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Europe Beats the US in Space Investment, Report Claims

After a low investment period in the latter half of 2022, the Seraphim Space report suggests a potential upturn for space investment this year.

The space sector has seen a bounce back in investment for 2023, while European start-ups have beaten their US counterparts in investment for the first time, according to a new report.

The latest index by space tech investor Seraphim Space claims private investment in the global space domain reached $1.4bn in the first quarter of 2023. This marks an increase of nearly 75pc from a low private investment period at the end of 2022.

European investment in particular saw a strong quarter according to the report, investing roughly $565m for the first quarter, while the US invested around $456m.

Europe also had a high number of deals in the first quarter, though the average size of deals are down “across the board” for Europe, the US and Asia.

Despite this upturn, the report shows that investment in the first quarter of 2023 is much lower than the first or second quarters of 2022. The report also highlights the decline the global space sector saw in investment last year.

Looking at the trailing twelve months, the Seraphim report shows investment declined across “nearly all space industry subsectors”, with the most capital-intensive subsectors experiencing the largest drops.

These sectors were beyond earth, build, launch and downlink. The report said this “aligns with expectations” as these subsectors saw “large mega-rounds” between the second half of 2021 and the start of 2022.

The only subsector that saw investment growth in the trailing twelve months was products, which saw a 32pc increase. The report attributed this growth to several major funding rounds for climate-focused platforms.

Seraphim Space CEO Mark Boggett said the start of 2023 represents a “solid quarter” compared to the lows recorded in 2022.

“We are especially encouraged by the record-breaking activity in the European private investment market,” Boggett said. “Looking ahead, with a recovery in US investment levels and with the potential of upcoming mega space deals, we could see the total investment levels exceeding 2022.

“Given the positive tailwinds within both the defence and climate-related markets, the space domain has the potential to continue on the trajectory set in this first quarter.”

Last November, Ireland announced a €125m commitment to the European Space Agency over the next five years. The investment is expected to further support the expansion of Ireland’s growing space industry.

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