In previous decades, space missions were primarily operated by space agencies, yet private sector involvement was vital for supplying hardware and expertise. As commercial satellite operators, and recently SpaceX and Blue Origin (supported by billions of investments from their owners) have become more active, the 'high-cost barrier to entry' to operate missions has begun to lower. As missions become ongoing commercial operations, the sector is then stable and profitable for a new wave of investors; funds, private equity, and retail investors.
Predicting this new investor demand, Space Ventures Investors Ltd (SVI) was established in 2014 by Simon Drake and Kevin Mac Gowan. They identified the potential of the next space race and how it will re-shape the global economy. Thanks to their experience from working in many global companies, including in the investment banking industry and marketing, combined with their sense of entrepreneurship and a passion for space, they started to work on the concept of making space a tangible investment for everyone. Thomas Lazaridis joined the team in 2015 prior to leading the investment arm of SVI.
The core vision of SVI is to allow both sophisticated and non-sophisticated investors to invest in the Strategic Space Value Chain; a combination of emerging companies that are integral to space commerce and space resources. By identifying each layer of the value chain, SVI has been able to target upcoming start-ups by categorizing them by sub-sector and identifying key industrial partners that would provide the support, and even exit solutions, bringing value and financial returns to SVI's investors.
The objective is to invest in start-ups, strengthen businesses, support visionary projects and create the leaders of tomorrow. SVI's own investors and entrepreneurs need each other, and SVI is the ideal vehicle: A shareholder driven company that follows a simple road map; the Strategic Space Value Chain, comprised of space start-ups and established companies. SVI is part of the value chain, also offering services such as management, capital raising, marketing, business development and project management.
• Focussing on the evolving technology driving the solutions.
• Researching the risk of space debris (kinetic and economic) and mitigation measures (in-orbit removal and pre-launch legal processes)
• Funding start-ups that are developing space debris innovations such as mapping, situation awareness (SSA), and removal.
• Focussing on EO for Urban and Agricultural markets, e.g. development, pollution monitoring, land use, soil moisture.
• Researching applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to increasingly complex satellite imagery, and on-demand real-time Earth observation (finance forecast, transport optimization, smart farming).
• Funding of European Earth Observation start-ups that have services for an international market.
• Using EO for environmental monitoring and to compliment SDGs, see Space Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.
• Separating Moon Mining / Lunar Resources from Asteroid Mining; they are two different risk categories.
• Researching existing space laws, plus resources supply and demand: What is of value and why.
• Focussing on the international companies and technology that form the space resources supply-chain.
• Establishing commercial rights for space resources, e.g. commoditizing the lunar surface.
• Focussing on Space Commodities as a future market, e.g. propellant as an exchange traded instrument.
• Researching how Space Infrastructure can leverage existing frameworks (legal, political, industrial) to grow.
• Establishing the business models that underpin the infrastructure required for next generation refuelling of satellites and CISLunar and deep space missions.
• Funding the planning and execution of large scale Space Infrastructure projects.
• Focussing on emerging European SmallSat and CubeSats companies.
• Researching the satellites road map, e.g. where is the LEO opportunity (IoT, earth observation), and the risks (debris).
• Establishing SVI in satellite constellation supply chains.
• Funding European start-ups that are developing innovations in propulsion, communication, and autonomous operations.
• Focussing on existing companies that have an established presence, e.g. satellite fleets in GEO.
• Researching upcoming opportunities, e.g. Launch Manufacturing: small (reusable) launchers, 3D printing, new materials.
• Investing in expansions, e.g. constellations offering global real-time broadband, satellite servicing logistics services.