Germany’s High-Tech Gründerfonds has made its first investment in the space sector with UK-based Orbex. Founded in 2015, Orbex is building an orbital micro-launch vehicle to insert small satellites into low Earth orbit from Europe.
The Orbex launcher exploits a novel, sustainable fuel strategy to create one of the lowest inert mass fractions of any space launch vehicle ever built. All vehicle subsystems are being developed in-house, including rocket engines, avionics, guidance, software and patent-pending structures technologies.
“Our goal is not just to build a space launch vehicle. It’s to build a complete service offering to help businesses, governments and academic projects get their small satellites to orbit – on time, at a reasonable fixed price, from within Europe,” said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex.
The founding team has direct experience of developing several launch vehicles, as well as numerous rocket engines and guidance systems, and Orbex has already won significant grants from both the European Union and national space agencies. “The personal experience of the founders has helped them maintain a very fast technology and business development pace over the past 18 months,” said Yann Fiebig, Investment Manager at HTGF.
The management team and board of directors of Orbex have collectively founded and grown more than 20 technology start-ups. “We’re building a European-focused space micro-launch capability, to complement existing European heavy launchers,” said Larmour. “We have an ideal launch site that has governmental support, we have the skillsets required to build the vehicle, and we have the engagement of several EU space agencies and senior industry figures,” he added. “It’s great to have won the investment of the High-Tech Gründerfonds, as well as significant angel investments from several notable individual EU-based entrepreneurs.”
The company demonstrated its rocket engine technology to 450 investors during the recent HTGF Family Day 2017 conference in Bonn, Germany, and has made several new hires from the UK aerospace sector to work on launch vehicle avionics subsystems.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF)
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is Germany’s most active and leading seed stage investor. With a fund volume of 820 million Euros in three funds, the company finances innovative technology startups and actively supports them in implementing their business ideas. We cover a broad range of subjects. Our three investment teams are focused on hardware-related engineering, life science, the chemical industry, and material science as well as software, media, and the internet.