SAN FRANCISCO – Seraphim Capital and Noosphere Ventures announced investments in Italian space company D-Orbit.
Jonathan Firth, D-Orbit chief operating officer, declined to say how much money D-Orbit raised, but said the funding will help the firm expand its space transportation and logistics business.
D-orbit seeks to assist customers with “mission design, getting to space, precise deployment of assets, the use of assets to capture data and the end-of-life decommissioning,” Firth told SpaceNews.
D-Orbit plans to conduct a demonstration of its InOrbit Now (ION) rideshare service in March 2020 when its ION cubesat carrier is scheduled to launch on an Arianespace Vega rocket.
With the latest influx of capital announced Dec. 16, D-Orbit plans to fill out its launch manifest for 2021 and 2022, and continue work on an upgraded version of ION with propulsion. The first flight up the upgraded ION is scheduled for late 2020.
In addition, D-Orbit recently unveiled Aurora, a cloud-based software suite for small satellite constellations. The new investment will help D-Orbit “take Aurora to the next stage of development and be more active in securing customers,” Firth said.
D-Orbit employs 60 people at its Como, Italy, headquarters and subsidiaries in Lisbon, London and Washington. In the next year the firm is likely to hire 30 additional employees, Firth said.
“Our new financial partners will help us strengthen our position in the market, including in the U.S., and support our mission of defining a new standard of sustainable space logistics,” D-Orbit CEO Luca Rossettini said in a statement.
The latest funding round was led by London-based Seraphim Capital. Participating were: Noosphere Ventures, D-Orbit’s first U.S. investor; Italian venture capital funds Invitalia Ventures and Indaco SGR; as well as Elysia Capital and Nova Capital, both London-based.
“At Seraphim, we look for businesses that are key enablers and platforms upon which industries can build for the future,” James Bruegger, Seraphim managing partner, said in a statement. “D-Orbit has the potential to be the leading in-space transportation provider, and the vision to deliver services for a sustainable space environment.”
Max Polyakov, Noosphere Ventures managing partner, said in a statement, “We are trying to build a unique ecosystem of space companies and projects that will bring revolutionary changes to the whole space industry. We believe that D-Orbit’s approach will disrupt the market in its segment, while our other companies will do the same in their specific niches.”
D-Orbit customers include Astrocast, a Swiss internet-of-things startup. D-Orbit is arranging the launch and deployment of ten Astrocast cubesats in 2022 on an Arianespace Vega or Vega C from Kourou, French Guiana. D-Orbit also is preparing to send ten Astrocast cubesats into orbit in 2020 on a Vega rocket.