Trust to float
Whitehorn leads IPO of first space tech fund
Spire Global will be part of the plan
Will Whitehorn, who spearheaded Richard Branson’s Virgin Galatic space flight company, is supporting the launch of the world’s first listed space technology fund in the UK.
Mr Whitehorn will chair the board of the Seraphim Space investment trust which intends to list in London and raise up to £100m to invest in early and growth stage space tech businesses.
It is targeting a total annual investment return of 20% and will start by buying a portfolio of 19 seed assets from the existing Seraphim Space Fund.
These include Arqit, a British quantum encryption company, Glasgow-based Spire Global, a global weather forecaster, and AST & Science, the 4G mobile broadband network provider.
Mr Whitehorn, who also chairs Edinburgh-based healthcare software company Craneware, said there was an industrial revolution under way in the space sector.
“Space tech is forecast to be a multi-decade, trillion dollar investment market that has not previously been available through listed opportunities. We are excited to offer investors access to a diversified portfolio of some of the sector’s highest-growth potential companies,” he said.
The best known fund with interest in this area is the Baillie Gifford rjn Scottish Mortgage Trust which has a stake in Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company.
The project has secured support from Lord Gerry Grimstone, former chairman of Standard Life and UK government minister for investment, who said: “This is a very exciting development for the space sector in the UK and around the world.
“Seraphim Capital, with whom the Department for International Trade has long worked with, has already led the way in helping the sector access capital finance that contributes to the critical commercialisation of space technology and services.”