Mercia EIS Funds

Entrepreneur on mission to stream live video from space raises £2m

An entrepreneur on a mission to launch the world’s first service streaming live video from space has raised over £2m in an investment round led by Mercia.

Charles Black’s company Sen will enable consumers around the world to watch free ultra high-definition (UHD) videos of Earth from cameras located on its satellites and will also offer a premium service to commercial users.

Sen launched its first satellite in January this year and will release its app in the new year to allow users to view daily videos and livestreams of Earth. The latest funding will enable it to place orders for two more satellites in preparation for a Series A funding round early next year.

A lifelong space enthusiast, Charles founded London-based Sen in 2014 after the flotation of his previous company Nasstar, a cloud computing business. After five years developing the UHD video technology, it was successfully trialled in 2019 when the first cameras were launched into space on a commercial satellite.

The company aims to build a constellation of over 100 satellites orbiting earth every 90 minutes to stream thousands of real-time and near real-time video clips every day. Sen’s free service will enable consumers to watch storms, fires, floods and other major events on Earth as they happen and learn more about planetary changes and help humanitarian organisations respond to disasters. The company will also operate a paid premium services for commercial users which want to download and analyse videos or commission Sen to film specific events or areas of interest.

Static images from satellites are widely used by governments, insurers and other big businesses for purposes such as weather forecasting, mapping or assessing storm damage. However Sen’s service will be the first commercially available video service.

The latest funding brings the total raised by the company to over £7m. Existing investors include US venture capital firm SpaceFund, which has also backed SpaceX and Axiom Space.

Charles Black, founder and CEO of Sen, said “By streaming real-time video to billions of people worldwide, Sen aims to democratise space. Our service will raise awareness about planetary changes and support those directly affected by events on Earth. We will use Augmented Reality on top of video to provide additional insights to users tell the story and provide unique new perspectives for humanity. We’re delighted to welcome Mercia on board to help us achieve our goals.”

Mercia was investing from its Northern VCTs. Lee Lindley from Mercia’s VCT team said: “Sen is not only creating a new form of media suitable for mass consumption, but also expanding the ‘earth observation’ market by offering the unique qualities of video for data analytics. We are delighted to be supporting Charles and the team on their journey.”

Luke Philpott of Mincoffs provided legal advice to Mercia on the investment.

Sen founder Charles Black, left, with Lee Lindley of Mercia
Sen founder Charles Black, left, with Lee Lindley of Mercia