May 25, 2023
The investment underpins Europe’s support of the growing commercial NewSpace ecosystem
Alpine Space Ventures invests in the fast-growing satellite market
The EIF`s investment is backed by the EU space CASSINI initiative and InvestEU programme, as well as Germany`s ERP-funds
Fund receives additional investment from SpaceX executives to support NewSpace innovation
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is committing €60 million in equity to Alpine Space Ventures (ASV), a Germany-based venture capital fund focusing on the NewSpace sector. The funding is backed by InvestEU and the CASSINI investing facility of the European Space programme, as well as by the European Recovery Programme (ERP) of the German government.
With this investment, ASV's committed capital surpasses the €100 million mark, bringing the fund closer to its target size of €160 million, which is expected to be achieved later this year.
The term “NewSpace” refers to the private space industry, in contrast to the conventional, mostly government-led space agencies. NewSpace ventures are spanning in areas from private launch to high-speed internet constellations, earth observation satellites and ground or space equipment for space debris tracking. In Europe, the NewSpace sector consists of a growing number of private companies and start-ups that are developing commercial NewSpace technologies.
ASV is quickly emerging as one of the leading NewSpace funds in Europe. The fund focuses on the entire value chain of satellite constellations and Earth observation. To date, ASV has already invested in four companies: small satellite manufacturer Reflex Aerospace, electric propulsion company Morpheus Space, carbon composites expert Blackwave and Source Energy, a provider of integrated energy solutions for space vehicles.
The fund was founded by Bulent Altan and Joram Voelklein. Bulent Altan is the Co-CEO of laser communication company Mynaric and is expected to move to the supervisory board soon (subject to shareholder approval). He has been VP Avionics, Guidance, Navigation Control at SpaceX where he was also the chief engineer for Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation, today operated in 53 countries. Joram Voelklein, a German entrepreneur and tech investor, already played an instrumental role in financing the Munich-based NewSpace company Mynaric from the first funding round to its IPO in 2017.
The European NewSpace ecosystem is gaining momentum. The German small launch provider Isar Aerospace has for instance recently successfully completed a record Series-C funding round of €155 million. Altan and Voelklein were both founding investors of the company and participated in multiple funding rounds before setting up Alpine Space Ventures. Altan also serves as Chairman of the Board of the company.
The technical expertise of the ASV team is a decisive competitive advantage for identifying the most promising NewSpace technologies to invest in. Catriona Chambers, who worked at SpaceX for 16 years and most recently led Starship Avionics there, serves as the Technical Director of the fund, supported by Hans Koenigsmann, former Chief Engineer of Elon Musk and one of the world's most renowned aerospace engineers, as technical advisor. The team is completed by Principal Lynn Zoenen and CFO Christina Kotzur.
With significant investments from the EIF, Primepulse, and various other family offices, Alpine Space Ventures is well positioned to further drive growth and innovation in the NewSpace ecosystem and usher a new era of technological advancement in the space industry. Most recently, ASV also attracted more than 20 SpaceX executives and early employees as Limited Partners. This Limited Partners expansion further strengthens the fund's competitive edge and provides an opportunity for portfolio companies to benefit from additional reach and specialized expertise.
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the Economy, says, “InvestEU is playing a key role across Europe in channelling investment towards research and innovation priorities. This InvestEU agreement will help accelerate the development of new space technology, placing European businesses at the forefront of this rapidly evolving sector. I am delighted that, thanks to this agreement, we will be supporting the new space sector in Europe, which will create jobs and advance cutting-edge technologies.”
Marjut Falkstedt, CEO EIF, says, “Space has become the source of very important technological developments, and its importance will only continue to grow in the next decade. This opens up significant potential for profitable investments and also adds a powerful tool in the arsenal to tackle so many of the problems we are facing, most notably climate change. That’s why, at the EIF, we are proud to support advanced technology investors like Alpine Space Ventures to further boost European capabilities in the NewSpace sector.”
Joram Voelklein, founding partner of Alpine Space Ventures, says, "The commitment of the European Investment Fund to invest 60 million euros in Alpine Space Ventures is a significant milestone for us. This investment not only increases our financial resources, but also demonstrates the confidence that investors and industrial partners have in our team and our innovation capabilities in the NewSpace sector."
Bulent Altan, Founding Partner of Alpine Space Ventures, says, "I am honoured to have more than 20 of my former SpaceX colleagues, who are now either executives in the company or have critical roles in other space companies, invest in our fund as LPs. This demonstrates our strong industry network and technical expertise. It will also help us to accelerate the commercialization of our portfolio companies' solutions and products. Besides this huge trust of my former colleagues, I am also excited by the investment of the EIF, which shows how strong also the European commitment to NewSpace is and we are excited to play a defining role in creating some of its best actors.”
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF contributes to the pursuit of key EU policy objectives such as competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability and more.
The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable economy. It helps generate additional investments in line with EU policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal, the digital transition and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. InvestEU brings all EU financial instruments together under one roof, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The programme consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub, and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners who invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. This guarantee increases their risk-bearing capacity, thus mobilising at least €372 billion in additional investment.
CASSINI: The Commission initiative to support EU start-ups and SMEsdoing business in orbit or on Earth using space-based technologies or data/signals. Launched in 2020, it offers solutions and actions to support entrepreneurs all along their life cycle, from developing new ideas (e.g. CASSINI Hackatons) to finalising minimum viable products (CASSINI Accelerator), to finding clients/partners/investors (CASSINI Matchmaking) to easing access to equity & debt finance for growth (via EIF and commercial banks). All info here.
Alpine Space Ventures (ASV) is a Munich-based VC fund that specializes in investments in NewSpace technologies. Founded by Bulent Altan and Joram Voelklein, the fund supports startups with groundbreaking technologies and disruptive business models in the NewSpace sector. NewSpace technologies generally refer to technologies that are developed for satellite communications, earth observation, or other space-related applications. Alpine Space Ventures focuses on businesses in space-borne connectivity and data covering the entire satellite value chain including cutting-edge innovations in areas such as propulsion, advanced materials, remote sensing payloads such as synthetic aperture radar or radio occultation or data fusion, analytics and insights.
Primepulse is a German family office and investment company founded by Klaus Weinmann, Stefan Kober, Raymond Kober and Stefan Fritz. Primepulse specializes in investing in deep tech businesses and manages assets worth over 1 billion euros. Primepulse takes an active entrepreneurial approach in all its investments and aims to support innovative companies that contribute to a sustainable and livable world.
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