Europe Urged to Boost Space Industry Funding to Avoid Missing Growth Opportunities

Credit: NASA/GSFC

must enhance its capital allocation strategies for the space industry to capitalize on burgeoning early-stage investments, cautioned Bogdan Gogulan, CEO of Luxembourg-based private equity firm .

Recent findings from the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) reveal that Europe averaged 96 investment deals annually for space companies over the past three years, trailing slightly behind the United States at 114 deals. However, the disparity in investment volume is stark, with the U.S. averaging 6.3 billion euros ($6.8 billion) compared to Europe’s 1.4 billion euros, largely driven by larger growth-stage rounds.

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Gogulan highlighted concerns about Europe’s fragmented market structure, which, while fostering innovation through various early grant programs, poses significant challenges for scaling mature ventures. “It’s brilliant for innovation,” he stated. “What it is really bad for is scaling.”

In contrast, the United States benefits from a more cohesive regulatory framework and a larger unified market, which facilitates growth across the sector.

Despite Europe’s efforts to support early-stage ventures, Gogulan emphasized the critical need for growth capital to foster expansion within the region. He noted that many European space companies are compelled to seek funding abroad to bridge the financial “valley of death” between technology development and commercial adoption.

“We [Europe] are spending a lot of time, effort and energy on the most difficult part of the journey,” Gogulan lamented, “and when everything is ripe to take advantage of it, we’re giving that away.”

Gogulan called upon Europe’s major financial asset managers and pension funds to allocate more resources to the space industry. NewSpace Capital itself, which has invested in firms like Iceye in Finland and Kayrros in France, primarily secures funding from investors in the United States and the Middle East.

“We need 20 funds like ours,” Gogulan urged, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts involving the European Commission and regional investment banks to establish dedicated funding streams for growth-stage companies.

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