RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Astraea, a startup company that develops cutting-edge technology to gather satellite data for environmental-related predictive analysis, will invest $1 million to expand in the City of Charlottesville. The company will purchase in-house server clusters for rapid algorithm development and testing, out-of-sample data machine learning, high-performance computers, and equipment for software developers. Virginia successfully competed against California, Colorado, and Montana for the project, which will create 31 new jobs.
“Fostering the growth of high-tech companies of all sizes is critical to our mission of building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Charlottesville’s close proximity to outstanding higher education institutions and Astraea’s customer base make it an ideal location for this young company to thrive. Virginia has become a world-class center for emerging IT companies, and we thank Astraea for contributing to the Commonwealth’s success in this booming sector.”
Founded in September 2016, Astraea applies advanced data science and machine learning to image and sensor data gathered from earth-observing satellites. The goal is to identify and predict real-time changes in land use, traffic patterns, land and water quality, and environmental trends.
“It’s exciting to see a startup like Astraea make such a sizable stride in growth since its founding just one year ago,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “With more than 180,000 technology employees, Virginia undoubtedly has risen to be a world leader in IT and software development. Astraea is a strong example of what entrepreneurs can accomplish in the commonwealth, and we look forward to partnering with the company in its new phase of growth in Charlottesville.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support Astraea’s new job creation through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for its citizens.
“Astraea chose Charlottesville for its headquarters and technology team expansion for very specific reasons,” said Brendan Richardson, Astraea CEO and Co-founder. “Charlottesville is an emerging hub of advanced technology start-ups that are being built on the foundation of UVA’s vast research and development as well as the City’s incredibly high quality of life factors. Specifically, for Astraea, Charlottesville, and Virginia in general, are deep pools of data science talent, which is critical to our success. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are transforming industries across the globe and Charlottesville is an emerging leader in M.L. and predictive analytics which are the underpinning for A.I. We have a wealth of data science talent here and it’s easy to recruit talent to Charlottesville given its strong reputation in this area and the amazing quality of life in Central Virginia.”
“Astraea’s investment within the City of Charlottesville is yet another example of our growing technology sector,” said Jason Ness, Business Development Manager, City of Charlottesville. “We are pleased our VJIP match program could play a role in this expansion and we look forward to Astraea’s continued success.”
“The announcement that Astraea, a cutting-edge technology firm, will invest $1 million to create 31 jobs in the City of Charlottesville is exciting news,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. “We welcome the opportunity to bring 21st century jobs to this world-class city and economy.”
“The Charlottesville area’s vibrant technology start-up community is growing in many ways, and the emergence of companies like Astraea mark an important new phase of that growth,” said Delegate David J. Toscano. “Many of Astraea’s co-founders were already here, having come to central Virginia to work with various established players in data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, as well as the constantly evolving discipline of nurturing cutting-edge ideas through the highs and lows of the start-up process. As more technology companies are established in Virginia, bringing even more talent to live and work here, opportunities for new combinations of people to meet and pursue the next big ideas in high-tech fields will grow exponentially. It’s a wonderful engine for sustainable growth in the high-tech sector, and we’re excited Charlottesville will be part of it.”