Wednesday 21 July 2021 3:02 pm

Space-tech: Billionaire Bezos' flight to space to draw in starry-eyed investors

Following Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ 10-minute venture into space yesterday, space-tech investment may be set to rocket, space-fund boss Mark Boggett has said.   

Just last week Boggett’s space investment firm Seraphim Space listed on the London Stock Exchange after rallying £178.4m from starry-eyed investors in mid-July.

“Branson, Musk and Bezos initially cracked open the door but thanks to the ensuing low-cost access to space that door is now open permanently,” Boggett told City A.M.

Interest in space by the global investor community continues to break new records, the CEO explained, with an eyewatering $8.7bn having been invested into the market over the past 12 months according to Seraphim’s quarterly investment index.

“The UK punches well above its weight internationally. The UK is third to only the US and China in terms of the number of satellites manufacturing per annum and the UK is again third globally in relation to the number of satellite constellation companies being developed.”

Some $1.4bn has been injected into the UK’s space tech sphere in the year to 31 March, which has shown no signs of slowing down.

Trajectory

First-quarter investments for this year hit $476m, with $400m of that going to British firm OneWeb – which inked a deal with broadband provider BT just last month.

The UK has also listed its first SPAC this year, laser communications satellite developer ArQit, which is a portfolio company of Seraphim’s Space Investment Trust which raised $400m in May.

The capital rally was ahead of its merger with Nasdaq-listed Centricus Acquisition, which is expected to boost the company’s valuation to around $1bn once the deal is completed in August.  

However, London investment team lead at venture capital firm Alicorn, Alexander Assim said that although funding is on the uplift, investors are awaiting a clearer trajectory on where the market is headed.

“Investors are still erring on the side of caution when it comes to space-tech, mostly due to a misperception that they must wait till ‘blast off’ to gain the desired returns.

“The distinction between commercialisation or mass adoption of space-tech and the realisation of an investment, are two very different beasts. The market is capable of moving at light speed when there is wide market agreement on what a company or sector’s potential will be, rather than what is today.”  

The industry needs to set out what its goal or purpose is before investment is super-charged enough to realise Musk’s dreams of making it to Mars, Assim added.

“Virgin Galactic listed back in 2019 and has already proven that there are investment opportunities prior to launch day, Seraphim Space Investment Trust listed in the UK last week and was oversubscribed, highlighting that the appetite is growing for the sector and SpaceX won’t be far behind.  

“There is an entire industry to come, and probably all before Elon lands a cargo mission on Mars.”

But Boggett urged that investment follows upon the delivery of goals like Bezos’ Blue Origin flight.

“Space industry is white-hot right now largely because the “New Space” industry is delivering against its long-term goals.

“Set against this we also have the satellite industry delivering against its goals.

“Space flight has finally arrived, SpaceX taking crews to the international space station, Richard Branson from Virgin Galactic finally kicking off space tourism after 17 years of effort and yesterday Jeff Bezos from Blue Origin further opening the access to space.”

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