Startup Funding Club (SFC) has invested in Blue Skies Space Ltd, a pioneering UK company providing access to space science data from low-cost space missions.
Blue Skies Space is taking a private-sector approach to a traditionally government-driven area and will provide a commercial service worldwide. The deal marks the 100th investment made by a fund operated by SFC since the launch of the organisation’s first Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme Fund in 2014.
The round of £570,000 has been co-invested by the SFC Angel Fund and the tech-focused London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF) as well as a group of Angel Investors. LCIF, which is delivered by Funding London was established by the London Economic Action plan Partnership, which contributed £25m to the Fund, and is supported by the Mayor of London. The funding will enable the space technology company to expand its team and start the process of contracting suppliers for its first mission, Twinkle, which will provide data on planets orbiting distant stars and asteroids – among the fastest-growing fields of research world-wide.
The raise was sparked by interest from the European Space Agency (ESA) and UK Space Agency (UKSA) in exploring the commercial potential for astronomy and astrophysics missions. The success of the funding round, which resulted in more than double the initial investment target, has enabled Blue Skies Space Ltd to apply for additional ESA funding.
Joseph Zipfel, Investment Manager at SFC, said: “We are very pleased to achieve this important milestone by investing in such an exciting venture as Blue Skies Space Ltd. In many ways, this investment is a great illustration of the progress we’ve made since we started and we are looking forward to continuing to support great British startups.”
Dr Graham Turnock, CEO of UK Space Agency, said: “The UK Space Agency works with industry to help ensure Britain thrives in the commercial space age, as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Blue Skies Space Ltd has shown that space science missions like Twinkle can attract venture capital, creating new opportunities for researchers and investors alike.”
Marcell Tessenyi, CEO of Blue Skies Space Ltd, said, “It is an exciting time for the commercial ‘NewSpace’ sector, which looks to disrupt and transform the global space industry. Blue Skies Space Ltd will be the first commercial supplier of data from space science missions to researchers around the globe. This fundraising success demonstrates the strength of our business case.”
Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO of Funding London and co-founder of LCIF, said: “The ultimate objective of LCIF is to empower London’s start-ups to grow into the tech giants of the future. Our investment into ‘Blue Skies Space’ is further proof of London’s innovation led Tech ecosystem. Our investments add value, as London Start-up’s community continues to revolutionise Industries through technology.”
Former Science Minister and Chair of the UK innovation & Science Seed Fund Ian Taylor says: “The Blue Skies Space model has transformative potential for space science research. By combining elements of publicly-funded model for astronomy and astrophysics missions with a ‘NewSpace’ commercial approach, the team are creating fresh opportunities for cutting-edge science. This provides UK scientists with a much-needed innovative satellite research platform which is attracting collaboration from colleagues around the world.”