Munich-based Alpine Space Ventures (ASV), a VC firm led by a former senior executive at Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is establishing itself as a prominent NewSpace fund in Europe, with a focus on satellite constellations and Earth observation across the entire value chain.
VC fund led by ex-SpaceX VP
ASV was founded by Turkey-born Bulent Altan with over a decade of experience at SpaceX alongside Joram Voelklein, a German entrepreneur investment banker. Recently, ASV roped in nearly 20 SpaceX executives and early employees as Limited Partners.
Altan believes that Europe can be a stiff rival to the US private space market though the latter has grown at a faster rate over the last decade with SpaceX dominating the field. He also believes that there is a trillion-dollar opportunity in satellites, be it building or servicing them.
Besides ASV, Altan is also the co-CEO of Mynaric, a listed German company making optical communication space terminals. Also, he is the chair of one of Europe’s biggest spacetechs – Isar Aerospace, which closed $165 million in Series C funding earlier this year.
In addition to Altan, Catriona Chambers, who worked at SpaceX for 16 years and most recently led Starship Avionics there, serves as the Technical Director of ASV, supported by Hans Koenigsmann, former Chief Engineer of Elon Musk and one of the world’s most renowned aerospace engineers, as technical advisor. The team is completed by Principal Lynn Zoenen and CFO Christina Kotzur.
€60M to boost spacetech investments
Now, ASV is all set to receive €60 million in equity from the European Investment Fund (EIF). The investment is supported by InvestEU and the CASSINI investing facility of the European Space programme, as well as by the European Recovery Programme (ERP) of the German government. This is its first investment of EIF in a spacetech-focused fund.
This funding injection pushes ASV’s total committed capital beyond €100 million, bringing the fund closer to its desired size of €160 million. It is anticipated that the target will be reached later this year.
The VC fund focused on spacetech investments will back companies at Series A ranging from €1 million to €5 million. To date, ASV has made investments in four companies: Reflex Aerospace, Morpheus Space, Blackwave, and Source Energy. Also, it plans to back a 11 more companies over the next few years.
Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “InvestEU is playing a key role across Europe in channelling investment towards research and innovation priorities. This InvestEU agreement will help accelerate the development of new space technology, placing European businesses at the forefront of this rapidly evolving sector. I am delighted that, thanks to this agreement, we will be supporting the new space sector in Europe, which will create jobs and advance cutting-edge technologies.”
Marjut Falkstedt, CEO EIF, said: “Space has become the source of very important technological developments, and its importance will only continue to grow in the next decade. This opens up significant potential for profitable investments and also adds a powerful tool in the arsenal to tackle so many of the problems we are facing, most notably climate change. That’s why, at the EIF, we are proud to support advanced technology investors like Alpine Space Ventures to further boost European capabilities in the NewSpace sector.”
Joram Voelklein, founding partner of Alpine Space Ventures, said: “The commitment of the European Investment Fund to invest 60 million euros in Alpine Space Ventures is a significant milestone for us. This investment not only increases our financial resources, but also demonstrates the confidence that investors and industrial partners have in our team and our innovation capabilities in the NewSpace sector.”
Bulent Altan, Founding Partner of Alpine Space Ventures, said: “I am honoured to have more than 20 of my former SpaceX colleagues, who are now either executives in the company or have critical roles in other space companies, invest in our fund as LPs. This demonstrates our strong industry network and technical expertise. It will also help us to accelerate the commercialisation of our portfolio companies’ solutions and products.”