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Lakestar, Earlybird and Vsquared Ventures: 75 million euros for Isar Aerospace

Photo: SPECTRUM rocket from Isar Aerospace
9. Decem­ber 2020

Munich — A year ago, Early­bird inves­ted in Isar Aero­space for the first time. A Series B round of EUR 75 million has now been closed. The funding round was led by Lakestar in co-lead with Lakestar and VSqua­red. The Series B finan­cing round will fund Isar Aerospace’s first launch vehi­cle through to launch, allowing Isar Aero­space to now fully concen­trate on the final deve­lo­p­ment steps and upco­m­ing tests.

As the indus­try moves from larger, single satel­li­tes to constel­la­ti­ons of smal­ler satel­li­tes, the market for rocket laun­ches is expec­ted to grow. Accord­ing to Fortune Busi­ness Insights’, Global Space Launch Services Market, that growth might be as much as 30 billion euros by 2027. This is due to nume­rous appli­ca­ti­ons for small- and medium-sized satel­li­tes and satel­lite constel­la­ti­ons — ranging from nati­on­wide high-speed inter­net coverage and auto­no­mous driving to smart farming and beyond. We are brin­ging our Earth-bound compu­ta­tion infra­st­ruc­ture to low Earth orbit (LEO), which will deli­ver and allow unpar­al­leled insights about climate change, navi­ga­tion systems for mobi­lity appli­ca­ti­ons, or asset tracking in supply chains.
Early­bird belie­ves that in the next decade, micro-satel­­li­­tes in LEO will become a central plat­form tech­no­logy with enor­mous inno­va­tion and busi­ness poten­tial. Isar Aero­space is the under­ly­ing base tech­no­logy for this plat­form: “In our early conver­sa­ti­ons with the Isar Aero­space foun­ders, despite them not having yet reached their first commer­cial launch plan­ned for Q4/2021, we could toge­ther envi­sion their full plat­form stra­tegy. We noted the rele­vance and market oppor­tu­nity. We saw that the stra­te­gic impor­t­ance of launch vehi­cles was not bound to LEO, and that the ambi­tion of this team goes beyond: Isar’s first launch vehi­cle “Spec­trum” provi­des access to space and unlocks further plat­form verti­cals, such as manned Moon missi­ons, buil­ding resource-mining infra­st­ruc­ture on the Moon and Mars, as well as human spaceflights.”

The foun­ders and the team combine deter­mi­na­tion and an uncon­ven­tio­nal way of thin­king. They are passio­nate engi­neers from the Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Munich who don’t shy away from big chal­len­ges. Growing the team from 25 to over 100 employees in the past year, the co-foun­­­ders hired the best talents from insti­tu­ti­ons such as the Euro­pean Space Agency, SpaceX, Airbus, Uber and Apple. Scaling the team to more than three times its size, demons­tra­ted the foun­ders’ talent, endu­rance, and great leaders­hip skills that we obser­ved since our first invest­ment. By infu­sing exper­tise from rela­ted indus­tries — like auto­mo­tive and robo­tics into aero­­­s­pace- they applied mate­rial and physics know­ledge and adop­ted a lear­­ning-on-the-go approach.

Isar Aero­space has achie­ved many criti­cal mile­stones within the last year, which truly makes us proud and has substan­tia­ted our invest­ment thesis. Despite the chal­len­ges arising through the global COVID-19 pande­mic, the team made great progress on buil­ding the testing rig in Sweden, inau­gu­ra­ting their 4k sqm produc­tion faci­li­ties in Otto­brunn, Germany and growing a diverse team from around 30 nati­ons, while main­tai­ning their prac­ti­cal and family-like culture.

While working with Isar Aero­space over the last year, the team’s prag­ma­tic way of re-thin­­king space has been visi­ble in all of the team’s actions and achie­ve­ments. Daniel, Josef and Markus have truly deve­lo­ped into visio­na­ries with great leaders­hip skills. Daniel was just reco­gni­zed as the youn­gest reci­pi­ent in a 40under40 award here in Germany. Next to their natu­ral curio­sity and hands-on atti­tude that it takes to build a company with this vision, the foun­ders showed courage and perse­ver­ance over the past year. Even when things looked chal­len­ging, they kept their forward-looking and stra­te­gic way of thin­king, progres­sing in an aggres­sive and time-effi­ci­ent manner.
Disco­ver Daniel’s perspec­tive about Isar Aero­space in this behind-the-scenes video: “To be honest, it’s damn compli­ca­ted to build some­thing that actually goes into space.”
We are super proud to back the next cate­gory leader of Euro­pean space launch systems.

Dr. Frank Vogel and Dr. Simon Pfef­f­erle of the law firm Vogel Heerma Waitz advi­sed Early­bird and Vsqua­red Ventures on the Series B finan­cing of Isar Aero­space, Germany’s leading space startup.

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