In the latest boon to Europe’s burgeoning SpaceTech industry, the Ireland-based firm Ubotica Technologies has just closed out a €4 million funding round. The company develops software and onboard processes for autonomous satellites, employing coders in Ireland, Spain, and the Netherlands.
The funding round was heavily led by US capital, with the likes of Dolby Family Ventures and Seraphim Space contributing the bulk of the funds. The investment is the latest in a run of major funding rounds for Europe-based space technology companies, suggesting newfound enthusiasm for the once-languishing sector.
A banner few years of European space tech
By all accounts, space technology in Europe is a hot ticket item among investors globally. There is no shortage of success stories from recent years that suggest historically high levels of enthusiasm for the sector.
The Danish company Fernride, which develops remote-operated vehicles that can be used in space exploration, recently capped off a €7.1 million funding round. Meanwhile, the UK company Isotropic Systems, which develops terminals for satellites, has racked up more than €90 million in seed funding as of 2022.
Then there is Ellipsis Drive, the Netherlands-based company that develops geospatial analysis software for the space industry, which raised €2 million in a single seed funding round last year.
Alone, these examples might not count for much. However, the increasing frequency with which European space technology companies are gathering record funding tells us that the industry is on the verge of a new era.
Challenges still remain
That being said, it is not all smooth sailing for the EU space tech industry. The sector still faces stiff competition from the US, where funding for major players such as Spire, Rocket Lab, and Swift Navigation totals billions of dollars, eclipsing the amounts raised in Europe.
Meanwhile, it is not enough to simply find the money needed to scale up. Space tech is a highly complex industry, and finding suitable funders can be an immense challenge, especially when so much funding typically comes from overseas and there is a lot of legal admin involved in closing deals.
One of the ways startups are dealing with challenges like finding the right investors and managing the funding process, is by using dedicated legaltech services that can guide companies through funding rounds and ensure that everything is above-board. One example of such a service is SeedLegals, which automates and manages the admin involved with completing a seed funding round, while providing legally robust expert support seven days a week.
In the European space tech sector especially, there are additional challenges to consider. For example, a large number of companies in this space receive a huge portion of funding from public bodies such as the European Space Agency, Gallileo, and Horizon.
Oftentimes, this funding will come with strict strings attached, including limits on which private sector entities the companies can receive additional funds from. This is why it is crucial for Europe’s growing space tech sector to have access to the legal expertise and guidance that it needs to grow.
All in all, the future of space tech in Europe looks bright. While its dominance in the sector is far from assured, the amount of money flowing in right now tells us that investors have high hopes.