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Seraphim Space Report Shows Investors are Shopping for Seed-Level Startups

By Mark Holmes | February 7, 2023

Illustration: Via Satellite

Seraphim Space’s latest quarterly Space Index report, released Monday, said that 2022 could be considered the best year for seed stage investments in space startups. Seed financing deals were up around 50 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, which it says indicates strong interest from entrepreneurs and investors in funding new space companies in 2022. Seraphim recorded 198 Seed deals in 2022, compared to 127 in 2021. So, the spike in new investment space-worthy start-ups was significant.

A total of nearly $9 billion was invested overall in space startups 2022, down close to 25 percent compared to 2021. It says the constellation (platform) sector has been most affected, as the investments here were down around 40 percent. In 2021, the firm calculated that $4.6 billion was invested in constellations, of which $3.3 billion of this was for OneWeb and SpaceX, the remaining $1.3 billion was for other constellations. It says in 2022 there was no funding raised by OneWeb, and while SpaceX raised $2 billion, other constellations only raised $0.69 billion. It says interestingly that the proportion of investment going to product and build companies is growing while the downlink and analyse segments have seen approximately constant proportion of investment over the past few years.

The biggest deal closed in the fourth quarter in 2022 was Volocopter in a deal worth $182 million, almost double the size of the next deal in a size, which was Swift Navigation which did a Series D Funding round worth $100 million.

There were some other notable trends in the report. Seraphim says Asia and Europe are starting to catch up with North America in terms of number of deals. Asia was up 80 percent compared to 2021 and Europe up 50 percent. Both saw more deals in 2022 than North America did in 2020. At the growth stage, total investment was 34 percent down compared to 2021 but deal volumes were flat. While the US remains the primary driver of large SpaceTech rounds, Q4 2022 saw representation from UK, India, Australia and Germany in the top 10.