Israeli space tech just got a boost as Earth & Beyond Ventures, a new early-stage VC fund focusing on the space industry, announced it will invest $125 million in local deep tech and space startups.
The new fund is intended to leverage Israel’s expertise in aerospace, satellite engineering and the growing “New Space” market.
It is the first fund of its kind in the Holy Land to focus on innovations that can work both in space and back on Earth.
The fund’s general partners are Daniel Recanati, founder of Rhodium; Doron Zauer; Israel Biran; and Ofer Asif of Spacecom. Backers include:
- Corning, the global materials and manufacturing giant that’s been supplying material and products to NASA for over 50 years.
- Japanese electronics company Kyocera.
- Samtec, a global manufacturer of electronic connectivity components.
- Israeli satellite communications services provider Spacecom.
- The Israel Innovation Authority.
Investments in space tech have changed in recent years. In the not-so-distant past, the industry was dominated by government funding and the focus was mainly on space exploration and defense. Nowadays, investments are coming more from the private sector with outspoken entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos leading the way.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have estimated that “Space 2.0” could generate over $1 trillion in revenue by 2040. Between 2012 and 2021, total annual investment in the commercial space sector grew from $300 million to more than $10 billion, according to McKinsey.
Growth is being driven by:
- Advances in technology.
- A growing demand for space-based services.
- A shift towards a more market-driven approach to space activities.
- NASA’s plans for moon missions and beyond.
- Competition from space-tech up-and-comers in China, India and the European Space Agency. The UK, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea also have ambitious plans for space.
New Space companies are more focused on getting assets into space that can provide services such as enhanced Earth observation; space-based data storage and processing; development of improved materials for lighter satellites; in-space manufacturing; and drug discovery in zero gravity for pharmaceutical companies.
Despite its small size, Israel has expertise in many of the technologies that space startups require, including semiconductor development, robotics, sensors, smart farms, quantum computing, solar power, cybersecurity and alternative proteins. The latter should help humans find what to eat on long space journeys.
In the short term, Earth & Beyond hopes that those same technologies will provide solutions for our planet’s most pressing problems, such as preventing further climate change, finding new sources of energy and materials, and developing faster computing platforms.
Earth & Beyond Ventures says it will invest seed and pre-seed rounds between $500,000 and $2 million.
“Israel’s achievements in the development of innovative technologies are world-renowned, but many don’t realize that Israel was one of the first countries to design, build and launch its own satellite, a feat which requires tremendous cross-disciplinary expertise and knowhow,” notes Earth & Beyond Ventures CEO Baruch Schori.
“Together with our investors and partners in the ecosystem, our job at Earth & Beyond Ventures is to identify and support the deep technologies and ideas that can become powerful applications not just here on Earth, but in space as well.”