The Current Space Economy Landscape

General Industry Trends
June 26, 2019
Author
Chad Anderson
June 26, 2019
Author
Chad Anderson

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The Current Space Economy Landscape
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The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

The modern space economy is built upon 60 years of technology development funded largely by the government. Today, business model innovation is putting that technology into the hands of entrepreneurs, stimulating competition, and creating a dynamic marketplace. 

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 until 2009, there were just two dozen privately funded commercial space companies globally. Everything changed July 2009, when SpaceX successfully put its first customer in orbit. They launched a 50kg Earth observation satellite for Malaysia aboard a privately developed rocket. With transparent pricing and lower launch costs, SpaceX has undoubtedly increased access to the space economy for new entrants. Since that launch, the number of privately funded space companies has grown to 435+ with over $20 billion of private capital invested. This period, from 2009 to the present, is what we like to call the Entrepreneurial Space Age.

Space Angels was founded in 2007 and has been a part of this epic journey since the beginning. We’ve played an active role in this incredible growth, investing in everything from Earth Observation satellites to lunar transportation. But space is much more than just rockets and satellites. In order to make sense of this new space age, we must first get a handle on the market dynamics. That is why, leveraging 10 years of investment experience in the space economy, Space Angels has developed a comprehensive market segmentation, based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap.

Market segmentation

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the space economy, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of this nascent market. We published our first market segmentation back in 2007 when our organization was founded. This early framework helped us get our arms around the nascent opportunity and develop an initial investment thesis. As the space economy has grown and evolved, we’ve continued to update our view of the market and published periodic updates in 2015 and in 2017. Our latest update, shown in the table below,  is based on an assessment of the current landscape of space business activity and informed by the NASA Technology Roadmap. 

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.


A powerful framework

Collectively, these industries and sectors constitute the space economy. This segmentation is viewed through a commercial lens, includes existing and future markets, and is summarized in a way that is practical for understanding investment trends and startup activity. 

Space Angels maintains a robust database of all non-government equity investments in the space economy. With this framework, we are able to identify the nuance within the $20 billion of equity investment. For example, we are able to see that since 2009, $10.6B has been invested into 271 Satellite companies and $8.8B has been invested into 79 Launch companies. Additionally, $515M has been invested into 13 Biosphere companies and $149M has been invested into Logistics companies.

Space Angels. “Space Investment Quarterly Q1 2019.” https://www.spaceangels.com/. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

This is a great look back, but it is also helpful when looking for leading indicators. In a recent report, commissioned by NASA, Space Angels showed that from 2000-2018, $7.2B of government funding went to 67 entrepreneurial space companies. However, a full 93% of that went to Launch companies. By removing Launch, a smaller and more dynamic sample of approximately $400M in public funding is uncovered. This narrower sample shows that the Satellite industry was the earliest and largest recipient of public funding after Launch, beginning in 2002. The Industrials industry has rapidly grown and accounted for 28% of public funding in 2018, consistent with NASA and DARPA stated interest in developing on-orbit manufacturing among other capabilities. The most recent industry to show an increase in public funding is Interplanetary, which accounted for 20% in 2018, again in-line with the NSpC’s Space Policy Directive-1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, which has emerged as NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program.

Space Angels. “US Government Support of the Entrepreneurial Space Age.” NASA SBIR/STTR Publications. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

With this information, we are also better equipped to understand the developing sectors within each industry and are able to dive deeper into each. The satellite value chain is specializing as the entrepreneurial space economy matures. For example, when we first met SkyWatch (a Space Angels portfolio company), we were able to identify the unique node in the satellite value chain and how they were the missing link in the satellite value chain.

Space Angels diligence.


Venture capital investment in space

Venture capital investment in Space is now a generally accepted investment theme, so to better understand these dynamics, we created a special VC infographic in our year-end Q4 2018 Space Investment Quarterly. It is important to note that our definition of VC excludes corporate venture funds and fund-of-funds making direct investments. Based on this definition, our research shows that between 2009-2018, venture capital funds invested $4.2B into space companies, with 70% of that capital deployed in just the last three years. In 2018 alone, 114 VC funds made their first space investment, bringing the total number of VCs with a Space investment to 534. 

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

Applying this framework we can see that VCs have focused primarily on the Satellites and Launch industries, consistent with the overall flow of capital into the space economy. However, venture funds appear more overweight in Satellites. Since 2009, investment into the Satellites industry represents 57% of total capital deployed by VCs, compared to 46% of total capital deployed by all investor types.

Since 2009, VC firms have participated in 455 investment rounds; 114 (25%) occurred in 2018 alone. Of the total, 355 (74%) rounds were in the Satellites industry, of which 180 rounds (54%) were in the Earth Observation sector, with the other 175 (46%) split amongst Manufacturing & Components, Operations & Ground Segment, Communications, and Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (PNT). The Launch industry accounted for 72 rounds (16%) of total VC investment, with 60 rounds (83%) going to the Small Launch sector. Just 48 investment rounds (11%) went to emerging industries like Industrials, Logistics, and Planetary Markets.

Space Angels. Space Investment Quarterly Q4 2018

A look into the future

The growth of the space economy shows no signs of slowing. If the first quarter is any indication, 2019 is going to be another massive year for the Space economy in terms of financial and technical milestones. As investors at the forefront of this developing economy, we will continue to push out into these new markets. As the market develops, we will be consistently updating our view to reflect the current state of the industry. 

Most importantly, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of every new development opportunity. We continually invest in new and exciting companies utilizing Space to bring the future into the present. If you are working on building a space company or spending time in the ecosystem, make sure to get in touch.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR MORE SPACE?

There is serious financial upside to space investing, and commercial space is inspiring a new generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. Your investment will be instrumental in making this happen. The fact is that space angels are investing in innovative ventures that will help launch humanity’s storyline off-planet.

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