In May of 2023, the EIF committed €60 million to the German Venture Capital (VC) fund Alpine Space Ventures, which invests in NewSpace startups with innovative technologies and disruptive business models. The fund has a committed capital capacity over €100 million that it uses to fund projects primarily on space-borne connectivity throughout the satellite value chain, including revolutionary technological innovations for propulsion, advanced materials, remote sensing, analytics, and insight elements. This move by the EIF is backed by CASSINI and the InvestEU Programme, which are all large-scale European collaborative projects that aim to expand the continents’ involvement in the private and commercial use of space, and are indicative of a much larger shift in attention and attitudes in favor of strengthening space economies.
This noteworthy advancement in the field of space entrepreneurship could not have been achieved without the material and strategic support made available by the ecosystem development and strengthening experts at CASSINI and InvestEU, who are dedicated to building a reliable and attractive European space ecosystem for investors. CASSINI is the EU Commission initiative to support European start-ups focused specifically on space-based/orbital data technologies and supporting new entrepreneurs throughout the lifescyle of their projects. This support includes capital to VC funds like Alpine Space Ventures, or capacity building programmes that gives investors access to expertise on space technology and its applications from space professionals, results from the latest European space market and investment studies, advice from EIF on fund management strategy, networking opportunities, and more. Similarly, the InvestEU Fund is an EU programme to leverage private and public funds to generate sustainable and efficient investment projects, which it does by allowing financial partners– in this case, the EIF– to invest some of the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion into growing sectors that then increases the overall risk-bearing capacity of said sector and mobilising at least €372 billion in additional investment. These elements often go unseen, however constitute undeniably foundational work of building trust and interest in the NewSpace sector of which we are only just beginning to reap the benefits.
Alpine Space Ventures is already proving to be a massive success– to date, the fund has offered Series A and seed investing opportunities with tickets ranging from €1-€30 million to four separate companies. This portfolio includes companies from across Germany, including electric propulsion developer Morpheus Space, complex carbon composite producers Blackwave, space vehicle solar energy solution designer Source Energy, and nanosatellite manufacturer Reflex AeroSpace. Alongside Alpine Space Ventures and other European VC funds, SMEs of this caliber have gone on to generate extremely successful investment numbers. Blackwave, for example, raised a total of €7,35 million during its initial 2022 seed round. CEO and Co-Founder of Alpine Space Ventures attributes this to the team of Limited Partner technical experts, including over 20 former SpaceX executives, that understands the space landscape and gives its portfolio members an edge in the competitive world of space entrepreneurship. One thing is definitely clear : The NewSpace innovation ecosystem is gaining momentum in Europe and many VC funds are fighting to be at the helm, which is luckily in the favour of interested SMEs and startups.
EuroSpaceHub is a group of 5 founding members, VilniusTECH, International Space University, Complutense University Madrid, Lunex Foundation and Collabwith Group.
EuroSpaceHub aims to connect digitally the space ecosystem in Europe, from tech transfer offices to industry, space accelerator networks, research centres, and other universities. The project will allow these actors to easily connect with financial opportunities from the Horizon Europe framework, the venture capital programme, and the InnovFin initiative. EuroSpaceHub will bridge the gap between academic institutions and industry using a collaborative mindset and entrepreneurship programmes inside the universities connected through tech transfer offices.
EUROSPACEHUB IS FOUNDED BY VILNIUSTECH, INTERNATIONAL SPACE UNIVERSITY, COMPLUTENSE UNIVERSITY OF MADRID, COLLABWITH, LUNEX FOUNDATIONS AND FUNDED BY THE EIT HEI INITIATIVE LEAD BY EIT MANUFACTURING & EIT RAW MATERIALS.