Nuview’s lidar satellites hit $15M in funding as Leonardo DiCaprio joins latest round

Nuview, a startup that wants to map the entire landmass of Earth on an annual basis using space-based light detection and ranging (lidar) technology, has raised $15 million so far, TechCrunch has exclusively learned.

That capital includes a $3 million seed round and an in-progress Series A, of which $12 million has closed so far, according to a source.

Separately, the company also announced that Academy Award–winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio is among its latest investors, in a group led by MaC Venture Capital, along with Broom Ventures, Cortado, Florida Funders, Industrious, Liquid2, and Veto Capital.

“We are thrilled to have Mr. DiCaprio’s support and other environmental advocates onboard that share our Nuview values to address global environmental challenges,” said Nuview CEO and co-founder Clint Graumann in a statement.

Leonardo DiCaprio has angel invested in a variety of companies, many of which relate to sustainability, animal welfare and environmentalism. A few of those investments have done well, including meat alternative manufacturer Beyond Meat and mattress retailer Casper, both of which went public. DiCaprio has also invested in cultured meat startups Wildtype and Mosa Meat, and a cultured materials startup VitroLabs that produces lab-grown leathers and furs.

This is DiCaprio’s first investment in a space startup, according to PitchBook.

Nuview emerged from stealth in May with its plans to build out a constellation of 20 lidar satellites, though it declined to specify the amount of capital it had raised at the time. Nuview’s aim is to generate a centimeter-level map of the entire land surface of Earth on an annual basis – something that no commercial company or government entity has yet to accomplish.

There are good reasons for this — including the size, weight and very high cost of lidar systems here on Earth — but Graumann told TechCrunch in May that the company has made progress on a space-based lidar system that addresses these issues.

The company says it has secured over a billion dollars in “early adopter agreements,” though this revenue depends on Nuview delivering on spec.

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