Even though US space tech companies like SpaceX, Relativity, and Sierra Space raise billions of dollars, European startups have been raising larger rounds of funding in recent years.
Now Exotrail, a French spacetech startup, has raised $58M to scale up electric thruster production and increase attempts to offer space transportation services.
The Series B round was led by Bpifrance, the French public investment bank; Eurazeo, a European venture capital firm; and CELAD, a software engineering company. All Exotrail’s historic investors – 360 Capital, Karista through the Paris Region Venture Fund, Irdi Capital Investissement, Innovacom, iXO Private Equity and NCI-Waterstart, together with BNP Paribas and Banque Populaire Val de France from BPCE Group – also participated in the round.
According to the company, the investment will be used to increase production of both its spacestudio mission design software and its current spaceware line of electric propulsion devices. As part of the company’s space logistics product line, the funds will also be used to expand Spacedrop, which transports satellites to orbit without propulsion systems. In October 2023, it will be launched using one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets.
Exotrail was established in 2015 by David Henri, Jean-Luc Maria, Nicolas Heitz, Paul Lascombes and creates small satellite propulsion systems for launch and orbital motion. In order to optimise the performance of satellites, it also offers analysis and operating software.
The startup offers its products to companies that build and operate satellite launchers, including the European Space Agency, Airbus, Thales Alenia Space, and Eutelsat.
Exotrail’s CEO and cofounder Jean-Luc Maria, stated: “We are grateful for the trust and confidence all our investors vest in Exotrail. This series B round validates our comprehensive and logistics-driven approach to space mobility. We are now ready to accelerate our efforts in positioning our mobilityhub as the world reference for effectively moving assets in space. The message we are sending to all space companies wherever they are on Earth is clear: space logistics is coming, and Exotrail will be your preferred partner!”
Exotrail said that its Series B round was oversubscribed, citing “triple-digit” sales growth, while the company did not provide exact revenue statistics. The company already employs 90 people and expects to hire 70 more in the coming year as it expands into the US and Asian markets.
Exotrail now employs 90 individuals and expects to add more than 70 people globally during the coming year. Its broad customer base spans North America, Europe, and portions of Asia, and comprises a well-balanced mix of commercial and institutional entities from launch service providers to satellite makers and operators.
Jean-Philippe Richard, Deputy Director of the SPI fund, and Nicolas Berdou, Investor for the Defense Innovation Fund, declared: “Its technologies, its large-scale industrial project and its international ambitions as a provider of dual services in orbit to the space industry, are all strengths that have seduced us in the Exotrail project, supported since its creation by Bpifrance via the F3A fund and the Digital Venture fund. The combination of SPI and FID funds, bringing their expertise in industrialization and management of sovereign projects, symbolizes Bpifrance's deep ambition to support the reindustrialization of France by supporting innovative and job-creating projects in the territories such as the one carried by Exotrail”