t always make its buoys. In 2019, the company joined forces with startups OpenROV, which makes underwater drones, and Spoondrift, which manufactures the floating beacons. Together, the trio scored a $7 million Series A from Solar City co-founder (and Elon Musk’s cousin) Peter Rive. A Musk interested in a vast, unexplored space? Go figure.

Analysis more
(Photo Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Unsplash)

Private Practice: A Q&A with Pierre Valade, Founder of Privacy App Jumbo

(Photo Credit: Nate DeWaele/Unsplash)

The Brontosaurus Bubble: Could the bottom fall out of the dinosaur fossil market?

Recent News

Private Practice: A Q&A with Pierre Valade, Founder of Privacy App Jumbo

Subways Sales Climb for First Time in Years as the Company Looks to Expand in Foreign Markets

Florida Tops New York New Jobs Report

Sony Bids Farewell to PlayStation Supply Chain Woes