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UK-based Space DOTS raises $1.5M for its first-ever smartphone-sized lab for space

Space DOTS founder
Picture credits: Space DOTS

Currently, only 22% of the global STEM ecosystem are women and the UN has found that this figure is even lower for female space industry workers. London-based Space DOTS is working to change this narrative and the way materials are tested by the space industry. 

The UK-based spacetech startup, Space DOTS, specialises in developing miniaturised in-situ testing for advanced materials in various space environments. In June, TFN had the opportunity to interview Bianca Cefalo, the co-founder of Space DOTS, during London Tech Week. During the interview, it was revealed that the company has set its sights on securing a pre-seed funding round of $1.5 million, having initially been bootstrapped.

Now the company has announced that closed a $1.5 million pre-seed funding. The investment comes from a diverse group of investors, including US-based deeptech investor Boost VC, female-led Sie Ventures, 7Percent Ventures (known for backing Stotles and Condense), along with Blue Wire Capital and angel investors Elaine Lau and Alex Ionescu.

With this substantial funding, Space DOTS is now poised to accelerate the commercialisation of its cutting-edge solution for the global space industry. The company’s technology aims to significantly reduce the time and costs involved in bringing materials for space technologies to the market. This financial boost will undoubtedly propel their innovation to new heights, benefitting the entire space sector.

Bianca Cefalo, Co-founder and CEO at Space DOTS, said: “At Space DOTS, we are proposing an evolution to the legacy approach of testing and qualifying materials for space. We intend on becoming the trusted partner to space companies globally when it comes to in-orbit research and development and this funding will put us on the path towards doing just that.”

Brayton Williams, Co-founder and Partner at Boost VC, said: “Building for space is HARD. It takes ambitious technical dreamers to shake up an industry. Bianca and James are both engineers and were frustrated by the status quo of building for space, which they had been doing for many years. In 20 years the entire space industry will be using different and more advanced materials and it will be because of the work Bianca and James are kicking off now!”

Nicole Velho, Co-Founder and Head of Syndicate at Sie Ventures, commented: “This investment marks our first venture into SpaceTech, as we see advanced materials will be the key enabler to the infrastructures and supply chains that are being built in space and Space DOTS has first mover advantage in this nascent market. It is particularly encouraging to see more women building deeptech companies and Bianca’s ambition and vision are extraordinary – we are excited to see where she is taking this next.”

Space DOTS is already working with customers across the industry, including specialist materials suppliers Goodfellow Cambridge. Dr Aphrodite Tomou, Head of Technical at Goodfellow Cambridge, said: “We are looking forward to further collaboration with Space DOTS, in order to conduct material testing in a space environment – a critical opportunity that allows us to continue our expansion into the space sector. We are continually monitoring the progress made in different materials, including microwires, nanomaterials, advanced metal alloys, and composites.”

Enable a sustainable in-space economy

The current approach to materials testing in space is expensive and laborious, costing millions of pounds and often taking years before technologies can be brought to market. Founded by Bianca Cefalo and James Sheppard-Alden in 2021 in London, Space DOTS resolves this challenge. It has developed the first-ever, in-orbit active testing solution, making the qualification of advanced materials faster, cheaper, and simpler. It enables a sustainable in-space economy as its proprietary technology will improve the quality of the materials used and prevent satellites adding to the space junk problem. 

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