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France’s Look Up Space secures €14M funding, marks second-largest seed round in European Spacetech

Look Up Space founders
Picture credits: Look Up Space

In a significant development within the European space tech sector, Look Up Space, a French space tech startup, has secured €14 million in funding, marking the second-largest seed round in European space tech and the largest in France to date. The funding round consists of €7 million in private funding and an additional €7 million in public subsidies. Recently, British spacetech company Space Forge closed one of the largest-ever seed rounds in the European space tech industry.

Leading the €7 million financing round are CosmiCapital from Karista, France, and MIG Capital from Germany. The round also saw support from Geodesic Expansion in France and notable private investors such as Greg Wyler (E-SPACE), HeìleÌne Huby (Urania Ventures), and Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, former Minister of Transport. On another front, the French government’s commitment to the Look Up Space project is evident through the €7 million in public funding provided via France 2030 and the French Tech Seed fund. This public support underscores the strategic importance of Look Up Space for the future of space activities and the preservation of European sovereignty.

This funding milestone highlights the growing interest and investment in space tech ventures across Europe, as startups like Look Up Space continue to push the boundaries of innovation and contribute to the development of the space industry.

Making space sustainable

The funds raised will enable Look Up Space to develop its “SORASYS” space surveillance radar demonstrator and its “SYNAPSE” multi-source data fusion and processing platform by the end of 2024.

In addition to this, by September 2023, Look Up Space will have more than 20 employees from leading French and European space and digital companies, as well as from CNES and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.

“Look Up Space is committed to sustainable space. We are responding to a strategic issue of European sovereignty, to a growing need among private and public players who have or will have space infrastructures in low-Earth orbit, but also to the needs of institutional players faced with the emergence of irresponsible behavior and orbital threats”, explains Michel Friedling, co-founder and CEO of Look Up Space. “This round of financing will enable us to successfully implement our rapid development strategy, and to quickly meet the immense challenges now facing the space community and public players”.

“Through the choice of radar technology, the Look Up Space solution will be particularly well suited to future needs, enabling us to detect and track centimeter-sized objects, observe each and every object with the greatest possible repeatability, generate the most accurate orbital solutions possible, have 100% availability and very high responsiveness,” explains Juan Carlos Dolado, co-founder and CTO of Look Up Space. “Our anti-collision algorithms are already implemented on the beta version of SYNAPSE, our dual and hybrid digital platform that brings many innovations to the processing of SSA data for public and private customers”.

Emmanuel Daugeras, Investment Director at Karista: “Look Up Space has succeeded in bringing together the best skills from the civil and military space worlds: strong, determined leadership and exceptional expertise to meet the exponentially growing demand for space security services. We are very proud to support them in this strategic project, which is in line with our investment thesis based on the unprecedented growth of spacetech, with far-reaching implications for numerous business sectors”.

Dr. Oliver Kahl, Principal, MIG Capital: “Space has become the strategic arena where commercial and sovereign interests meet. It is crucial to have strong European players in space, at all levels of need, and particularly in the field of space surveillance and the safety of space activities. We’ve been watching the spacetech sector with interest for a long time, and are very pleased to have found, with Look Up Space, the opportunity to invest in an exceptional team and technology, in an industry of the future.”

Charles Beigbeder, founding partner of the Geodesic Expansion fund: “The risks of collisions between space debris and satellites are multiplying, and each time these risks represent considerable costs. Look Up Space will reduce the risk of loss of space infrastructure by over 90%, thanks to the detection and identification of all objects in orbit, meeting a clear demand from operators”.

How does it address challenges?

The increase in the number of satellites in orbit has been accelerating for many years, leading to a growing risk of collision. There are some 7,000 active satellites in orbit today, which is much higher than 1,800 in 2018, and several tens of thousands are expected by 2030 with the planned deployment of mega-constellations.

Currently, there are over 34,000 pieces of space debris over 10 cm in size, of which more than one-third are not catalogued. According to the ESA, this number is set to double over the next 25 years. Adding to this, one million pieces larger than one cm remain undetected. 

The resulting debris and the associated risk of collision pose a major threat to active satellites and to the long-term viability of in-orbit activities.

Founded by Juan Carlos Dolado (former head of space surveillance at CNES) and General (2S) Michel Friedling (former Space Commander) in 2022, Look Up Space from France aims to respond to these risks and threats. 

Look Up Space is developing a global solution based on a worldwide network of radars and an innovative platform for the massive fusion and processing of multi-source data to enable permanent, real-time, reliable, and precise surveillance, providing space security data and services for institutional and private, civil and military customers.

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