Space has been enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in the wider public sphere over the last few years. For some of us, it never really went away but as my colleague Ashleigh has written, thanks to the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, private companies have brought space firmly back into the public’s eye. While it’s clear that the excitement of space exploration will always keep us reaching for the stars, the commercial opportunities for most will lie a little closer to home.
Our work with the likes of Dr Barbara Ghinellia and The Harwell Space Cluster, along with Seraphim Capital helping to launch its Space Camp accelerator programme back in 2018, has shown that the next frontier of business and opportunity lies space-based technology, solving Earth-bound problems.
The Harwell Campus is the gateway to the UK space sector and home to the Science and Technologies Facilities Council with over £2bn of infrastructure for both public and private research and development. It also benefits from the presence of leading public space organisations, including the European Space Agency, RAL Space, Satellite Applications Catapult and UK Space Agency and so the network of partners to help early-stage businesses is ready and waiting to help. The Space Cluster is part of the UK strategy to increase its share of the rapidly expanding world space market to 10% over the next decade.
The UK Space market alone was worth £14.8bn to the economy in 2016/17, and has tripled in size since 2000. The UK Space sector already provides 41,900 jobs and directly contributes £5.1bn to UK GDP. According to Seraphim’s latest Space Index, venture capital investment into the global space-tech sector over the last 12 months to March 31st, was approaching $5bn. Given that total investment has grown 17% year-on-year, It’s a great indicator that there is huge commercial potential for early-stage businesses in the sector.
At FieldHouse we’ve been mentoring early-stage space-tech companies as part of Seraphim’s Space Camp, over five different ‘Missions’ and it continues to be an amazing insight into what some of the next generations of frontier technology companies are working on. From quantum encryption and quantum miniaturisation, to launch and propulsion services, Low Earth Orbit satellite constellations and technology to observe the Earth in new ways and in greater detail, compression technology to improve downlink services, the future of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and much, much more.
Some of the world’s brightest minds are working on solutions for some of the greatest challenges facing society and businesses over the coming years, not to mention developing services, business models and industries that just don’t exist at the moment and it’s a privilege to be able to help some of them. In order for these startups to try and reach their full potential, they need to tell their key audiences and network the story about why they’re doing what they’re doing and why it matters right now and for the future. Over the last few years, that’s the piece of the puzzle that we’ve been trying to help them with and we’re excited to be carving it out as an official team at FieldHouse.