Small rockets backed by Silicon Valley’s money

The total number of high profile investors and venture capital funds continues to increase in 2018 – a trend Space Angels traces back to 2009.

Andreeseen Horowitz and Accel Partners are the latest Silicon Valley funds to back space ventures, with the former investing in satellite start-up Astranis and the latter funding World View.

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Robert Bigelow continue to pour hefty amounts of money into their space ventures – and have begun to see results. Bezos’ Blue Origin is rapidly passing milestones with its BE-4 engine, SpaceX astounded millions with its Falcon Heavy launch, Virgin Galactic completed the first powered flight of its Unity rocket and Bigelow took the next step toward the world’s first habitable private space station with Bigelow Space Operations.

Mark Cuban continued to contribute to Relativity Space, which also raised funds from Playground Global, Y Combinator Continuity and Social Capital.

Space Angels compared the venture capital life cycles of space start-ups against those in the technology sector, using data from Pitchbook for the latter. The firm found that space companies tend to raise more money during early stages of investment, until the Series B round.

With space ventures typically defined as high risk, high reward investments, Space Angels found the companies attract valuations many times greater than a typical technology start-up.

This notable jump in valuation tends to happen “after proving critical milestones such as technology demonstration, revenue growth, and margin expansion,” Anderson said.

The space industry is coming off record investment in 2017, which Anderson has called “the year of commercial launch.” Private investors poured $3.9 billion into commercial space companies last year, with over 120 firms making investments.

The Space Angels portfolio includes rocket builder Vector, asteroid miner Planetary Resources and satellite start-ups Iceye and Planet.

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