ESPI publishes its annual report on the private investment in the European and global space sector

ESPI publishes its annual report on the private investment in the European and global space sector [May/2024]

The European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) published its annual Space Venture Europe report, addressing trends of entrepreneurship and private investment in Europe for 2023.

In this report, ESPI estimates that Europe is currently experiencing its best investment cycle to date, with the last two years (2022 and 2023) accounting for more than half of all investment since 2014. But, at the same time, 2023 saw a year-on year decline of €68 million (-7%) in total investment, with a downward trend in the level of deals, that were back to pre-2021 levels.

Raising €155 million, Isar Aerospace secured the highest investment round out of the European companies in 2023 with a round that included private and public actors. Second deal was the Italian space logistics and transportation startup D-Orbit, with €100 million raised in its Series C round. The top five deals in Europe in 2023 account for the 43% in value of the total investment, while comprising only the 6% of the volume of deals.

Questions over the evolution of this new phase are raised in the report, as well as how public funding support initiatives will be crucial to help Europe’s ambition of becoming an innovation powerhouse.

At the global level, the sector experienced a 32% decline in total investment in 2023, going back to a one-digit level (6 billion euros). While Venture Capital remains the most common form of investment worldwide (71%), although its absolute value is at the lowest level since 2021 (in 2023 only €3.8B was raised), debt financing interestingly saw a 53% year-on-year increase, hitting a high of €387 million. Debt has been increasingly more important in the fundraising strategy of NewSpace companies, increasing its share of the total investment from 0.4% in 2019 to 7% in 2023.

The report also provides a special expanded focus on China and Africa, to capture the funding dynamics across different continents.

The document also presents the recent dynamics of the significant geopolitical and macroeconomic changes, such as “slowbalisation” and the end of the “low-interest rate era”, which have affected investors’ confidence, generally becoming more cautious especially in high-tech industries.

To learn more and access the ESPI’s full report, please click here (please log-in to access the document).

To learn more about ESPI's activities and reports, please click here.

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