Canada-based satellite telecommunications company Kepler Communications has raised $16m in a Series A funding round to support the development of its next set of nanosatellites.

The financing round was led by Costanoa Ventures and saw the participation of Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) Digital Ventures as a strategic investor, joining various returning investors, including IA Ventures.

The round has brought the total funding raised by Kepler to $21m.

Kepler is expected to use the funding to grow revenues, and to launch its GEN1 constellation, which is scheduled to enter service by the end of 2020 with up to 15 new nanosatellites.

The GEN1 constellation is designed to provide affordable store-and-forward services beyond the capabilities offered by Kepler’s other satellites, KIPP, CASE, and TARS.

“We’ve spoken with icebreakers, oil tankers, tourism companies, maritime operators, and scientific organisations that all operate at the poles. They told us of the frustrations with the complete lack of high-bandwidth coverage in these regions.”

KIPP is a breadbox-sized 3U CubeSat that is designed to deliver data at speed of around 40mbps.

The satellite is expected to be joined by its sister probe, CASE, once the latter is launched from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) next month.

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The satellites are scheduled to serve maritime and other customers.

Kepler Communications CEO Mina Mitry said: “We’ve spoken with icebreakers, oil tankers, tourism companies, maritime operators, and scientific organisations that all operate at the poles.

“They told us of the frustrations with the complete lack of high-bandwidth coverage in these regions. This is what led us to roll out PolarConnect, the world’s only high bandwidth solution designed for the poles.”

Kepler intends to deploy its third satellite TARS next year in order to demonstrate Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity service.