VTC Innovation Fund contributed to a series B round for weather forecasting satellite constellation developer PlanetIQ, with the cash set to help it launch 20 microsatellites by 2021.

US-based Earth observation satellite developer PlanetIQ yesterday completed an $18.7m series B round featuring Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC) Innovation Fund, the venture vehicle the university’s foundation established with healthcare provider Carilion Clinic.

Venture firms New Science Ventures and AV8 Ventures co-led the round and were joined by Valo Ventures, Kodem Growth Partners, Access Venture Partners, Hemisphere Ventures, Service Provider Capital, Earth Investments, Moonshots Capital and an unnamed family office from Kansas City.

Founded in 2012, PlanetIQ plans to launch a constellation of low-latency weather analytics satellites that exploit a metrological technique known as high-definition radio occultation to transmit radio waves into the Earth’s atmosphere.

PlanetIQ believes its approach will yield 20 times more data than existing radio occultation-based systems, at 60-mile intervals across the Earth’s service.

The company hopes to have 20 microsatellites in low Earth orbit by 2021, targeting industries where there is significant weather-related risk, such as agriculture, insurance and defence.

The series B capital will be used to accelerate PlanetIQ’s constellation buildout. Vivek Mohindra, partner at New Science Ventures, and George Ugras, managing director at AV8 Ventures, will both join the board of directors.

PlanetIQ does not appear to have disclosed details of series A funding, however Kelly Perdew, general partner at Moonshots Capital, became an investor in November 2017, according to his LinkedIn page.