Untaped Data from the Sky: Skybox Imaging

Skybox Imaging wants to provide real-time satellite images form earth and data analytics to build a Google-scale business.

Big Data companies scour the Internet and transaction records and other online sources to glean insight into consumer behavior and economic production around the world, an almost entirely untapped source of data—information that companies and governments sometimes try to keep secret—is hanging in the air right above us.

There are 1,000 satellites orbiting the planet at any given time, But only 12 send back hi-res images.

Bildschirmfoto 2013-04-05 um 10.28.12

Of the 1,000 or more satellites orbiting the planet at any given time, there are perhaps 100 that send back visual data. Only 12 of those send back high-resolution pictures (defined as an image in which each pixel represents a square meter or less of ground), and only nine of the 12 sell into the commercial space-based imaging market, currently estimated at $2.3 billion a year.

Even with six small satellites orbiting Earth, Skybox could provide practically real-time images of the same spot twice a day at a fraction of the current cost.

Plenty of people would want real-time access to that data—investors, environmentalists, activists, journalists—and no one currently has it, with the exception of certain nodes of the US government.

Skybox wants to go further than just providing real-time images. The company’s real payoff won’t be in the images Skybox sells. Instead, it will derive from the massive trove of unsold images that flow through its system every day—images that, when analyzed by computer vision or by low-paid humans, can be transmogrified into extremely useful, desirable, and valuable data. What kinds of data?

  • The number of cars in the parking lot of every Walmart in America.
  • The number of fuel tankers on the roads of the three fastest-growing economic zones in China.
  • The size of the slag heaps outside the largest gold mines in southern Africa.
  • The rate at which the wattage along key stretches of the Ganges River is growing brighter.

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Skybox Imaging:


SkySat-1 in final testing at Skybox’s HQ

Skybox Imaging is an information and analytics company that provides easy access to reliable and frequent high-resolution imagery and first-ever HD video of the earth by combining the power of web technologies and a constellation of microsatellites. By operating the world’s first coordinated high-resolution imaging constellation, Skybox aims to empower commercial and government customers to make more informed, data-driven decisions that will improve the profitability of companies and the welfare of societies around the world.

Through a planned constellation of 24+ satellites that will capture high-resolution imagery and the first ever HD-video of any spot on earth, multiple times per day, Skybox will be able to take the pulse of the planet on a near real-time basis to provide an indispensable tool in addressing global challenges in areas including security, humanitarian efforts, and environmental monitoring.


Stanford Technology Venture Program

featuring Co-Founders of Skybox Imaging:

Dan Berkenstock (EVP and Chief Product Officer | Founder)

Julian Mann (Vice President, Product Development | Founder)

John Fenwick (Vice President, Flight Programs | Founder)

Ching-Yu Hu (Director of Marketing and Customer Relations | Founder)


Ben Horowitz Co-Founder of Andreessen Horowitz about his Investment Strategies

Ben Horowitz revails some of his investment strategies during his lecture at UC Berkeleys College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

What Ben Horowitz is looking at investments:

  1. The size of the opportunity – you need to get 30% to 40% of the market to meaningfull and to make money in technology.
  2. The quality of the team – is the team good enough to build a great product that is ten-times better and take the market.
  3. A bad market always beat a good team.

What Ben Horowitz likes to have in his investments:

  • Megalomaniacs
  • Outliers
  • Shifts in technology or markets
  • Market sectors that are dead – big market, a winner, bad product; this is a opportunity
  • Entrepreneurs that tilt towards big markets and not a niche
  • Hard core technical team
  • Products then teams rather than vice versa

What Ben Horowitz believes to be the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs:

  • Being both entrepreneur and inventor
  • Finding product/market fit
  • Managing their own psychology

Learn how business works directly from groundbreaking entrepreneurs and business leaders. This episode features Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a $300 million venture fund aimed at investing in new entrepreneurs, products, and companies in the technology industry. Presented by UC Berkeleys College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Series: Distinguished Innovator Lectures [4/2010] [Business] [Show ID: 17365]

BellaDati – makes big data directly accessible to business leaders

Currently, big data is a melting pot of distributed data architectures and tools like Hadoop, NoSQL, Hive and R. But, there are new companies emerging offering a toolset to make big data accessible to business leaders.

BellaDati is a fit-to-purpose products that abstract away as much of the technical complexity as possible, so that the power of big data can be put into the hands of business users.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwm0SP_hJQQ]

BellaDati’s idea is to provide the world with a tool to reinvent the way business users interact with their data.

BellaDati is offering solutions for several industies so far:

This trend of simplifying the access to data knowledge will change the BI landscape as we know it. Martin Trgina the CEO and founder of BellaDati has this vision and manifested it by the mission statement of BellaDati:

“We believe everybody should have an answer to data questions without waiting and in a nice design. We believe that everyone can love the BI. So — we made BellaDati.”

Many Simple Models over One Complicated Model

Jurgen Appelo has an interesting theory; when people have invested time and energy in a model (tool, framework, method), people have a tendency to make their models more and more complicated. “Let’s add another dimension.” “Let’s deepen the domains.” “Let’s add some columns or swim lanes.” “Let’s draw an extra diagram.”

The main approach to solve Big Data challenges is to take out the complexity of the data sets.

Complexity itself is anti-methodology. It is against “one size fits all.”
- Tom Petzinger, Interaction of Complexity and Management

This means it makes more sense to use multiple simple models instead of one complicated model. Having a toolkit of methods and frameworks, which each fail in their own way, is a smarter approach than relying on one method or framework to deal with all situations.

Read more on:

Jurgen Appelo’s blog noop.nl


Big Data comes to Munich, with Keynote Speaker Philippe Souidi

Yesterday in Munich IBM held its first SmartCamp event in Germany. It was also the first SmartCamp with a specific focus on Big Data and Business Analytics.

Keynote Speaker Philippe Souidi, Founder of echofy.me, summarized this topic perfectly when he called Big Data the “Oil of the next Century”… fitting, isn’t it?

The Gate Garching, the host of the event and a Munich Technology and Entrepreneur Center, was the perfect location for mindshare around the next generation of cutting edge startups, fitting because it is the home to several in-house innovative, young companies and close to the campus of the Technical University of Munich.

Let’s learn a little more about the startups who participated. 3 Big Data and Analytics startups received intensive mentoring from 15 Mentors representing different backgrounds, different industries, and different perspectives. Mentors included VCs, angels, serial entrepreneurs and industry experts, all of which had a common interest in Smarter Analytics.

SmartCamp Participants:

Celonis Softwate Solutions is the leading vendor for the analysis of operative process data created by IT systems. Their unique analysis technology, Process Business Intelligence, enables customers to intuitively dive into their process data and use it to improve their operational performance.

HoneyTracks provides the deepest analytics solution for monetization of online games and help Game Companies to understand the success factors of their game and how it generates revenues based on big data.

JouleX Energy Manager Solutions reduces energy costs up to 60% by monitoring, analyzing and managing energy usage of all network-connected devices and systems, without the use of costly and unwieldy agents.

And the winner is… JouleX!

As expected we had some very strong teams however the judges selected Joulex as the winner. Joulex leverages big data in order to create business intelligence by aggregating and correlating the energy information from all IP-enabled devices to provide unprecedented visibility into the energy consumption and utilization of those devices throughout the distributed office, data center and facilities environments. JouleX takes this a step further by applying advanced analytics to identify energy, cost, and carbon savings opportunities and a management platform to implement policies to realize this savings.

They have offices in Germany, US and Japan and are headed by Tom Noonan – Tom was previously CEO of Internet Security Systems (ISS), which was acquired by IBM for $1.5 billion. We look forward to working with them in the coming months.

Congratulations again to Joulex, Celonis and Honeytracks, an impressive set of Analytics and Big Data startups to kick off the very first SmartCamp in Germany!

Also a very big thanks to all our partners who were key to a very successful event.

Read more on: IBM Smart Camp

Leslie Bradshaw: Data Visualization and the Agency of the Future

Visualizing the Agency of the Future

As head of JESS3′s strategy and operations for the last five years, COO & co-founder Leslie Bradshaw shares her insights and observations around how data, content and workforce are impacting and leveraging one another.

Leslie posits: Whether you are an agency, brand, educator or public sector organization, these trends will all play a part of how you organize, think and produce.

Originally presented for RefreshDC’s November meetup on 11/16/11.

Creative Data Agency from Germany