Space Forge is developing fully returnable satellites that are designed for manufacturing next generation super materials in-space
Space Forge has closed Europe’s largest ever seed round for a space tech company; raising $10.2 million. The oversubscribed round, reached four times the original target with investment from across the globe led by Berlin’s climate-focused World Fund, Los Angeles-based Type One Ventures and Houston-based Space Fund.
Space Forge’s aim is to advance the expansion of the microgravity market for premium research and development applications by lowering the barriers to entry. Dedicated in-space manufacturing, coupled with reliable return, enables Space Forge to leverage the benefits of the space environment, namely: microgravity, vacuum, and temperature, to create products impossible to manufacture on Earth. Its focus is on producing materials and products which offer game-changing levels of performance and efficiency in power-hungry infrastructure and systems - reducing the environmental impact of production on earth to unlock new value and innovation. Research suggests that manufacturing these materials in space could reduce CO2 emission by 75% - the equivalent to removing cars from all UK roads on a yearly basis.
Space Forge recently announced that, along with partners, it is developing a world-first service incorporating both launch and return of a new small class of vehicle - the ForgeStar - that can be deployed from conventional launchers to provide rapid, reliable and reusable in-space infrastructure. This returnable service, which will enable microgravity research on demand, has been awarded a $2.4m contract through the European Space Agency’s Boost! Programme, supported by the UK Space Agency.
Highlighting the appetite for investment in space for good - technology that harnesses the power of space to improve life on earth - Space Forge’s record-breaking seed funding is from forward-thinking portfolio holders who recognise the potential in Space Forge’s returnable, and relaunchable in-space manufacturing satellite platform and the ability it offers to manufacture next generation super materials that cannot be made on earth.
The round was co-led by SpaceFund and Type One, who champion innovation in space and cutting-edge technology, and World Fund, a new European fund which backs companies pioneering climate tech.
Other US-based funds, including SpaceVC, Starbridge Venture Capital, Quiet Capital, Kencoa Aerospace, Trousdale Ventures, Dylan Taylor, and FJ Labs participated in the round. They were joined by Newable Ventures - the UK's leading early-stage investment network which works with disruptive, potentially high-growth companies and Virgin Galactic’s George T. Whitesides.
Space Forge will use the funding to take the next steps in its journey towards the first launch and return of a ForgeStar. One of the more unique aspects of the company’s business model is the ability to not only manufacture materials in space, but the complementary and much needed capability to return those materials from orbit without the use of an ablative capsule - significantly improving the characteristics of return from space and aiding refurbishment.
Andrew Bacon, CTO and co-founder of Space Forge: “We started this raise with the goal of £2m to progress our technology to its first space flight. To be backed by investors from across the globe is an incredible validation of what we are trying to achieve. It's brilliant to see their recognition of the positive impact in-space manufacturing can have on our environment through carbon reduction and how our tech can enable real change.”
Joshua Western, CEO and co-founder of Space Forge: “Making space work for humanity and our planet has always been our goal and this investment enables us to build our first generation platforms and undertake several missions in pursuit of that goal. We're just getting started.”
Science Minister George Freeman: “This major seed investment of $10.2 million in Welsh start-up Space Forge is a massive vote of confidence in the fast-growing UK space sector - now worth over £16 billion.
“Space is a key priority sector for the Government, as set out in our National Space Strategy. With the first satellite launches from the UK on track for next year and the growth of exciting space tech companies like Space Forge, we are fast becoming a global hub for investment and innovation in the space economy.”
Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency: “I’ve visited Space Forge in Cardiff and was impressed by the raw energy, creativity and innovation on show there. Clearly international investors are also impressed, with the investment round four times oversubscribed and millions of pounds secured to support the company on the next steps of its journey.
“Space Forge are demonstrating why the UK is the place to invest in space, and showing the significant commercial opportunities from technologies like in-orbit manufacturing.”
Tarek Waked, Founder of Type One Ventures: “Joshua and Andrew prove that there is real value that can be brought to humanity via building a space company. If you have the will, capacity, and the idea, anyone can build a space company in the 2020s, not just billionaires. I could not be more proud of the team at Space Forge and look forward to working with them for a very long time.”
Meagan Crawford, Managing Partner of SpaceFund: “SpaceFund is always looking for the companies that not only have the vision, but have the technical and market capabilities to execute on that vision. Unlike many of the other in-space manufacturing companies we’ve reviewed, Space Forge has the right combination of technology, team, and market timing to provide significant return to investors, while helping save the environment.”
Danijel Višević, General partner, World Fund said: “As the global semiconductor crisis has shown us, manufacturing these advanced materials is extremely hard and carbon-intensive but these tiny components are essential to modern life. But simply no one else has tried to find a solution to this because it is an extremely complex problem. Andrew, Josh and the Space Forge team have a unique approach to solve this problem using the untapped potential of space. It’s this innovative thinking that is essential if we are to fight the climate crisis and reduce global emissions.”
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Wales has a track record of delivering high value manufacturing and innovation which puts a vibrant cluster of space industry leaders operating here in a prime position to flourish in this growing sector.
“Space Forge is a shining example of the sort of innovative, agile and sustainable company we are committed to supporting. I congratulate them on this record-breaking funding round.”
Space Forge Ltd is a UK start-up on a mission to lead the clean industrial revolution by harnessing space. The company is developing fully returnable satellites that are designed for manufacturing next generation super materials in-space. In creating a reliable return, Space Forge will advance the expansion of the microgravity market for premium research and development applications by lowering the barriers to entry. The company is focused on R&D initiatives where dedicated return from the space environment can add a significant benefit, or overcome obstacles found terrestrially, to unlock new value and innovation.
World Fund is the leading Europe-focused climate venture capital fund established by Daria Saharova, Danijel Višević, Craig Douglas, and Tim Schumacher. From energy, food, agriculture, and land use, to building materials, manufacturing and transport, World Fund is investing in European tech with significant climate performance potential (CPP). The investment team comprises engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, early and growth stage investors. World Fund is backing those entrepreneurs who are building tech for a regenerative world.
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