Economy minister Etienne Schneider, pictured, has driven much of the recent space sector diversification in Luxembourg
Photo: Maison moderne/archives
The government has invested in a stake in Orbital Ventures, a specialist space fund focused on early-stage newspace firms.
According to a statement issued on Thursday, the venture capital investment fund is anchored in Luxembourg and will provide equity funding for firms with ground-breaking ideas and technology which are already generating revenues or will do so in the near-term.
The government further explained that the fund had reached an initial closing of €70m.
Created as a public-private partnership, the fund comprises nine investors which include international companies, institutional and private investors.
Among the Luxembourg stakeholders are the economy ministry, BCEE, BGL BNP Paribas, BIL; OHB, Promus Ventures, Post Luxembourg, SES and SNCI.
“For decades, Luxembourg has been at the forefront of initiatives shaping the future of space. We are proud to leverage our longstanding expertise and international partnerships to set out the business case for commercialising space activity,” economy minister Étienne Schneider (LSAP) said.
The fund is in-line with the government’s strategy to develop a newspace sector in Luxembourg. In 2016, the economy ministry launched a SpaceResources initiative, outlining its ambitions to play an integral role in the peaceful exploitation of space resources. This followed with the launch of the Luxembourg Space Agency in 2018, responsible for developing business in this sector, as well as the creation of a legal framework.
One of the remaining challenges facing newspace startups particularly in Europe has been access to finance because many space-related ventures are high risk, require high upfront investment and patient investors. Luxembourg has initiated a number of funding channels and since 2018 has been talking about the creation of a space fund, a project which was delayed for legal reasons.
Also on Thursday, Schneider presented the national space science and technology action plan for 2020-2024 to parliament. He said that the country’s main objective was to position itself on the technology of the future, to develop the eco-system, to encourage the development of recurrent products, applications and services with high added value and commercial opportunities. Its focus is on telecommunications and space resources.