Seraphim launches $95 million venture capital space fund

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LONDON — UK-based venture fund manager Seraphim Capital has launched a dedicated 70 million British pounds  ($95 million) fund that will support innovative companies developing Earth-observation technologies and data-driven applications.

The Seraphim Space Fund will also support other technologies that generate “data from above” such as drones, said Mark Boggett, Seraphim Capital’s chief executive officer.

“The fund is backed by a range of corporate and institutional parties which the fund can leverage,” said Boggett. “Giant organisations like Airbus and SES have invested in the fund. We look to use their knowledge to support our due diligence efforts, to create customer and partner opportunities for invested companies and potentially to create merger and acquisition opportunities of for the portfolio.”

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, Italian spaceflight services company Telespazio, U.S. tech conglomerate Teledyne, India-based IT-focused multinational Rolta and consulting services provider First Derivatives are among the fund’s investors.

The British Business Bank, the European Space Agency, as well as the UK’s Satellite Application Catapult, are also supporting the fund

“This is a unique approach in venture bringing together various players within the ecosystem with a vested interest to identify, invest and support emerging, innovative technologies and new business models,” Boggett said.

Google Earth founder Michael Jones has joined the fund as a managing partner.

“By virtue of being a specialist space-tech investor – the only dedicated space focused VC globally, we are benefitting from very strong, global deal flow,” Jones said in a statement. “This provides us with a panoptic view of all elements of the new space ecosystem, resulting in us having unrivalled insight into the cutting edge sector developments and global network of space-tech contacts.”

Boggett said the fund aims to support development of applications that would expand the uptake of EO data in sectors such as insurance, agriculture, transport and environment monitoring.

The London-based fund will also invest in development of innovative satellite and drone technologies including sensors and antennas, but also downlink technologies, storage, and analysis and security applications.

“Together with Seraphim we will stimulate the European economy through the space industry,” said Nick Appleyard, head of ESA Business Applications. “We will support innovators developing ventures that leverage space and provide them with the right resources and network.”

In January, Seraphim Capital invested into San Francisco-headquartered start-up Spire, which is operating a constellation of Earth-observing nano-satellites. In August, the fund backed Finland’s IceEye, which is developing the world’s first microsatellite synthetic aperture radar.