Space permeates our everyday lives: its technologies, its research, its advances, its infinite possibilities. Data collected in space is the key to taking care of our planet, so we can be more connected, efficient, digitalised and green than ever before. With the space industry projected to grow in the next decades, the European Investment Bank Group (EIBG), together with its partners, is here to empower the space industry and empower the private space sector.
New opportunity on Europe’s doorstep
We are on the precipice of a new chapter in space history – New Space. The International Space Station (ISS) will be decommissioned in 2030, giving a unique opportunity especially for European companies to capture the future-focussed market segment, and commercialise more than ever before. Moreover, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) market will be particularly significant – as it emerges from under the wing of public agencies like NASA and ESA and will be rife with commercial activity, collaboration and opportunity.
Europe’s investment funds are crucial
The market potential of this new era of space-related solutions is being increasingly recognised by the investment world. As with any tech sector, investment funds play a critical role in developing the space market. Importantly, the application of space technology is so much broader – it’s not just about satellites, launchers and rockets – but it’s about how space tech and data can be applied or expanded to many other sectors of the economy.
There is a wealth of opportunities for teams, whether specifically tech or space focussed, to generalist teams wanting to dip their toes in the space sector. On the investee company side, we are seeing increasingly that this draws attention from both ends of this spectrum. And the reason is simple: not only do the financials make sense (as these companies can generate strong returns) but the commercialisation makes sense too. Tech may start with space but the impact in the economy and European lives is much broader.
In fact, space entrepreneurs have their choice of investors when it comes to money on the table. But what makes a difference is the breadth and wealth of experience of these teams: strategic advice, operational experience, networks & connections, experience with expansion and growth strategy.
Investing in space does not come without its challenges, high upfront investment costs and long capital cycles – not to mention a volatile economic climate – to name a few. Yet on balance the commercial opportunity that currently presents itself makes for a very strong case for investment managers.
Latitude59 x European Investment Bank Group
Participating at Latitude59 is crucial for the EIBG and its partners. The Group has a role to play, in collaboration with ESA, the European Commission and EUSPA, to support and advise teams, to raise awareness, to host matchmaking events and opportunities, to invest and hence attract others to the sector, to share knowhow and market intelligence, and to democratise the investment space.
Today, the EIBG has the driving force that is the InvestEU programme, catalysed further by the CASSINI top-up funding (total €600M). And with all this, the Group is looking at over €1.2bn in space financing to hit the market. In addition, the Cassini Space Entrepreneurship Initiative will help build a conducive ecosystem for the funding to be absorbed. More specifically, the Cassini initiative will foster matchmaking between stakeholders and help start-ups in their development journey.
In this future, we can imagine space transitioning from an investment sector to an investment strategy, teams willing to take on the challenges, and reap the rewards, and space companies who are given strong support and guidance in not only growing their business but tapping into big clients and anchor contracts (precisely through agencies such as ESA and EUSPA) to drive their ventures to new heights.
Join the EIBG’s side event at Latitude59 2023
‘Backing the stars of Europe – Investor Workshop X CASSINI Matchmaking’ is a Latitude59 side-event, taking place on May 25, that will tackle the above points and will gather the European space ecosystem to discuss the new market trends and investment opportunities. The event is jointly organised by EIF, EIB, EC, ESA, EUSPA and the CASSINI Matchmaking programme to promote investments in EU space start-up and SMEs. For more information: 2023 event – Investing in EU Space.