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Synspective’s Satellites aim to Empower Sustainable Development through Real-time, Actionable Data

June 7, 2024

SynspectiveExternal site: a new window will open. is a pioneering Japanese space startup that specializes in providing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and remote monitoring services to government agencies and companies globally. Founded in 2018 by Motoyuki AraiExternal site: a new window will open., the company has stood out in a crowded market by focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, and building a unique, collaborative team culture.

StriX-3, Synspective’s fourth SAR satellite, were launched and has successfully reached its target orbit and spread its wings in March 2024

“Our business model combines data science and an artificial intelligence approach,” said Arai. “Our uniqueness, our competitiveness is the capability to develop analytics for this satellite data.”

Arai, who has a Ph.D in Technology Management for Innovation from the University of Tokyo, began his career working at the Tokyo office of a US-based consulting firm for five years. He has helped more than 15 global companies design new business and technology strategies, corporate governance, and internal controls. He founded Synspective because he saw the potential for remote sensing to aid in sustainable development, including the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"Data-driven management will be important to achieve scalable, sustainable development,” said Arai. “There are so many things that have to be measured and visualized quantitatively to approach the SDGs with a scientific approach.”

Synspective vision is clear: to empower individuals and organizations by harnessing SAR technology to enhance natural disaster preparedness, natural resource and energy development, and economic development. They can do this because they’ve developed small SAR satellites that can provide high-precision monitoring of the Earth's surface, regardless of weather conditions or time of day.

Synspective’s Services of solutions for the oil & gas, mining, foresting, and civil engineering sectors enable operation and asset management to be sustainable, resilient, and safe. Scroll to the bottom of the page for details. *1
© Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap and Improve this map, ©Copernicus Sentinel data [2019 - 2020], ©Synspective Inc.

“Our SAR satellites use microwaves, which can go through clouds, and the reflected microwave can be detected by the satellite,” said Arai, noting that this is especially important in Asia, where monsoons and seasonal rains can leave entire regions cloudy for weeks. “We can get ground, terrain and infrastructures shape data under any weather condition at any time, around the whole world.”

Currently, Synspective has launched four satellites,and is planning to rapidly expand their space array this year. Their satellites will join hundreds of others orbiting the earth, including competitors. In fact, there are numerous startups in the remote sensing space, but most of them are based in Europe or North America, and focus on those markets. Meanwhile, Asia, the world’s largest continent, has massive potential.

That is why Synspective set up an office in Singapore, and is focusing on expanding into Southeast, South, and Central Asia. For example, they recently signed Memoranda of Understanding focusing on InSAR Seismic Risk Assessment in Uzbekistan with the support of JETRO.

Dr. Arai presenting at Uzbekistan-Japan Business Forum in January 2024

Another project has been to work with Southeast Asian oil palm companies. The crop has long been blamed as a driver of deforestation and greenhouse gasses in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Synspective is helping companies identify their impact along their supply chain.

“We have been working with palm oil companies to look at the sustainability of palm oil and the production chain,” said Vincent KesslerExternal site: a new window will open., Synspective Singapore’s General Manager. “We were able to trace how much subsidence exists in peatland, which is very high in carbon, and actually detect the subsidence of peatland. And with that, we are able to help palm oil companies have better and more sustainable practices for their plantations.”

This is just the start, and, as they expand their constellation of satellites and improve their data processing technology, in the future, Synspective hopes to offer customers advanced analytics services and near-real-time observation of any part of the world.

“We have to try to find innovative ways to work with customers; our challenge is to be very creative,” said Kessler. “We’re trying to build an Asian champion, a company that excels on the world stage and that's based out of Asia.”

For Arai, the journey from 2018 has been a huge learning experience. He thinks that one thing that sets the company apart is its culture.

“Currently, we have people from 26 or 27 nationalities working for us,” said Arai. “We accept different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and work styles and have a base for healthy conflict, which can foster innovation and allow us to learn continuously together.”

With an expanding array and a growing global team, Synspective is ready to collect and provide data that allows businesses, governments, and other organizations to make decisions for sustainability.

*1 Images and descriptions of Synspective’s Services of solutions for the oil & gas, mining, foresting, and civil engineering.

Land Displacement Monitoring (LDM) solution can analyze wide-area ground displacement using SAR satellite data. Using proprietary Interferometric SAR (InSAR) analysis technology, the LDM solution can detect and track historical changes and find patterns with millimeter-scale precision using a cloud-based data platform.

Flood damage evaluation service for disaster response that assesses inundation area, inundation depth, and damage to roads and buildings. Unlike conventional observation methods using optical satellites and airplanes/drones, SAR satellites enable all-weather ground observation and can quickly determine the presence or absence of inundation damage in a wider area. Furthermore, FDA can identify the range of impact on facilities such as roads and buildings.

Given the increasing significance of decarbonization, forest preservation has become an important topic. With FIM, various observations such as tree height estimation, biomass estimation, forest fauna classification, logging detection, CO2 absorption, and fixed amount calculation can be performed remotely, making it possible to expand management areas and reduce costs.

Profile of Dr. Motoyuki Arai, Founder & CEO
LinkedInExternal site: a new window will open.

Moto founded Synspective in February 2018. As the CEO, he leads Synspective’s mission, overall strategy, and operations.
Moto began his career working at the Tokyo office of a US-based consulting firm for five years. He helped more than 15 global companies design new business and technology strategies to improve corporate governance and internal controls.
Moto received his PhD in Technology Management for Innovation from the University of Tokyo. His research focused on the construction of energy systems to promote economic growth in developing countries. Moto then implemented his knowledge of business development to lead projects in areas such as energy, water and sanitation, agriculture, and recycling in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, Kenya, Tanzania, and disaster-stricken areas in Japan.


Profile of Vincent Kessler, Executive Officer/ General Manager of Synspective SG Pte. Ltd.
LinkedInExternal site: a new window will open.

Vincent joined Synspective in October 2021 as the General Manager of Synspective's Singapore branch. He oversees Synspective’s activities in the Asia-Pacific and Eastern European regions. After graduating from the National University of Singapore's Geography Department in 2005, Vincent began his career at CRISP, the national remote sensing ground station of Singapore. He spent over 15 years leading Asia sales and business development activities for various high-profile global companies in the geospatial industry. Vincent received his MBA from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Report by:
TOYAMA Natsuho, Startup Support Division, JETRO

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