Morpheus Space co-founders István Lőrincz and Daniel Bock discussed their experience in the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in Los Angeles during the Space Tech Expo Europe in November 2019. Credit: SpaceNews/Debra Werner

SAN FRANCISCO – Morpheus Space attracted a high-profile group of investors for its first venture capital round.

The German propulsion startup received investments from Germany’s Vsquared Ventures, Lavrock Ventures of MacLean, Virginia, Airbus Ventures of Menlo Park, California, In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. intelligence community, Pallas Ventures and Techstars Ventures.

Morpheus Space is not disclosing the amount of money raised, preferring instead to underscore the list of high-profile investors backing the firm.

“We are more than thrilled to have closed our funding round with an incredibly strong syndicate, especially in these difficult times,” Daniel Bock, Morpheus Space CEO and co-founder, said by email. “This is just the start to what I’m sure will be an exhilarating journey for us but also for the whole space industry.”

Morpheus also announced Aug. 26 that former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, now Pallas Ventures managing director, is joining the startup’s board of directors.

“Morpheus has built an impressive capability and has the team to deliver for both public and private sector customers worldwide,” Spencer said in a statement.

Morpheus Space manufactures Nano Field Effect Electric Propulsion or NanoFEEP thrusters, the type of thruster that propelled a German cubesat, University of Wurzburg Experimental-4, to a lower altitude in late June and early July. Bock was one of three inventors who patented the technology while at the Technical University of Dresden.

“On-orbit maneuverability remains limited for many space systems, particularly for small spacecraft,” Richard French, Rocket Lab, space systems business development and strategy director, said in a statement. “Affordable, reliable and high-performance electric propulsion is a key ingredient for space systems designers desiring high impulse. Morpheus’ solution is a welcome addition to the supply chain and should impact both near Earth and deep space missions using small spacecraft.

Morpheus was one of ten companies that participated in the first cohort of the Los Angeles-based Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in 2019.

“They’ve come so far since we invested in them last summer through the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator,” said Matt Kozlov, Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator managing director.

Herbert Mangesius, Vsquared Ventures founding partner, said in a statement, “Its electric propulsion system is a game-changer that enables many existing space applications and opens entirely new business opportunities ranging from ultra low Earth orbits to deep space exploration.”

Steve Smoot, Lavrock Ventures, general partner, said in a statement, “Morpheus Space’s efficient, highly scalable propulsion system enables a host of new capabilities related to collision avoidance, deorbiting and constellation agility.”

Claas Carsten Kohl, Airbus Ventures financial officer, said in a statement, “We’re pleased to support [Morpheus Space] in their mission of making impressively efficient space propulsion technologies globally available to providers of small satellites and constellations, further accelerating the growth of a vital new sector for private services in space.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...