Up to €500m could be made available to newspace companies in Luxembourg by the end of 2019, a sector insider has said.
Ispace Europe managing director Kyle Acierno told Delano that the finance would come not only from the soon-to-be-launched €100m Luxembourg Space Fund but from “other funds coming to Luxembourg”.
“I’ve talked to a number of different people interested in developing different funds here and I think there could be up to €500m by the end of 2019,” he said on 23 October. “It could really help the eco-system, because direct investment is very different to grants so I think that could be really beneficial for the companies who come here.”
UK-based Seraphim Capital, which was the world’s first venture fund dedicated to financing the growing of commercial space companies when it launched the Seraphim Space Fund in September 2017, could be among them. Managing partner Frédéric Rombaut told Delano on the sidelines of a recent space IP conference that the firm was considering opening fund operations in Luxembourg as well as other locations in order to offer continuity post-Brexit.
He said that the presence of a space eco-system in the grand duchy was an added attraction in that respect. The fund has already invested in one Luxembourg newspace company, earth observation nanosatellite firm Spire.
Space Resources initiative
Funding for commercial space companies was a key pillar of the Space Resources initiative launched by the Luxembourg economy ministry in 2016. Its goal was to develop a new space eco-system which could help Luxembourg contribute to the peaceful exploration and sustainable use of space resources for the benefit of mankind.
After announcing an initial €200m for the project, to be distributed mainly through R&D grants, the newly created Luxembourg Space Agency was expected to launch the Luxembourg Space Fund before the 2018 legislative elections.
This venture capital vehicle with an envelope of around €100m would be used to invest in “early-stage companies” at seed stage or series, according to the agency’s international affairs and space resources director, Dr Mathias Link. He told Delano earlier in the October that the fund is still being negotiated with the management team but the “aim is to launch within the next few months.”