Cash raised

Orbex funding will boost rocket development

Orbex rocket
Orbex will carry small satellites

UK spaceflight company Orbex has received £16.7m from six backers to help boost development of its rocket designed to launch small satellites.

Orbex has its headquarters, production and testing facilities in Scotland, and design and testing facilities in Denmark.

It now has two active patents in a number of European countries and the United States covering various parts of its rocket technology.

It is powered by a renewable bio-fuel, which allows the rocket to reduce carbon emissions significantly compared to other similarly-sized rockets being developed elsewhere.

Investors involved in the deal include £10.5m follow-on investment from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), venture capital firms Octopus Ventures, BGF, Heartcore, the Export & Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO) and a number of corporate and angel investors.

The funding from SNIB is a follow-on from the £17.8m committed by the bank in 2022. This investment has been part-financed by capital from the Just Transition Fund, allocated to the Bank from Scottish Government in April 2023.

The funding injection comes after CEO Phillip Chambers and former director general of the Spanish Space Agency Miguel Belló Mora joined to form a new leadership team in January. Mr Chambers himself became an investor in the firm’s £40m Series C funding round in 2022.

With testing and launch now in its sights, Orbex will soon enter a new phase of growth with a Series D funding round, which will aim to secure its long-term prospects as the leading orbital launch business in Europe.

Mr Chambers, a scale-up specialist, said: “Orbex is one of only two space rocket manufacturers in the UK, and the only one to also operate its own spaceport.

“Our technology is pivotal in making the UK a hub for European orbital launch, and we are entering a critical phase of development. We are building a sustainable, cost-effective launch vehicle to compete with the best of Europe’s spaceflight manufacturers.

“This additional funding will support our goal to push on into an operational launch phase, and scale our business when the time comes.”

Nicola Douglas, executive director of innovation at the Scottish National Investment Bank, said: “The Bank recognises the unique potential the space industry offers for Scotland. We are perfectly placed to leverage our geographical location, vibrant business and innovation landscape, and our skilled workers to be one of the most significant global players in this growing industry.”

Paddy Graham, head of Scotland at BGF, said: “Orbex has made significant progress since we first invested, becoming one of the leading players in the UK space sector. We are pleased to build on our support for the business and will continue to work closely with the company’s renewed leadership team as they work towards the initial launch phase.”

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