Mitsui, Dai-ichi Life and INCJ have backed a $22.9m investment round led by 31Ventures Global Innovation Fund that will fund the launch of Axelspace's latest satellite.

Japan-based small satellite builder Axelspace has closed a ¥2.6bn ($22.9m) series B round led by a vehicle formed by real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan.

31Ventures Global Innovation Fund, a joint venture between Mitsui Fudosan’s 31 Ventures investment vehicle, and investment firm Global Brain, was joined by diversified conglomerate Mitsui and insurance firm Dai-ichi Life.

SBI Investment, a venture capital subsidiary of financial services provider SBI, filled out the round along with University of Tokyo’s Innovation Platform and the state-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan.

Founded in 2008, Axelspace is developing micro-satellites that are intended to monitor marine and atmospheric occurrences on Earth. It launched its first model, WNISAT-1, in 2013, following it with successor WNISAT-1R in July 2017.

The funding will support the Axelspace’s plans to launch a satellite later this month, with two more slated for launch in 2020.

The company had raised $15m in a 2015 series A round that included SMBC Venture Capital and Seibu Shinkin Capital, the VC units owned by financial services provider Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Seibu Shinkin respectively, as well as SBI Investment and Japan Science Technology Agency.