“Why We’re Doubling Down on Isar Aerospace
Insights from Europe’s biggest-ever venture capital financed SpaceTech funding round
ne year ago, we announced our investment into Isar Aerospace. Today, we are happy to share that we have co-led the Series B round jointly with Lakestar and VSquared. This is remarkable not only because it is the largest European venture capital financed SpaceTech round in history with $91m, but also because it indicates a further validation of the rise of a new European category.
As the industry moves from larger, single satellites to constellations of smaller satellites, the market for rocket launches is expected to grow. According to Fortune Business Insights’, Global Space Launch Services Market, that growth might be as much as 30 billion euros by 2027. This is due to numerous applications for small- and medium-sized satellites and satellite constellations – ranging from nationwide high-speed internet coverage and autonomous driving to smart farming and beyond. We are bringing our Earth-bound computation infrastructure to low Earth orbit (LEO), which will deliver and allow unparalleled insights about climate change, navigation systems for mobility applications, or asset tracking in supply chains.
At Earlybird, we believe that in the next decade, micro-satellites in LEO will become a central platform technology with enormous innovation and business potential. Isar Aerospace is the underlying base technology for this platform.
In our early conversations with the Isar Aerospace founders, despite them not having yet reached their first commercial launch planned for Q4/2021, we could together envision their full platform strategy. We noted the relevance and market opportunity. We saw that the strategic importance of launch vehicles was not bound to LEO, and that the ambition of this team goes beyond: Isar’s first launch vehicle “Spectrum” provides access to space and unlocks further platform verticals, such as manned Moon missions, building resource-mining infrastructure on the Moon and Mars, as well as human spaceflights.
The founders and the team combine determination and an unconventional way of thinking. They are passionate engineers from the Technical University of Munich who don’t shy away from big challenges. Growing the team from 25 to over 100 employees in the past year, the co-founders hired the best talents from institutions such as the European Space Agency, SpaceX, Airbus, Uber and Apple. Scaling the team to more than three times its size, demonstrated the founders’ talent, endurance, and great leadership skills that we observed since our first investment. By infusing expertise from related industries — like automotive and robotics into aerospace– they applied material and physics knowledge and adopted a learning-on-the-go approach.
Isar Aerospace has achieved many critical milestones within the last year, which truly makes us proud and has substantiated our investment thesis. Despite the challenges arising through the global COVID-19 pandemic, the team made great progress on building the testing rig in Sweden, inaugurating their 4k sqm production facilities in Ottobrunn, Germany and growing a diverse team from around 30 nations, while maintaining their practical and family-like culture.
While working with Isar Aerospace over the last year, the team’s pragmatic way of re-thinking space has been visible in all of the team’s actions and achievements. Daniel, Josef and Markus have truly developed into visionaries with great leadership skills. Daniel was just recognized as the youngest recipient in a 40under40 award here in Germany. Next to their natural curiosity and hands-on attitude that it takes to build a company with this vision, the founders showed courage and perseverance over the past year. Even when things looked challenging, they kept their forward-looking and strategic way of thinking, progressing in an aggressive and time-efficient manner.
We are super proud to back the next category leader of European space launch systems.
Everyone, get ready to see the next European rockets take off!”
Further Information: https://medium.com/birds-view
Image: Founders Isar Aerospace (c) Isar Aerospace