Satellite and aerial imaging specialist Bird.i has secured £210,000 of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) funding from Scottish Enterprise.

In addition to creating 14 new high value jobs, the support will also allow Bird.i to scale up its operations, enhancing its product by providing intelligence on the images it takes. The company hopes that this expansion will help them target new sectors such as energy and engineering.

The funding was announced today by Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse on a visit to the company’s Glasgow headquarters. “Small and medium sized enterprises are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy,” said Wheelhouse, “and businesses like Bird-i are helping to develop the digital skills talent we have here, as well as increasing our pool of specialists in new technologies, and we are keen to support their aspirations to expand their business.

“Bird.i’s close ties with the world’s leading satellite operators – Airbus and Digital Globe – bring a real international focus on the digital skills base here in Scotland and our capabilities in data analytics and that is something I very much welcome.”

Founded in 2016 by Corentin Guillo, a French entrepreneur with a background in Earth observation satellite development, Bird.i provides cutting-edge imaging and intelligence services.

The company collates the best satellite, airborne and drone imagery every day, in order to build up a high quality, accurate view of the changing world.

By applying proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision techniques such as ‘unsupervised learning’ or ‘similarity search’ to its unique imagery and data, Bird.i extracts “actionable insights, better, faster and at a greater scale than trained human eyes, to answer a range of business needs, issues and questions”.

A wide variety of companies can benefit from Bird.i’s services, across a diverse range of sectors. Current case studies in the construction and infrastructure industries include detecting new construction sites or tracking the location and progress of ongoing building projects over a specific period of time.

Examples related to financial services include measuring crude oil storage at the tank, refinery or country level in real-time; as well as monitoring the transportation of commodities, such as grain, in order to build a picture of supply and demand.

“The establishment of Bird.i in Scotland following the completion of a first investment round was a bold decision which has been motivated by the access to local talents and the support from the Scottish Government,” said Guillo. “This RSA funding will help to establish further Bird.i’s presence in the Scottish ecosystem and become an employer of choice.”

Rhona Allison, interim managing director for company growth and innovation at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This expansion represents an exciting step forward in the evolution of Bird.i.

“Scottish Enterprise is delighted to have supported the company at each stage of its development from initial strategy and management planning though the High Growth Ventures team, to equity investment and ongoing account management support. We look forward to working with Bird.i as it continues to work towards achieving its ambitious growth plans.”