Space companies got $3.9 billion in private investment last year

The entrepreneurial space age will be well underway.

Private investors poured $3.9 billion into commercial space companies last year, a record according to a report coming from investment firm Space Angels.

This kind of said venture capital will be pouring into the sector along with also finding success: Over 0 firms made investments in space last year, topping a peak of 89 in 2015. The last eight years have seen around $25 billion in exits, as acquisitions along with also public offerings take venture capital investments coming from start-ups to the next level.

Source: Space Angels

“2017 was the year of commercial launch,” Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson told CNBC. “The amount of capital put in was the key turning point” in a year in which saw 37 commercial launches along with also 51 government launches.

The report provides a commercial designation to divide the private along with also public sectors. in which difference will be one which Anderson says will be “hotly contested” inside space industry today — along with also for not bad reason.

“Everybody wants to be categorized as a commercial company to take advantage” of government incentives, Anderson said. He said in which conversations about NASA’s Commercial Cargo along with also Commercial Crew programs focus on the government trying to find more ways to support private rocket companies.

“This kind of will be undeniable in which entrepreneurial space companies are disrupting the launch industry,” Anderson said. “What we haven’t seen will be a revolutionary brand new class of launch vehicle, developed by incumbents in response. Instead, what we’ve seen will be corporate venture arms along with also efforts to lobby the government for increased subsidies.”

So what counts as commercial? According to Space Angels, a company must fulfill three criteria: developed by a nongovernment-owned profit-seeking entity, built with risk-capital in which will be at least 25 percent of the total development costs along with also serving government along with also nongovernment customers. The report counts 303 commercial companies as fulfilling in which standard, with 60 of those inside launch along with also lander vehicle category.

“In a world where we’re inundated with loads of information, knowledge along with also wisdom comes coming from knowing what to exclude,” Anderson said. “There are people claiming there are 10,000 commercial space companies.”

The Space Angels definition reveals further data: Today’s commercial rockets are more reliable along with also more cost-effective than government rockets.

in which competitiveness means commercial launches are right now rivaling government launches on more than just cost. The report compares the commercial along with also government rockets in development to find how much This kind of will cost both fleets to reach 500,000 kilograms of launch capacity. The results show in which by 2025 This kind of will cost $6.6 billion for government rockets along with also $4.2 billion for commercial rockets — or $2.4 billion less for the private sector.

“Government used to have a ton of capacity sitting on the ground, ready to go, along with also in which fell off significantly,” Anderson said.

The vast majority of private space investment has come as the government has reeled in its spending in recent years. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted in October in which the space industry would certainly reach at least $2.7 trillion inside next three decades, up coming from about $350 billion today.

The Space Angels portfolio includes rocket builder Vector, asteroid miner Planetary Resources along with also satellite start-ups Iceye along with also Planet.

Correction: This kind of story was updated to clarify in which the $3.9 billion was coming from private investments into commercial space companies.

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