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Farming with Satellites

The Space Capital Podcast

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August 13, 2019

This episode of Space Angels Podcast features Anastasia Volkova, CEO of FluroSat. FluroSat uses an analytics platform that leverages satellite imagery, agronomic models, weather, and IoT data, to provide key insights to agronomists.

Tractors have been using autonomous driving for decades, but the AgTech sector is relatively new. With water becoming a scarce resource and fertilizer waste growing, precision agriculture is paving the way toward a more sustainable farm. In this episode, we talk to Anastasia Volkova, CEO of FluroSat. FluroSat uses an analytics platform that leverages satellite imagery, agronomic models, weather, and IoT data, to provide key insights to agronomists.

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13

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Farming with Satellites

We're not in the commoditized data capture space. We're not the smart cookie in the room that knows all models for all kinds of crops in all geographies. But we are the tenacious connector and the thinker to bring those together and enable the universities to get their science out the lab and get to the farmers.

Welcome to The Space Angels podcast, episode thirteen, Farming with Satellites. I'm your host, Chad Anderson, CEO of Space Angels - the world's leading source of capital for early stage space ventures. You can find us on social media at Space Angels. In this podcast, we explore what's happening at the bleeding edge of entrepreneurial space and speak to the founders behind the companies at the forefront. The Space Angels podcast is brought to you in part by our friends at Cosma Schema, the new space design and branding agency with a suite of services like brand positioning, company and product naming, logo design, and web design. They're the only design agency exclusively serving new space companies. We recommend all our portfolio companies to Cosma Schema, and you can view their work at Cosma Schema dot com. Today's guest is Anastasia Volkova. She is the CEO of FluroSat, an integrated analytics platform that leverages imagery, agronomic models, weather, and IOT data to provide conclusive insight to agronomists. We recently invested in FluroSat, along with M12, the venture arm of Microsoft, and a number of other well-known funds. Anastasia, welcome to the podcast.

Anastasia:

Thank you so much for having me, Chad.

Chad:

Okay. So, I'm excited to dig in and talk about FluroSat. But first, I'd like to ask you a few questions about yourself and let our audience get to know you a little bit better. So, you are certainly well traveled. Originally from the Ukraine, you are now based in Australia but you're also spending a lot of your time in the US building your business. So how did you get here running a business in both hemispheres?

Anastasia:

Wow. Look, when people ask me, "Where is home for you?" Which is a pretty standard American question. I pause for a few seconds cause I still don't know the answer, and whether home is Europe, or the home is Sydney, ,or the home is LA now where my partner and I live, or whether home is just the world. How did I get to run the business in both hemispheres? Well, I think I was born as a global citizen. I didn't see the boundaries of the countries. And, you know, Europe. Being born in Europe really helps with that, because you can imagine yourself being in any of those countries at any given point in time for a weekend or for a couple of weeks holiday. And when I came to Australia, although it's a bit, I will say it's isolated, it's actually very connected. Because people from all over the world come to Australia. And Australian innovation reaches everywhere. And so, we obviously knew that American market would be the biggest target, as well as the early adoption here is really a thing. Many places in the world, it's not. Especially if you're talking about farming. And there is an opportunity to be really pushing for technology.

Chad:

Great. And so, you've previously been involved in projects with NASA, robots on the Space Station, and now I'm seeing photos of you on social media hanging out with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, who is now an investor in your company. So, a little bit about your career and your background, and what inspired you to go from being an aeronautical engineer to an agricultural entrepreneur?

Anastasia:

Yeah. That isn't a straightforward transition, eh?

Chad:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

I often reflect on that. That mom would have never told anyone that I was gonna be first an aerospace engineer and then go back to ag. It's an interesting story. So I was born in Ukraine, then I did my studies in Europe, in Poland and partly in France. And my PhD out of Sydney University also connected me to different labs around the world. And what I realized, during my degrees, is remote sensing, which is basically a part of Earth observation, it's covering things like satellites that are looking down at Earth and are constantly imaging it. Many people have heard about, you know, Planet Labs or different types of space companies that are launching what's called shoebox satellites that are looking down on us, and are registering everything, at least every, you know, square meter once a day. That's phenomenal. And that's why I was fascinated with Earth observation. And, you know, for someone like me, I really wanted to make a sustainable impact. And what I mean by that is I want to look into the eyes of my kids, and say that your mom is an aerospace engineer, she has actually done something great for the world going forward to make it more sustainable so that you can live in, and your kids can live in, and your kids can live in. Whilst aerospace is, when you think of it, people often call us rocket scientists and they think we're only dreaming about going to Mars. And I understand that FluroSat might at some point have a module for potatoes on Mars, like that's- that's totally within the vision. But at the same time, it's actually what's happening down here that's important to fix first. And so, that is my vision. And doing the PhD with basically a NASA camera system bought by Australian defense, and science, and technology organization gave me the edge of understanding how the sensors and what was coming from- down from the ground was connected. How could you see where the cars were, or the trees were, where the grass was. Was this grass better than that grass? Is this wheat, is this cotton? Is this almonds? And then you start piecing it together, and then I went to the market and asked whether that was actually available to them. And they said no. And I said, "Well, that's- that's not how it should be." That information is out there. Your'e making decisions based in it every day. It has to be available. And this is how FluroSat was born.

Chad:

Interesting. Okay. And then so, I see a lot of PhD entrepreneurs, academic entrepreneurs, have a very interesting theory or have a very interesting piece of IP or technology, and they struggle to commercialize it. And I've seen this countless times and don't know exactly, I think it's probably a number of things that's the cause of this, but I'm curious how you've found success and quite a lot of early success as an entrepreneur where so many other PhDs and academics have struggled.

Anastasia:

I would say it actually depends on the person. And even we are hiring PhDs. I'm trying to dig into why they started their PhD, because in some cases, like in Australia, you actually want to come to Australia and you're looking for a longer-term cause to it. And that's what some people choose a PhD. So, it's a very unique case. Whilst is someone is from Australia and they're doing their PhD there, they have a very different motivation to do it. So, that's basically telling you something about the person, whether they're academically minded, or their industry minded or commercially minded. Right? And so, for me, people often forget that part of the story, but we had two businesses with my technical co-founder before FluroSat. And I was always driven by what actually moves and shakes the market, not just by academia and, you know, what's the edge of the innovation that you can get to. To me it was important that it was applied. And I look at the innovation and academia from that perspective, from the perspective, is there an end user? Am I doing this for someone who will use this tomorrow? And I think people will say that, you know, Millennials are really hooked in on impact and they really want to see that they're becoming part of something bigger. And I think more and more PhDs should open up their, you know, their minds to that. And there are a lot of commercialization programs now. But I think what the- One of the secret ingredients there is actually, what's your purpose? Are you doing it because you just want to be advancing your own knowledge? Are you doing it because you want to be humanity's knowledge? Or are you doing it because there's a problem you want to fix? In the last case, you maybe can get an investment from Space Capital. [laughs]

Chad:

Love it. Okay. So, very practical mindset. I like that. And really focused on the commercial need. I'd like to take that now and talk about your company, and the market that you are operating in. So, first off, agtech is relatively new, at least from a venture capital perspective. You know, the last few, three to five years maybe, is where we've seen a lot of the investment coming in. But then prior to the show, we were having a little chat, and we were talking about the cockpit of a cotton harvester. A tractor that harvests cotton and how it's like the inside of a space shuttle, and how it's so advanced. And so, can we start off by, you know, what is agtech exactly? What are the macro factors driving agtech adoption?

Anastasia:

Yeah. These are great questions. So, when people think of agtech, they think of new age startups that are all focused around, you know, either data capture or analytics. But yet, let's actually step back and have a look at what technologies were there in agriculture before this new age of startups came in. And you look at tractors, and they're autonomous. And what that means is not like autonomous cars, where you really need to take a lot of caution to not hit anyone and to, you know, reverse park, and to decide when you're trying to get across the intersection first, whether you're trying to let someone go first.

Chad:

There's a lot more traffic on the road.

Anastasia:

Exactly. Exactly. There's no traffic out there in the field. Or you would hope that there isn't much. And that means that tractors had a free reign from the start. And for, you know, a good twenty odd years they've been autonomous. Meaning that you could press a button and it would cover your field in the right pattern and put the fertilizer or seed in the right place by itself. You didn't need to be driving that tractor physically. That's one of the technologies that's extremely important. And probably later on in the podcast, we'll touch on that why this auto steer, is how the call it, the ability for the tractor to drive autonomously, as well as precision localization where the tractor is at any given point in time is so important. There are also other technologies, like IUT, obviously, and the connectivity piece is very important for agriculture. If you have sensors that measure your soil moisture, that measure your flow rate in your tanks. That, you know, even cow's ear's tags are connected, you know. Those IUT technologies, they are only possible if you have good connectivity. And they existed before this new age agtech startups. There are quite a few other pieces that play into this mix, but those are the important parts. When you want to agtech, you want to have machinery, you want to some sort of sensing, and I keep reminding people that satellites have been driving those tractors. It's not the tractor itself, it's the satellite that sees that tractor, tells it where to go and tells it where it is.

Chad:

I bet there's more than a couple of audience members that did not see that coming. Tractors are driving our autonomous future. So the macro factors in what's driving this adoption of agtech, it's population growth, it's the cost of the environment, as you mentioned.

Anastasia:

Right, right.

Chad:

Declining sensor costs, obviously.

Anastasia:

Improving connectivity.

Chad:

Yeah. What is it? What's really driving this from a macro perspective?

Anastasia:

All of them. All of them. The fact that we're starting to invest and the governments are starting to invest more in research and development of innovation that will be underpinning higher productivity at a better cost. Meaning, that you will you less fertilizer with the same amount of arable land and you would get higher yields, ideally. And in reality, it's not like magic. It's just that we have a quite a bit of, you know, lag of adoption just because there are inefficiencies there. And macro factors, of course there's connectivity that's improving, of course there is research and science that's advancing, of course there is, you know, this climbing idea of this many billion people buy 2050 and that number always fluctuates depending on whoever quotes it. So, I'm not even putting a number on that. But we understand that we need to grow more with less. That's the bottom line. And the technology is now at the point where we can actually start harnessing it, and still not- not all the farms are connected. But you can go to Bloomington, Illinois and have reception in that town, for example, or in any other place. So, it's not just farms versus- Like it's not an urban, rural divide. It's just a connectivity period.

Chad:

Got it.

Anastasia:

We need it everywhere.

Chad:

Got it. And so, population growth has come up a few times. A partner at First Round Capital has been quoted as saying, they deployed a lot of capital in this agtech space, and he says, "In agriculture, everyone sees that maybe not right now but, say, in fifteen years, water will be expensive, healthy soil be scarce, and so why wait to work on that problem until it's a crisis?" And so, is that also true? And how serious is the water issue?

Anastasia:

Absolutely. You are asking someone who's lived in Australia the last, you know, four or five years. And water is a real issue. We have drought. It's the third year of drought, if I'm not mistaken. Or at least the second. And we have a very mature water market because of that, in Australia, that you can basically trade your water rights separately from your property rights. And here you have, in the US, you have quite a few aquifers. You know, for example, in Nebraska, they're not thinking yet where the water is coming from, cause it's just coming from the ground. Or in other places where you have abundance of it. In some other places, like Kansas, people are actually looking for an edge in agtech, because they're seeing that that water is either too much or too little. There is never quite the right balance. And it's a very important issue to be drawing the public's attention to. Because the water piece basically is a scarcity piece. Whilst you also mentioned the soil and the deterioration of soil. And what that means is that when you are not treating the soil sustainably over time, meaning that you're actually improving its health, cause it takes years to fix that. You can't just go one year and decide, "I'll put all my phosphors, zinc, whatever, potassium, in there and it's all gonna be great." It's four to five years in crop rotations and different practices that you need to adopt, and you need to actually incentivize someone to adopt, so that the market doesn't, you know, crash their bottom lines. That they can invest in the health of the soil long term.

Chad:

So, this is definitely coming. It's effecting some geographies earlier than others, and we're starting to see the market solutions and market dynamics that are coming in to help manage that, manage the scarcity. I'm curious, so going back to agtech more generally in connected farms, precision agriculture. Where is it finding the most traction? Like are there certain geographies, like Australia like you just mentioned is one- one of the reasons why you're there? You know, are some of these geographies adopting it quicker than others, and what is the technology that's really leading the way here?

Anastasia:

I think the adoption is driven by the urgency of the problem that people are seeing. And if you talk to people in California about water, they- they understand the issue. If you talk to them about nitrogen in the water, they understand the issue. Because that's been brought to them. There are measurements that are being made in the water, and the parts nitrogen in the water that need to be reported, and now they are tasked with reporting on that. It means that it brought- it's brought to the forefront of their awareness. So, what does that mean? That if an agtech startup, or an agtech technology company would talk to that farmer or to that agronomist, they would say, "Yes. We understand, we have a problem. We need to adopt the solution to this problem." Whilst, in many cases, if they don't know they have a problem, you cannot feed the solution to them. And so, you see how drip irrigation companies come out of Israel. Because the- all the water is recycled and, you know, cities like Tel Aviv. In Australia there's a huge water issue, therefore, drip irrigation or, you know, different systems for automation of irrigation are really important. Soil fertility and those things like nitrogen, it's dependent on whether people see a response and they have the water to actually be able to fertilize their soil. So, when you're looking at the agtech market, the way to understand where you're gonna actually get traction is to understand whether people have the problem. And, you know, it's a startup manual type question. Like what's- what's the first thing on your mind when you wake up? And you keep asking them at. And if you're not in top three, you do not- you're not relevant to them. You shouldn't be talking to them.

Chad:

Right. Right. So interesting. Okay so, according to Pitch Book, there has been nearly eight billion dollars in venture funding, flowing into agtech since 2015. And 2017 was a record year for farm focused startups. There's also a lot of smart institutional money going into this sector, not just early stage angel crowdfunding. Like this is- this is smart money, and substantial money. And it's going to all kinds of companies doing things, like farm networks, sensors and analytics, robotics and drones, farm management software, IOT sensors, and more. But I think that's kind of the general landscape. So, lots of technologies, all sort of tackling different bits of the farm ecosystem. Who is FluroSat, and where do you sit in that tech stack? And, you know, why- why there and why is that the right place, the right point in the value chain to leverage and create value?

Anastasia:  

I'm really excited to tell you about our vision, because I was just pitching it to the, arguably, American's best cotton researchers yesterday with one of our collaborators from Australia. And they absolutely loved it, and they said they haven't seen it before. And they haven't seen it coming. Haven't seen that someone actually embraced their needs. And so, what FluroSat's vision is, is that we actually are building the analytics engine. That means that we are collecting all of the different DS sources. We are connected to farm management systems, to IOT devices, to tractors, to all different range of satellites to collect that information. Because all of that is what's coming currently at a farm professional, at an agronomist, at a farmer and farm manager. And as a human, you know, how much information can we retain and how much information can we utilize to creatively decision make? Right?

Chad:

Exactly. You don't want to have five different access points to be able to effectively manage your farm.

Anastasia:

Nine. At least. [laughs]

Chad:

Okay.

Anastasia:

Five? It's- it's very humane of you.

Chad:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

And so, yes, one of the major problems is that, "Hey, I have nine tabs and I do not know whether the satellite image of my farm that has received this much rain and this has been the planting parameter actually is telling me the good performance or bad performance of my field." Because those factors that I just named in one sentence, they are five different tabs and they need to live together. And this is what FluroSat's is doing for them. FluroSat is our product. This is the name of our engine, and we're all about partnerships and about bringing the research and the science out of labs into the fields. So how it works is that, imagine we have this infrastructure piece which collect all the different data from different sources, it homogenizes it. So, we can ingest different yield maps, we can adjust different weather sources, we can ingest different farm management software inputs where they tell us how the farmer has managed their farm. And then obviously you have the derivative analytics piece, which is looking at, "Okay, what is the information telling us across the board? How can we run a crop model to see whether this crop is ahead or behind where it needs to be in development? And whether there is potential to improve its current performance and to improve yields?" And it's all very situational awareness based, just like defense. You know? You need to be looking at where you've come from, where you are, and where you're going. And FluroSat, as an engine, basically takes a farm, takes a field, automatically monitors it using satellite imagery, airplane, drone, whatever you have handy or want to apply again. It looks at how the crop is growing, gives you alerts on when things are going wrong, or if there's something that's unidentifiable. Or if something that's happening that can be deteriorating your yields down the track, and it can recommend ultimately the precision fixes. It can give your tractor the map to apply nitrogen. It can give your farmhand the anomaly area to go and scout. And ultimately, it can learn. Because it's a closed loop system where you have applied that nitrogen, we have seen the effects of it in the chlorophyll levels of the plant by combining satellite imaging with crop modeling. And we'll tell you, "Hey, well this really went great. Therefore, this soil is really fertile. You should look at it next time you're planting. Maybe you can get more out of it." Or when that farmhand goes and scouts that problem, and tells us disease, we then understand that there is more of those spots around the farm, and we can find them too. So that's where we're going with that closed loop system of data collection. Act, measure, correct. Act, measure, correct.

Chad:

Yeah. And as we've been talking with you and learning more about this before we invested, the term data fusion came up quite a bit. And this is an area of expertise for you. So, you really kind of sit in the center of all of these sensors, bringing in all this data together, and making it really easy for the agronomist?

Anastasia:

Yeah. For the agronomist. For the scientists on the farm. For those who are tasked with making decisions. And importantly, we sit in the center to help decision making, but how do we do it? We are using the models that are local models, so for Australia it will be Australian models, for the US it'll be the US models. You can also calibrate it to the fuel and farm level. And when I say models, I'm talking about, you know, the recipe type book. If you connect this soil to this hybrid of corn with this weather, and you raise it, giving it this much nitrogen, it should have this yield potential. But then you start fiddling with all those parameters. "Oh, Chad, your soil is actually like this not like that. Or your weather, it's not like this, it's like that." And you assemble those parameters, and you watch the crop grow and see if you had a good guess, or if your guess needs to be improved. And because we're bringing that science that's developed by government, that's developed by universities, that's developed by farming corporations themselves, they can now actually monetize their data. It's not all the data that's coming at them that's just useless or, you know, they're not learning from it right now. Whilst if you plug the model at the back of it, and you have a guess and you have a correction, then over time, your model improves and it's yours. And this is where it's really the key for FluroSat. We're not in the commoditized data capture space. We're not the smart cookie in the room that knows all models for all kinds of crops and all geographies. But we are the tenacious connector and the thinker to bring those together and enable the universities to get their science at the lab and get to the farmers.

Chad:

And by bringing all that data together, it all becomes more valuable. Right?

Anastasia:

Exactly.

Chad:

And then that's how stay ahead, and that's how you- your data and your information and your intelligence keeps getting smarter.

Anastasia:

And you can truly stay ahead because you're involving everyone in the ecosystem, and you're evolving together.

Chad:  

Yeah.

Anastasia:

Instead of trying to keep it all, you know, vertically integrated piece and you will be responsible for sensors, as well as for data collections, as well for- for ground truth. And we basically crowd sourced the ground truth of our data, right? Because they- they're vested in the accuracy. They want to get their farm model better. I see the future of farming being like, you know, the Tesla will have a dashboard with the battery connection to your home, and it'll tell you this is the performance of your- of your home, energy-wise. Well, think of a farmer. They'll have a dashboard where they will actually train their farm model. Like this is how we're performing on this crop and this season. That's where we're going, I think.

Chad:

And then so who are your customers? You're not selling to the farmers directly; you're not running around and trying to talk to every one of the farmers out there. So how does your business model work?

Anastasia:

Correct. So, we're selling to agronomists. And agronomists are the scientists on the farm, or the scientists up the value chain basically, who the farmers trust to make decisions for them. Because those are the people that see a lot of data, and they do a lot of experiments with that data. They have a lot of farms that they serve. Think of them as a crop doctor. Everybody wants to have the crop doctor that they trust, but you don't necessarily want to have one in your family with you all the time. So, in different size of families, you can decide whether your farm is big enough to actually have your own crop doctor, or you need to go to a specialist that's just consulting as an independent. That's literally how it works. And the business model is that we are empowering those people with the data that is valuable at the decision-making point to truly move the needle, in terms of the bottom line for their grower. And it comes in terms of efficiencies. We pre-analyze a lot of data for them. So, they can actually return back to their families and not click on satellite imagery day and night. Because that's just not a viable option, as well as if they are trying to make a recommendation, we will give them the scientifically valid recommendation tailored to their farm.

Chad:

Yeah. So, to be an effective agronomist or farmer, you don't also need to be a satellite expert?

Anastasia:

Yeah. Not anymore.

Chad:

Yeah.

Anastasia:

They used to do that.

Chad:

Yeah. And so, that's interesting. So Earth observation satellites have been a source of information, really critical information for large scale farms for decades, right? It's been around for- for a long time. How important is satellite data to precision farming?

Anastasia:

We feel like it's a ubiquitous component of it right now. Of course, we can't remove clouds, and we want clouds. We want it to rain, but at the same time we want the imagery so we can see what's happening. And it's absolutely the critical component, and FluroSat makes it even more usable. Because before people used to look at pictures. I'm a person driven by, you know, problems that need solving and I was frustrated by that. Like how do you know if your crop is doing better or worse? It's enough. It's not a visual color-coding ma- game that you're playing here. What is the number? Can you give me the performance metric? You know, you, as a venture capitalist, you would know. What's the growth? What's the compound growth? What's happening with that crop? And so, in FluroSat, we turned it into numbers, and we can tell them, "Hey, well, this is how your crop was performing across different parameters." And this is where satellite imagery becomes valuable. Because then you can decide which field to harvest first, which fields are going, you know, not as well as others. And you really start acting in it. It's not just a lot of imagery coming at you, and you're trying to figure out what it's actually telling you. We now have tools to translate it into something you can understand and ask questions of.

Chad:

Wonderful. And so, as space investors, we've seen a number of companies trying to do what you're doing. And one thing that really stood out to us about you, was your focus on building data partnerships that we talked about, and integrations rather than trying to build an launch your own satellites or drones. Can you tell us a little bit about that strategy, and why you decided to focus on the FluroSat's approach versus, you know, trying to address some of these other hardware robotics, data supply side of things?

Anastasia:  

Yeah. Well, it comes down to whether you, as a founder or as a business builder, you believe that vertical integration can actually get you to where you need to be. We believe that in agriculture, we're trying to think as an agronomist. We're the baby AI agronomist that they're trying to teach. So how does a real agronomist think? Well, they think, "I have all these data sources I need to combine together, and I do not care where they are coming from." Cause it's not a differentiated game of capturing data. It's very commoditized now. And in fact, I'm grateful to those startups that came before us and had to invest in imaging, and had to invest in IT, and had to invest in tractor technology and in water control. Because currently, we're in a space where we can say, "Okay. We have all these toys in the sandbox. How do we actually let people play with them efficiently, and connect them together?"

Chad:

Okay. And you've been very strategic in the investors that you've decided to work with. Can you tell us about what each of these bring to the table?

Anastasia:

I'm just so excited to have the construction we've brought together, to have you guys onboard, to have M12 onboard, to have Costanoa Ventures, Green Innovate Fund out of Australia, and have our existing investors reinvest. And I just had a call with the founder yesterday about one of our investors, and he said, "Well, how did you get them to invest?" And I said, "Well, that's the wrong question you're asking. Why do you want them to invest? Why are they going to bring value?" Because there is so much money out there, but ultimately, it's you and I in the boardroom, right? And we're making decisions about where the company is going and are you the right person to sit with them in the boardroom and really grasp the concept of what I'm trying to build. And with your expertise, bring it when I need it, when I need to hire that person. When I need to go- make that go to market decision. When I need to decide to move my engineering team or not. When I need to decide how to get in front of this big customer, and what's the backing that I need? And if you imagine that process, which founders obviously go through quite often of decision making together with their board, with their consortium of their investors, you really want the right people around you. Because, you know, there's a phrase that they have vested interest. Well, that's literally it. And you want the best people to have vested interest in your success.

Chad:  

Absolutely. Okay. So, looking to the future of farming. Siloed data will be a thing of the past. Connected farms will share data on inputs, and decision making will go down to the plant level is how we've kind of talked about it and where we think this is going. So, you've just raised four and half million Australian dollars. What would this latest funding round allow you to do? What's your grand vision for the company? How does FluroSat become an app platform like Salesforce?

Anastasia:

Yeah. I- I definitely see our stickers on all the different tractors and powered by FluroSat logos on them. Because we truly want to connect satellites to tractors in that data flow with strategic intervention of the human being. So that's the grand vision. And the current round that we've raised, we really want to focus on America's, on both North and South America, we have pretty good traction here in the North America, in the States specifically. Canada, in its agricultural sense, is similar to Australia, in terms of the crops they grow. And so that's the next expansion market for us, as well as Latin America. We have, you know, interested users across Latin America that we need to capture, to start supporting, and understand who are the right partners in that market. To bring the science that's local. Of course, we've hosted delegations from Brazil and Argentina in our Sydney office, because everybody knows how great Australian Cockney is and how high quality it is. And so, we get a lot of interest when we receive those delegations. But now it's our time to put people on the ground and to actually start those conversations. How we're going to improve the lives of the farmers in their regions, in their neighborhoods.

Chad:

Great. On our show, we like to say that there's never been a better time to get involved in space investing. Can you give us your personal perspective on that, and which areas are the most exciting for you?

Anastasia:

Oh, I'm- I'm really excited that you've decided to open up to agtech, because this is the, you know, the sustainability of the world. This is how we need to support it, and space is so critical. Although people embrace is, understand it, or ignore it, it's still all based on navigation and imaging that comes from satellites. There is this space where we need to be thinking about the vertical analytics. And what I want of the interpreters, like myself, to go and think about, "What are the other industries where you can actually do something with space data and make a difference?" It's not just about agriculture, or mining, or, you know, utilities. It's actually about, "What is the tangible difference that you would feel if I could map all of the parking lots in New York, and when you're going to work, I would tell you, "Chad, the one that you spotted, or reserved, is now taken." For example. "Go to another one." And that's with the satellite technology. And not making this up completely, because there is a startup that does that. But think of how we can actually improve the world when we have this pervasive sense in technology that just tells us the right information at the right time. It's like the GPS on your phone. You're not thinking anymore, you're just asking Google Maps where you need to go. What about making more of- hard life decisions being like that. What about eliminating the frustration, both in the urban and the rural worlds? So...

Chad:

We absolutely agree with you. Earth observation is going down the path to be as ubiquitous as GPS in our daily lives.

Anastasia:

Exactly. And we just need to know a little bit more about it, so the new generation of STEM students will become STEM entrepreneurs and they fix those problems.

Chad:

Anastasia, it was great talking to you. Thank you very much for your time today.

Anastasia:

Thank you for having me, Chad. Thank you.

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