As of July 3, Cesium had raised $2.75 million toward its $5 million target, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company hopes to finalize paperwork for the rest by September, according to Bonnie Bogle, Cesium’s chief operating officer.
The funds’ source is Falcon Global Capital, a new investment firm based in Jersey City, N.J., Bogle said. The money should enable Cesium “to go after all industries" while also continuing with government and military contracts, AGI’s specialty, she added.
Cesium was founded as a business within AGI back in 2011. AGI, owned by chief executive Paul Graziani and other company leaders, employs 242, including 185 at its Exton headquarters.
Cesium employs about 14, and plans to boost the total to 40 within a year, said Bogle, a Blue Bell native and cofounder of Mapbox, a mapping company.
Cesium’s chief executive is Patrick Cozzi, a graphics software architect who has taught the subject at the University of Pennsylvania’s engineering school. In a post on the company’s website, Cozzi said he is using the firm’s new funds to recruit engineers at Penn and Drexel and through the local geospatial community, including meetup group GeoPhilly.
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the ongoing support of AGI that allowed us to create Cesium in 2011, trial it in real-world scenarios, expand it over the past eight years, and now take it out on our own,” speeding its growth, Cozzi added on his post.
“Our vision for 3-D geospatial is ambitious,” he wrote. Locational data “is being collected at an astonishing -- and an ever increasing -- rate,” but has been hard for companies to organize and process.
“We want developers to be able to easily build 3-D data into their apps, for data providers to share massive data sets in real-time with just a link, and for data and insights gleaned from 3-D data to be used across industries,” using Cesium software.
Just what data is Cesium collecting? “There is a lot of information accumulating from sensors,” said Bogle. “We work with a lot of drone companies that are capturing aerial imagery. We work with car companies,” including autonomous-driving developers, who are “collecting information from their cars,” and industrial companies that collect data from sensors installed on their factories, warehouses, and other properties.
Similar data is available from social-media companies, but “that is not a focus of ours,” Bogle added.
So much property data is now available that companies that want to use it find the information “incredibly heavy,” Bogle said. “People give us hard drives full of information -- stuff they collect constantly -- that they can’t figure out how to use. With our platform, we take that data and stream it, online or offline, in a web browser, so people can visualize it, see where it sits on the globe, and interact with it, so you can share.”
Users include the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the U.S. government agency that maps the world and checks for changes in the natural and built environment and helps military intelligence target potential and actual enemies; drone-makers looking for new markets for the information they collect on places and the public; and insurance companies seeking claim information and baseline data for comparing claims. Insurers are enthusiastic users of drones.
The company’s name recalls the cesium isotope used in atomic clocks, which are famously accurate.