Promus Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, has raised € 120 million for the Orbital Ventures Fund, a fund that closed last year. The fund does not specifically focus on Grand Duchess’s space start-ups, although Luxembourg-affiliated companies receive a certain portion of its investment. The fund’s “limited partners” (its foreign investors) are all European, mostly public and active in the Grand Duchy.
The main investors in the Orbital Ventures Fund are the European Investment Fund (EIF), which has pledged 40 million euros, as well as the Ministry of Economy and the National Credit and Investment Company (SNCI) in Luxembourg. Banque Internationale ux Luxembourg (BIL), BGL BNP Paribas, OHB, Post Luxembourg, SES and Spuerkeess also participated.
According to Pierre Festal, a partner at Promas Ventures in Luxembourg, the fund currently has 10 start-ups in its portfolio.
In total, Promas Venture has five funds. Among the company’s portfolio companies are Iceye, Rocket Lab, Spire and Swift Navigation. Some of his previous releases include Nview, Figure Eight, Gauss Surgical and Kensho.
The Venture Capital firm has three offices and five of its eight employees are located in Grand Duchy.
Delano talks with Pierre Festal about the fund, its investors and its portfolio companies, as well as his views on the Luxembourg space start-up scene.
In short, tell us about Promus Ventures.
Pierre Festival. – Founded in 2012, Promus Ventures invests in early-stage deep-tech start-ups that solve complex problems to improve daily life around the world. Has invested.
How was the Orbital Ventures Fund created and what are its main objectives?
“The Orbital Ventures Fund closed in July 2021 at € 120 million. Limited Partners (LPs) include European investment funds as well as other companies, institutions and private and public investors. These include the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy and the National Credit and Investment Company (SNCI). Anchored in Luxembourg, the fund focuses on aerospace companies at the start-up stage.
Space is an important part. What exactly are you looking for in a company for your portfolio?
“Orbital Ventures Fund targets early investment opportunities in a wide range of areas, such as: space telecommunications networks and services; Location-based geospatial services and applications; Space-related technologies and innovations, such as robotics, sensors, data; Earth observation and environmental observation; Transportation and delivery efficiency and safety; And the use and exploration of space resources.
When we evaluate a potential investment, our primary focus is on the quality of the founding team, their vision, and their ability to deliver that vision. We also look at technology, products, business models, markets and competitive dynamics.
What kind of connection does a start-up need with Luxembourg? Should he have an office here? Should it invest in a technology that – partially or completely – developed in Luxembourg?
“Some of the funding will go to companies with Luxembourg-linked companies – either with Luxembourg’s headquarters or with plans to establish a presence in Luxembourg.
Let’s talk about your investors. How does a large proportion of your sponsors come to fund from public sector change compared to a fund that has the most sponsors in the private sector? Does it change your strategy, attitude, operation?
“It simply came to our notice then. We work like any other fund. We are a financial investor whose purpose is to maximize returns for partners.
What are your prospects for start-ups in the space sector in Luxembourg and Europe? Is the sector competitive with its North American and Asian competitors?
“Luxembourg has been at the forefront of aerospace democratization and development over the past few decades. The country continues to provide significant local support to startups in the space sector and is a particularly privileged position for international space agencies.
With initiatives such as the European Commission’s Cassini program and the European Space Agency’s incubation program, Europe has come a long way in building and supporting a thriving space technology ecosystem, with growing support from large companies aware of threats and opportunities. Offered by start-ups in the sector.
The private finance market remains relatively limited and there is not enough ‘dry powder’ (understanding of undisclosed capital) to support emerging companies throughout their life cycle – this problem is not specific to the aerospace sector. As a result, young European space companies look to the United States or the international investment community when it comes to raising significant funds to support their growth. Although Europe has made good progress, it lags behind the United States in terms of the number of emerging space agencies and available funding.
Asia is relatively fragmented, with China having its own larger state-sponsored initiatives in the space sector. India, Japan and Australia have been relatively active in the recent quarter, raising large sums of money.
Are you planning to raise another fund soon for the Orbital Venture Fund or any other fund focused on the aerospace sector?
“We are in the process of launching the Orbital Ventures Fund and look forward to continuing to invest in EU-related space initiatives in the future.
Space Resources Week
A conference held at LuxExpo from May 3-5 includes a panel on Wednesday afternoon entitled “Wealth and the Moon Banking”.
This article was written for Delano, translated and edited for Paperjam.