I was privileged to moderate the panel on investment during the NewSpace Europe conference last November. 4 panelists
- Shiva Dustdar from the European Investment Bank,
- Carla Filotico from SpaceTec,
- Ken Pentimonti from Paladin Capital and
- Bogdan Gogulan from NewSpace Capital
Some of the discussed topics:
- Why has NewSpace become interesting?
- Is it “DeepTech” (i.e. high
capexintensity &l long lead times) and/or Digital?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the European NewSpace?
- How to manage the level of risk of hardware development from an investor standpoint?
- NewSpace has not seen a lot of successful exits from the investment community. How to explain that?
- How to get mainstream funds to be comfortable with NewSpace, that has high barriers
ofentry (technology, regulations)
- How to foster the cooperations between the incumbents players and the NewSpace?
It has been an intense 60mn, and we honestly did not have enough time to properly address all the topics.
A key conclusion is that NewSpace has reached a third maturation phase
- The first phase was the initial enthusiasm for its technological and operational capabilities. Basically, we thought NewSpace would be a success because
cubesatswere operational, launched by reusable rockets
- The second phase has been the acknowledgment that market traction was not a given, even with revolutionary features. Hence the recent partnerships between leading NewSpace players and established players, to secure market access (e.g. Planet and Airbus).
- The third phase is emerging. It is the realization that financing is a complete part of a NewSpace project. It requires the ability to operate with a specific ecosystem, such as private VCs, institutional financial players (EIB, BPI), corporates, space agencies, lenders or stock markets. Clearly, a challenge on its own.
A needed next-step
This panel has been useful to start exchanging on the good practices on NewSpace financing.
Given the large investment requirements of NewSpace, I am convinced of the relevance of a venue for the various stakeholders to meet, identify specific financing needs and raise awareness of funding instruments.