European Space Tech lifting off

European Space Tech is truly starting to take flight. In partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and E. Amaldi Foundation, we’re excited to truly uncover Europe’s burgeoning space tech startup ecosystem for the very first time. 

Bucking global VC trends space startups in Europe are on track to raise all-time-high levels of VC investment this year. Europe accounts for over 20% of global “upstream” (things that go into space and how they get there) funding, and has created five downstream (earth applications of technology in space, e.g. things that rely on satellites) unicorns.

Report - European Space Tech lifting off

Reaching new heights in 2022

VC investment in Upstream Space Tech startups has reached €527M in 2022 so far, excluding megarounds, which is on track to surpass last year’s all-time-high. When including mega-rounds, European Upstream Space Tech startups have raised €3.3B since 2020, 20% of the global VC investments in the space.

UK, France, Germany and Finland are key hubs for Upstream Space Tech in Europe.

A big part of this funding since 2016 has gone to Communication and connectivity satellites, followed by segments such as Semiconductors for space, Earth observation satellites and Launch Vehicles. Other emerging segments include Spacecraft servicing and debris removal, Spaceplanes & hypersonic flight, In-space transportation, Launch vehicles and In-space human presence.

The growth of the Upstream sector is also enabling the growth of the Downstream (Space Tech for Earth applications) sector. Downstream startups working with ESA have in fact raised €709M in 2022 so far, on track for their most active year.

A 50x decade

The European space tech startup ecosystem is now worth a combined $25B, almost all of which has emerged in just the last decade.

The combined enterprise value of privately owned Space Tech startups in Europe has grown to €25 billion, up 50x from 2010.

“Space Tech is emerging as a key sector globally for both the venture capital industry and the public sector. After being mostly driven by institutions for decades, we are now witnessing a fast commercialization of the space with startups playing a key role. This new space economy is showing a strong growth momentum in Europe with record investments from VCs and corporates, along with support from ecosystem enablers such as ESA and E. Amaldi Foundation.”

Yoram Wijngaarde, Dealroom founder & CEO

Incubating success in European space tech

The European Space Agency (ESA) is supporting the Space Tech ecosystem with initiatives ranging from incubation, networking and investor access to research, engineering, facilities and technical support. One of its key programs is ESA BIC, the largest network of space incubators in Europe, which has backed Space Tech startups now worth €6.5B, up from just €0.2B in 2016.

ESA BIC is also supported in this initiative by local partners like the E. Amaldi Foundation, which helps promotes and support the technology transfer for the space sector in Italy.

Italian Space Tech – ignition phase

Italy, a country which though on the rise, doesn’t normally feature near the top of list of European startup nations, is a serious hub in European Space tech. The combined enterprise value of Italian Space Tech startups has now reached €852M, up 18% from last year. Italian Space Tech startups have also raised €92M since 2016. However, Italy has a lot of room to grow. It ranks in 4th in Europe by the number of Space Tech startups, but only 11th by VC funding raised.

Report - European Space Tech lifting off

A space tech taxonomy for startups

The work of this report, and the collaboration with ESA and E. Amaldi Foundation has enabled us to develop a comprehensive and fit-for-purpose taxonomy for the space tech ecosystem, up and downstream, for the very first time. 

Explore almost 4,000 Space tech startups now tracked and curated on Dealroom.

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