The French national space agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and CapDecisif Management, has created a venture fund called CosmiCapital to help create a European New Space ecosystem.
The CosmiCapital fund, launched by the CNES in May 2018 and managed by CapDecisif Management, aims to raise €100 million (U.S.$115 million) to invest in European startups and to start operations in Q2 2019. Through this fund, ESA, CNES, and CapDecisif Management will give some of the most promising European space-powered companies the chance to gain improved access to venture capital.
“The market for space enabled start-ups is extremely promising. Several leading market studies show that the global space economy is expected to grow 3 to 8 fold in the next 20 years,” said Olivier Dubuisson, Managing Partner at CapDecisif Management. “ESA and CNES provide unparalleled access to the space ecosystem for innovative space-related projects across Europe.”
CNES believes that creating this fund reflects a growing priority for many ESA Member States: the creation of partnerships between industry, government, and academia. These partnerships are key to engaging the fast-growing ecosystem of NewSpace companies, which focus on rapid innovation, new business models and new applications of space technologies.
This growing priority has led to an agreement between ESA and CosmiCapital to link companies that are involved in the ESA Business Applications programme with new sources of finance.
“If France is a strategic place to start a space venture fund, this new partnership is a first step for CosmiCapital European expansion that CNES is supporting,” said Antoine Seillan, CNES’s Director of Finance. ”With a privileged access to the best space start-ups across Europe and the technical and financial backing of best-in-class partners, CosmiCapital will be the best venture capital partner of the European New Space ecosystem.”
ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, Magali Vaissiere, added another perspective. “Increasingly we see the development of a virtuous circle, where companies that partner with ESA increase their attractiveness to private investors. In this way, we leverage public funding to enable an increase in overall European R&D investment.”
“Our commercially oriented applications projects now typically attract equal investment from ESA, industry and private third party investors: and we anticipate that Cosmicapital will reinforce this picture.”
The annoucnement of this new fund follows the signing of a Letter of Intent in Toulouse on 13 November 2018.