With backers including family offices, the world’s largest ever space sector venture fund has been launched.
London-based Seraphim Capital has launched a fund focusing on early-stage space-related technology businesses, targeting a final close of £80 million ($99 million) over the next two quarters.
The Seraphim Space Fund is backed by a £30 million investment from the British Business Bank alongside “smart capital” from international space companies, family offices and individual investors.
It will invest in commercial applications in both software and hardware opportunities, as well as in technologies that have potential space applications such as artificial intelligence, robotics and nanomaterials. The fund will focus on companies that use digital data from satellites, which Seraphim says is already delivering commercial advantages and social innovations ranging from intelligent transport and smart cities through to sectors such as insurance, maritime, agriculture or oil and gas.
Through its partnership with the European Space Agency, Seraphim will have access to relevant space infrastructures, as well as companies with hundreds of downstream application projects and companies in ESA’s 16 pan-European business incubators.
“As satellites get smaller, smarter and less expensive to launch, our reliance on them is growing exponentially. Many of the emerging new technologies that are moulding the future – from drones and autonomous vehicles to the Internet of Things – are ultimately underpinned by digital data from satellites,” said Mark Boggett, Seraphim Capital’s chief executive.
“The average person in the UK interacts with a satellite 30 times per day. Within five years we see that figure reaching 300 and by the end of the decade 3,000. Just as low cost personal computing in the 1990s and the internet in the 2000s acted as a catalyst for waves of new technology innovations, the evidence is that low cost access to space will come to define the decade ahead.”
Michael Jones, the founder of Google Earth, is managing partner of the fund, with responsibility for ensuring its reach into Silicon Valley. The fund has reached a £50 million first close.