A new revolution in Earth Observation is underway, driven by low cost satellites and drones/UAVs enabling data that will be defining our changing world over the next decade. A new venture fund launched by Seraphim Capital has been established to capitalize on this opportunity.
The Seraphim Space Fund, which has just completed its second close at £70m, has pioneered a unique structure to access expertise and space tech know-how. Alongside the British Business Bank, the fund is backed by a broad range of leading space and data analytics global multinationals such as SES, Airbus, Surrey Satellites, Telespazio, Teledyne, Rolta and First Derivatives. The fund also counts the Satellite Application Catapult and the European Space Agency as partners.
Christophe De Hauwer, Chief Strategy & Development Officer at SES, said “SES is focused on providing reliable and secure satellite solutions to customers in our Video and Networks market segments. We’ve invested in the Seraphim Space Fund and joined the Advisory Board to further enhance our capability to identify and engage with innovative developments along our existing value chains as well as with opportunities adjacent to our core markets.”
Luigi Pasquali, CEO of Telespazio, said “Markets and technologies related to space applications and services are evolving fast and intensely, Seraphim is one of the most important nodes of the network we are building to keep up with this transformation and to manage innovation”.
Nick Appleyard, Head of ESA Business Applications, said “Together with Seraphim we will stimulate the European economy through the space industry. We will support innovators developing ventures that leverage space and provide them with the right resources and network”.
Seraphim’s primary focus is on investing in projects that are commercializing data about the Earth collected from above by either satellite or drone. The proliferation of these airborne platforms is creating vast new datasets, with high resolution and importantly high frequency data, generating new insights into a broad range of areas from smart cities, security and surveillance, intelligent transport and IoT. The fund has already closed investment into two portfolio companies Spire Global and Iceye both nanosat constellations. A third investment in a drone company will be completed by the fund during September.
Seraphim also invests into the broader technology ecosystem that supports the satellite and drone infrastructure from sensors to antennas, system build to launch, downlink to storage, analysis to security, through to applications across a broad range of verticals including construction, logistics, agriculture and finance. In particular the insurance market is a key focus, using insights from airborne data to evaluate risk, monitor assets and assess claims.
Michael Jones, the ex-CTO of Google Maps, Earth and Local, who joined the Seraphim Space Fund as a Managing Partner said “We find ourselves in a privileged position within the space investment market – we are seeing the vast majority of investment opportunities in the sector. By virtue of being a specialist space-tech investor – the only dedicated space focused VC globally, we are benefitting from very strong, global deal flow. This provides us with a panoptic view of all elements of the new space ecosystem, resulting in us having unrivalled insight into the cutting edge sector developments and global network of space-tech contacts. Furthermore, as a thematic specialist we’ve been targeted by many other VC’s asking us to participate in space related transactions they’re working on”
About Seraphim Capital
Seraphim is a London-based venture capital fund manager. Seraphim typically invests at Series A stage into IP-led businesses that have the potential to redefine large existing markets or create entirely new ones. Over the last decade this has included artificial intelligence (computer vision, neural networks, machine learning), the Internet of Things (software, sensors) and advanced materials (polymers, semiconductors). Collectively, the Seraphim team has more than 100 years’ experience, having invested in over 180 early and growth stage businesses.
About the corporate backers and institutions
European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,000 and an annual budget of about €5.25bn. ESA runs various programmes designed to support innovation and start-ups through grant funding.
SES is the world-leading satellite operator and the first to deliver a differentiated and scalable GEO-MEO offering worldwide, with more than 50 satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and 12 in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). SES focuses on value-added, end-to-end solutions in two key business units: SES Video and SES Networks. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, governments and institutions. SES’s portfolio includes ASTRA, O3b and MX1, a leading media service provider that offers a full suite of innovative digital video and media services. SES is listed on the Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange (ticker: SESG). Further information available at: www.ses.com
Airbus Defence and Space, part of Airbus Group, is Europe’s number one defense and space enterprise and the second largest space business worldwide. Its activities include space, military aircraft and related systems and services. ADS has revenues of €11billion. and is listed on various European stock exchanges included as a component in Euro Stoxx. ADS employs 40,000 people operating in 35 countries. Airbus is listed on various European stock exchanges.
Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), is one of Europe’s leaders and one of the world’s main players in satellite solutions and services. Telespazio’s activities range from the design and development of space systems to the management of launch services and in orbit satellite control; from Earth observation services, integrated communication and satellite navigation to scientific programmes. The company employs 2,500 people operating in 8 countries.
Rolta is one of the world’s leading geospatial analytics companies offering end-to-end solutions that infuse geospatial information and intelligence for a broad range of commercial, government and military sectors. Its products cover Cloud, Mobility, IoT, BI and Big Data Analytics in combination with mapping, image processing, spatial data analytics and integration. Rolta is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange employing over 2500 people in multiple locations within 10 countries and has successfully delivered projects in over 45 countries.
First Derivatives is a leading provider of data analytics products and consulting services to some of the world’s largest finance, technology and energy institutions. Its core product is a high-performance database for time-series analytics which its looking to expand into the downstream space market. First Derivatives has revenues of £120m and is listed on LSE’s AIM stock exchange with a market capitalization of c.£700m. The company operates in 5 countries.
Surrey Satellite Technology is the world’s leading small satellite company. The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions. To date they have built and launched 50 satellites for 20 international customers. The company employs 500 people operating in 2 countries. most of them based in its design and build facilities in Surrey and Hampshire.
Schauenburg International is a family owned, strategic Investor focusing on industrial niche technologies internationally. The Group operates from its headquarters in Germany with a portfolio of 25 operational companies covering Electronic technologies, Plastics processing, engineering and industrial solutions. The company employs 1,800 people operating in 14 countries worldwide.
Satellite Applications Catapult is an independently managed organization part financed by Innovate UK. Established in 2013 the Catapult is the center for the development and commercial exploitation of space and satellite-based products, services and applications. The Catapult is based at the Harwell Space Cluster near Oxford, employing over 100 staff.
Aerospace International Research Centre, is a privately owned company based in Austria. AIRC recently launched Asgardia, an international coalition aiming to build a constellation of defense satellites and space debris tracking systems. The group includes a publishing business which produces a quarterly international space journal called Room.
Newable is a company limited by guarantee whose members are the London Boroughs and the City of London Corporation. Newable helps companies start, scale and internationalise. They are the UK’s leading Responsible Finance provider working with the British Business Bank. Newable helps entrepreneurs commercialise their innovation working in collaboration with Innovate UK and EEN. As a lead delivery partner for Department for International Trade, Newable helps businesses grow export sales.
Dentons is the world’s largest law firm measured by number of lawyers, and sixth-largest measured by 2016 revenues. Dentons has global experience in the space and defence sectors, offering legal services on all aspects of business encountered in these sectors. Dentons has more than 136 offices across 50-plus countries. The firm is decentralised and has no headquarters, although the firm’s senior leadership are primarily based in Beijing, London and Washington.
About The British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
The British Business Bank is currently supporting over 51,000 businesses, working through its 90 finance partners. Its programmes support over £3.2bn of finance to UK smaller businesses and participate in a further £4.6bn of finance to UK small mid-cap businesses.
As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options, including equity finance, available to smaller businesses. It has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). This guide impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb or download/print a copy.
British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH.
As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.
British Business Finance Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, registered in England and Wales, registration number 09091928, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH. It is not authorised or regulated by the PRA or FCA.
British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.
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