Space

Report: Space companies drew record-high venture funding in 2021

The…space…attracted $17 billion last year, up from ~$9 billion in 2020.
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In 2021, space investors really took to the old adage of aiming for the moon.

And it’s landed among the stars: VCs poured a record $17 billion into 328 different space companies in 2021, per a report from venture capital firm Space Capital. The figure beats the record set in 2020, which was $9.1 billion. Space investment accounted for 3% of total global venture capital flows, according to the report.

  • Over the last decade, the United States is the leader in space investment (62%), with Japan coming in second (30%), followed by Italy in a distant third (2%).

Money has come from all corners of the universe to fuel space companies, but it mostly flowed to one segment: launch and satellite companies, which claimed 95% of all investment last year. Part of the remaining 5% went to emerging space industries, like biospheres.

  • A whopping $4.3 billion was invested in space infrastructure—the hardware and software used to build, launch and operate space tech—in Q4 2021, led by mega rounds in companies like Sierra Space, SpaceX, and Planet Labs.
  • Some examples of emerging space startups: Astroscale, which specializes in debris cleanup; CubeSat maker Swarm Technologies, which uses sandwich-sized satellites to transfer small amounts of data to IoT devices and is now owned by SpaceX.

A quick aside on public markets: 2021 was also—of course—a significant year for space SPACs, as companies like Rocket Lab and Planet Labs both went public via reverse mergers.

Looking ahead…The space economy will only continue to grow as launch and satellite companies expand, satellite broadband develops, companies vie to build the first private space stations, and space debris cleanup enterprises try and get to work.

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