Spacetech and Drones is a relatively new segment that is seeing a lot of innovations come up in the last decade. It includes all startups that are involved in the R&D of space/drone devices, manufacturing companies, launchers, and startups working with satellites and remote sensing technologies among the others. The applications of drones has helped industries like real estate find safer options in various phases of construction, e-commerce in the form of deliveries, and even has uses for monitoring by the law and order bodies in various countries. The total investments in the segment over the last two years capped at $5.47 billion.
In 2019, the investments made into startups in this segment grew by an impressive 55% and touched $3.4 billion. North America held the largest share among all regions with total funding of $2.9 billion in 2019, growing by 70% from investments made in 2018. South America and Africa may not be among the top funded regions but were only the ones apart from North America to record a positive growth in the investments. Investments in Africa grew three times while the funding received by startups in Oceania grew 10 times.
OneWeb, SpaceX, Planet, Wheels Up, and Loon were the top startups whose funding deals shined in 2019, all of them based in the US. OneWeb, a startup that works in the area of micro-satellite constellations, was the only one to raise over a billion dollars. It raised $1.25 billion last year and was followed by SpaceX which got $535 million in venture funding. Startups like these have helped US maintain its position as a leader in spactech and drones among all the countries. Other nations that raised notable funding were China, the UK, Japan and Switzerland.
Investments in the form of private equity grew manifold from $298 k to $188 million in just a year. ICO & crowdfunding rounds too saw a growth of ten times in 2019. Apart from these and the seed stage, that grew by 60%, all the other stages seemed to have seen a drop in the funding.
Segments that scored the highest funding in 2019 were those in the sub-segments of satellite constellation operations($1.3 billion), launch providers ($556 million), and aviation services($472 million). The top four cities that received highest funding for spacetech & drones startups are from the USA – Arlington (only city with more than a billion dollars in funding at $1.25 billion), Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. These were followed by Beijing, whose total funding for the segment in 2019 amounted to $118 million.
The spacetech & drones industry is one of the top five startup segments which witnessed a spurt in investments in 2019. The startups dealing with drones has particularly gained a lot of momentum in recent years. Apart from the focus on the convenience it offers, there has also been a growing awareness about the security risks it poses. Innovations in the field of spacetech has also helped in communications segment find and offer new services. According to the data collected by HexGn, the top five countries with high investments in the spacetech & drones segment in 2019 were USA, China, the UK, and Japan.
The share of US in the global investment numbers is more than 85%, its investments in the spacetech & drones segment amounted to $2.8 billion. The startups in the industry have raised 70% more funds than 2018, helping the US eliminate competition by a large margin.
8 out of the top 10 deals at the global level were closed by startups from the US. Micro-satellite constellation-based broadband company OneWeb closed the biggest deal in the segment by raising $1.25 billion. This was followed by SpaceX, an aviation and aerospace venture founded by Elon Musk, that raised $535 million.
In the last two years of funding, 2019 was the only year where there was some activity at the private equity and ICO & crowdfunding stages. A notable growth was also noticed in the funding received through seed stage rounds, of 61%.
For China, it was a downward journey from the investment raised in 2018. The total funding raised by Chinese spacetech and drones startups fell by 19% amounting to $160 million.
Landspace, a venture that is into developing and operating rockets has been the headline-hitting startups because of its Series C round in which it raised $71 million. This is the highest-funding raised by any startup in China in the segment of spacetech and drones. This was followed by Rinfon whose Series B round got it investments of $14 billion.
Seed stage investments in the Chinese spacetech and drones space grow 5 times in 2019. Last year also witnessed new activity in deals in the late stage venture deals as well.
Spacetech and drones startup in the UK raised $95 million last year, growing over 1.5 times its investments in the previous year. This makes it another one of the many industries which got to see a growth in investments in the UK in 2019.
Almost 85% of the total funding amount came from a single deal last year. AerFin offers cost-saving aftermarket support solutions to the aviation industry. It raised $80 million in debt financing in 2019 to become the highest funded startup in the spacetech and drones segment. The second-highest funded startup in UK’s spacetech and drones segment was AirPortr whose Series A funding round got it an investment of $8.6 billion.
The funding activities in UK’s spacetech and drones segment has been concentrated in the early stage, seed, and debt financing stages. Out of which, debt financing is the only stage where the investments grew – by a whopping 60 times
The spacetech and drones segment in Japan picked up $42 million making the country the fourth ranked startup. In recent years, the spactech community has grown very active with numerous innovators coming to the forefront. The country may not have grown much in investments but has seen a growth in diversity of what the spactech segment has to offer. Last year’s investments in the spacetech and drones segment has been 55% higher than the previous year.
There were only three funding rounds in Japan last year. The highest-funded startup was Astroscale which picked up $30 million, followed by outer space entertainment company ALE that raised $10 million and Trajectory with a one million investment round.
In the last two years, it was only in 2019 that there was some funding activity in the early stage venture, late stage venture, and seed stage deals. Astroscale’s funding round was a late stage venture.
Spacetech and drones startups in Switzerland saw the funding slip by 35% in 2019, coming down to $36 million. Most startups in the industry here are involved in the development of launch and deployment technologies for satellites. This is a promising sector in the region which has attracted investor attention globally.
Daedalean AG, a startup that specialises in autonomous control technologies for aircrafts closed the top funding deal in the country with a $11 billion deal, followed very closely by drone mapping and surveying service provider Wingtra which raised $10 million.
The funding activities in the Swiss spacetech and drones segment has been only happening in the early venture and seed stage rounds. The investments in both the stages fell in 2019 by over more than 70%.