09 Dec, 2020

Isar Aerospace raises over USD 90m in Europe’s largest SpaceTech funding round

  • The USD 91m (EUR 75m) Series B is the biggest ever round in the European SpaceTech sector, securing the first launch of a German launch vehicle

  • Funding round is composed of leading European investors, led by Lakestar, with a substantial participation from existing investors Earlybird and Vsquared Ventures

  • First European space company able to transport satellite constellations into the Earth’s orbit on internationally competitive terms

  • Customer inquiries already amount to more than half a billion USD

Munich, 9 December 2020 – Isar Aerospace takes a major hurdle to provide the technical infrastructure to explore the potential of space for humanity: the company raises USD 91m (EUR 75m) from existing and new investors, securing the largest Series B funding round in the European SpaceTech sector. The round is led by leading European venture capital firm Lakestar and joined by the substantial participation of Earlybird and Vsquared Ventures. Strong support is also coming from existing investors including Airbus Ventures, former SpaceX Vice President Bulent Altan, Christian Angermayer's Apeiron, and UVC. New investors HV Capital as well as Ann-Kristin and Paul Achleitner are also joining the round. In total, the financing volume increases to more than USD 100m.

“We are very happy about the great interest and trust our new and existing investors are placing in us. Now we are completely financed until the maiden flight of our launch vehicle and can fully concentrate on the final development steps and upcoming tests. In other words, there’s nothing standing in the way of the first successful launch of a German launch vehicle into Earth’s orbit“, says Daniel Metzler, CEO of Isar Aerospace. “All over the world, satellite manufacturers, telecommunications companies, car manufacturers or even governmental organisations and research institutes need access to space. The bottleneck is launch capacity, which is often still too expensive and inflexible. We will offer a solution to this problem as we provide a direct connection where customers can book their satellite tickets at any time with maximum flexibility and cost-efficiency.“

The European answer to space

Isar Aerospace is the only privately-financed European space company that has developed its launch vehicles with a payload of over 1,000 kilograms including their propulsion systems in-house from scratch. The founders use a pragmatic engineering approach, a highly automated manufacturing and a simple design, to reduce the cost of each rocket launch drastically. Moreover, the founders place high importance on the fact that the entire value creation is carried out within the European Union. The funding, amounting to more than USD 100m stems almost exclusively from European investors.

With Isar Aerospace, Europe now has the necessary powers, resources, and technological advantage to be competitive and pioneering in space technology. It enables European space tech to actively enforce its own values and legal concepts against others operating in this field.

“We are the first European company that is able to transport satellite constellations into Earth’s orbit on internationally competitive conditions. Using various launchpads around the globe, we will also be able to reach different Earth’s orbits. This sparks interest from numerous non-European customers as well“, says Josef Fleischmann, COO of Isar Aerospace.

Stephen Nundy, Investment partner at Lakestar, adds: “Isar Aerospace presents an opportunity for Europe to regain strong control of our own destiny when it comes to cost-effective and secure launch operations for satellite constellations. Daniel, Josef, and the entire team at Isar have demonstrated how using additive engineering techniques as well as owning the full software stack can increase the speed of iterative development and hence reduce the costs for operating these vehicles. Maintaining our “Technical Sovereignty” of key aspects of the space ecosystem is critical for our own security, and also to the rapid expansion of improvements to society this technology can bring. We are incredibly proud and excited to be part of this next chapter of growth and will follow the journey closely with Lakestar founder Klaus Hommels becoming Isar Aerospace advisory board member.”

First prototype already in production

Isar Aerospace is on track to meet its timetable for the development of its launch vehicle. After two years of research and development, 2020 was particularly decisive for the company: The start-up began the production of its first prototype, grew to over 120 employees from across 30 nations and signed an agreement with the French space agency CNES (Centre national d'études spatiales) to prepare the launch of its orbital launch vehicles from the CSG (Centre Spatial Guyanais) in French Guiana. Now, the financing is secured until the launch of the first rocket. In 2021, internal production and testing capacities will be increased. To this end, Isar Aerospace will expand its team at its Munich space tech hub and Swedish sites in Kiruna.

Technological leadership will be determined in space

Largescale missions to the moon and Mars are only one part of the space sector, which will grow to a volume of one trillion US dollars by 2040. The space launch services market is particularly important for technological progress worldwide and digital sovereignty in Europe and it is expected to grow to over 30 billion euros by 2027. Global market leadership positions for high-speed internet, autonomous driving, industrial connectivity, data encryption and storage, or smart farming will be determined in space. The necessary parameters for the fight against global climate change, forest fires or natural disasters are already largely provided by satellites today.

About Lakestar

Lakestar is one of Europe's leading venture capital firms investing in technology companies led by exceptional entrepreneurs. The team’s early investments included Skype, Spotify, Facebook and airbnb. Since raising a first fund in 2013, Lakestar manages an aggregated volume of over EUR 1bn across three early stage funds, and more recently a growth fund. The company has expanded and broadened its portfolio and holds investments in the likes of Opendoor, Oscar, GYG, Glovo, Sennder, Eigen, FiveAI, Revolut and Hometogo to name a few. Lakestar has presence in Berlin, Zurich and London. Lakestar helps companies to identify new markets and expand into them rapidly, with a focus on the US and Europe. The team advises and supports portfolio companies in business development, recruitment, technology and marketing. The investments range from early stage companies to those in their growth stage.

Visit us on LinkedIn and our website www.lakestar.com

About Isar Aerospace

Isar Aerospace, based in Ottobrunn/Munich, develops and builds launch vehicles for transporting small and medium-sized satellites as well as satellite constellations into Earth’s orbit. The company was founded in 2018 by Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann and Markus Brandl. Since then, it has grown to more than 120 employees from around 30 nations with many years of hands-on rocket knowhow as well as experience at Intel, Apple, Panasonic, Airbus and SpaceX. The company is privately financed by Ann-Kristin and Paul Achleitner, Airbus Ventures, Andreas Kupke, Apeiron, Bulent Altan, Earlybird Venture Capital, HV Capital, Lakestar, UVC, Vito Ventures and Vsquared Ventures.

Find more information under: https://www.isaraerospace.com/

Press contact

Tina Schmitt

E tina.schmitt@isaraerospace.com

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