How the space economy went from $0 to $270B in private equity capital over a decade
Space as a category of investment is still in the early development stages but weakness in technology and venture capital is weighing on the emerging industry, according to a partner at a space-themed venture capital firm.
Chad Anderson, a managing partner at Space Capital, said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Wednesday that successful efforts by SpaceX in the previous decade to bring down launch costs have opened the possibility of “space as an investment category.”
He said that the lower barriers to entering the market have allowed companies to innovate while trying out new strategies and business models.
“We've gone from essentially zero to $270 billion of private equity capital going into 1,700 unique space companies over the last 10 years. So things are really ramping up,” Anderson said.
Despite new possibilities in the space economy, Anderson said development is being impeded by market conditions.
“The broader tech sector and the venture market more generally, is in a bit of a slowdown right now. And that's definitely affecting space companies as well,” he said.
Anderson said that venture capital accounts for the majority of investments in the emerging industry, making up around two-thirds of available funds.
“So the broader tech sector slowdown is really affecting space companies as well,” he said.
Despite recent high-profile failures in the space economy, Anderson said it’s “unreasonable” to expect success on initial attempts and that companies are making progress.
On Wednesday, Tokyo-based ispace announced in a press release that there is a “high probability” its spacecraft crashed into the moon.
Last week a SpaceX rocket exploded minutes after it launched during its test flight, crashing into the Gulf of Mexico.
“It's important to remember where we are in the development of this category,” Anderson said.
SPACE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Integration between the space economy and telecommunications can also have a near-term impact, according to Anderson.
On Wednesday, SpaceX and Rogers Communications Inc. announced a deal to bring satellite phone services to Canada.
“There are many of these direct from satellites [or] direct to cell phone partnerships that have been announced between satellite communications and telcos,” Anderson said referring to deals between SpaceX and T-Mobile US Inc., also between Apple Inc. and Globalstar, Inc.
“This is a huge area of opportunity.”