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Nigerian investor puts undisclosed cash monies into Silicon Valley startup

Things are getting exciting with Heirs Holdings. The pan-African proprietary investment company founded by Tony O Elumelu has just announced its investment in Silicon Valley-based startup Planet Labs.

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Founded in 2010, the tech startup specialises in Earth imaging satellite network with open data access. Last year the company launched a number of demonstration CubeSats, Dove 1, Dove 2, Dove 3 and Dove 4, which circle the planet in low orbit. Planet Labs’ ‘Doves’ are supposedly “significantly cheaper to produce and deploy than existing technology”. According to the company, it is set to launch Flock 1, a constellation of 28 earth-observing satellites, in early 2014. Set to be the world’s largest satellite constellation, Flock 1 will orbit at a height of about 400 km and provide imagery with a resolution of 3–5 m.

This makes for a very strategic and important move for Heirs Holding, which have primarily invested in the financial services, power, oil and gas, real estate & hospitality, agribusiness and healthcare sectors. Currently Heirs is the only African investor on the startup’s investor list.

“As the only African investor in Planet Labs’ project, we are incredibly proud to have supported such an innovative and dynamic company, which has already achieved significant success. As part of our business philosophy of Africapitalism, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and startups to enable them to bring scale to their projects and we look forward to following Planet Labs’ achievements over the coming years,” says Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings.

Neither Planet Labs of Heirs is spilling on the amount of the investment or the stake it gives the investment company but the folks at the startup seem quite happy to have the Africapitalist onboard.

“We are very excited to welcome Heirs Holdings to our team of investors and thank them for their support. The funding that they and other partners provide is vital for our development as a company and we are particularly pleased to be working with an African company, as our technology has the potential to support Africa’s development by monitoring and mapping the continent’s natural resources and agriculture,” says Planet Labs’ co-founder, Robbie Schingler.

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