On 18 April, the CNES chose CapDecisif Management to manage a new investment fund dedicated to the space industry and all related applications. After a difficult selection process lasting several months, the CNES showed its faith in CapDecisif by selecting its experienced team of investors known for their strong track record in the Technology and Digital industries and the company’s excellent past performance.
CosmiCapital will be operational in 2019. It will receive €100 million in funding which it will use to invest in space ecosystem startups in Europe, not only in industrial applications (constellations of small satellites, micro-launchers, innovative space systems, etc.) but also in digital applications (all companies using big data and drawing on the immense wealth of space data). The fund will focus on both seed and expansion capital investments with tickets of between €1 million and €10 million for 20 to 25 European startups.
The CNES, which has invested more than €5 million in the fund, will provide technical expertise on file analysis and give the startups in the portfolio premium access to its resources (licenses, technology platforms, laboratories, etc.), global network of clients and partners. NewSpace is taking private entrepreneurs into orbit (the space industry has historically been a government activity accessible only to large groups) thanks to a drastic reduction in costs, driven in particular by the miniaturisation of technologies, new production volumes and resources and new materials.
This booming industry represents a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors. Today’s space industry is a $350 billion market and, according to all the market studies published in 2017 (source: Morgan Stanley and BofA Merrill Lynch), it is expected to exceed $1 trillion over the next 20 years. Investors now see it as a real source of long-term growth, as demonstrated by the record fundraising in NewSpace in 2017, with more than $2.5 billion invested worldwide in private funds (source: Bryce Space and Technology).
The market’s exponential growth is explained in part by growing demand from users for new services using and reprocessing space-derived data. This big data holds huge potential value for companies and ultimately users, and is the market’s underlying source of growth.
The NewSpace dynamic may have been initiated by SpaceX in the United States in the 2000s, but Europe is not left wanting and is still in full development with a booming space ecosystem. France is doing particularly well, as highlighted by the recent fundraising events in September by Exotrail (€3.5m in seed funding from 360 Capital Partners, Irdi Soridec Gestion, BPI France and business angels), which specialises in electric propulsion solutions for small satellites, Unseenlabs (€7.5m in seed funding from Nexeya, Definvest and Breizh Up), a maritime satellite surveillance specialist, and Kayrros (€21m raised in Series B from Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, AtlasInvest, Primat Family Office and Korelya Capital), a company capable of estimating the oil production of the United States in real time by observing the pace of drilling through satellite images, and which is now looking to tackle the renewable energy markets.