PlanetiQ to hire ‘one or two dozen’ at new Boulder office

BOULDER — Officials for Bethesda, Md.-based startup PlanetiQ — which earlier this year inked a collaboration deal with Boulder-based Blue Canyon Technologies to build a constellation of 12 weather satellites — announced Monday that the firm has opened a permanent office in Boulder, where it plans to make “one or two dozen” new hires over the next several months.

PlanetiQ has had 12 employees in Boulder since January collaborating with Blue Canyon on the constellation. Those employees had until now been co-located with Blue Canyon at 2425 55th St. But PlanetiQ recently leased 5,500 square feet of its own space in the same building where its scientists and engineers will develop and build the flight instruments for the satellites.

PlanetiQ spokesman Dan Stillman said Monday that most of the new hires would also be scientists and engineers.

Founded in 2012, PlanetiQ had Colorado ties even before its work with BCT. Chairman Chris McCormick founded Golden-based Broad Reach Engineering, which was acquired by Moog Inc. in 2013. PlanetiQ, which has raised about $5 million in funding to date from a variety of sources, is in the middle of raising a Series B round of funding.

PlanetiQ has six employees in Maryland, where its corporate and business units reside. Stillman said that office is also expected to grow in the coming months.

PlanetiQ and BCT officials announced their collaboration in June on the commercial satellite constellation that they expect will improve weather-modeling capabilities for a wide range of users. PlanetiQ is making the sensors and imaging equipment, which use a technique called GPS Radio Occultation to gather data. BCT is building the spacecraft and integrating all of the systems. PlanetiQ plans to sell the data gathered from the satellites — each about the size of two loaves of bread — to customers in the meteorology, aviation, shipping, defense, intelligence and agriculture industries.

The satellites are slated to be on orbit by the end of 2017. PlanetiQ officials are in negotiations with Antrix Corp., on the launch of the first two satellites in late 2016.