Space Startup & Entrepreneurship Funding

An extensive listing of funding sources for Space Startups & Entrepreneurs

We were looking for a directory of funding resources for space startups and entrepreneurs and couldn’t find one. So we decided to start our own.

This open document has everything we’ve found so far, but it is definitely not complete. Please email us about resources we’ve missed (or submit a Pull Request on GitHub)! ❤️

Here’s the funding source breakdown:

Items marked with a 🚀 are space-specific!

Traditional Crowdfunding (no equity)

Traditional Crowdfunding has provided a way for some space-related projects to find funding. Perhaps the most well known is LightSail, which raised over $1.2M from backers on Kickstarter.

Equity Crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is still in its infancy, but promises to democratize fundraising and allow projects and companies that wouldn’t be a fit for traditional VC or government funding to appeal directly to enthusiasts.

Angel Investment

Angel investors are often the first money invested in a startup by an outside entity.

Incubator and Accelerator Programs

Incubators can provide an important space for early-stage startups to rapidly develop and iterate on their product and business model. In space, this can be particularly important because projects need large amounts of capital, so early formation of a viable business model is key to success with later fundraising efforts. However, incubators are not all equal, and some may provide significantly more value in the form of physical equipment, experienced advisers, connections to VCs, and potential team members, while others may run all incubees through a cookie-cutter program that may not challenge the young company to mature.

Venture Capital

Venture Capital ranges from seed-stage investors to later-stage growth funds. Some later stage funds may even function more like Private Equity than traditional VC. Many VCs are looking for liquidity of their investment in 5-7 years, although space-focused VCs will hopefully be aware that the timeline for most space startups is significantly longer.

We’ve attempted to only list VCs that mention space.

Government Entities & Foundations

Governmental funding is a common path for many in the space industry. It can sometimes prolong the research and development phase of a company’s growth, but can also provide funding for high-risk projects that would struggle to get VC funding. Companies like SpaceX have utilized both private and governmental funding sources.

Other

Research Funding

Research funding is closely related to governmental funding, but often targets academic institutions.

Challenges / Hackathons

Challenges and Hackathons can provide a place for the seed of an idea to be vetted and garner some attention. Early teams can form at these events, or be given the initial validation that they need to take the next step.

Conferences / Pitch Events

Much like challenges and hackathons, conferences and pitch events can provide validation and attention from potential customers and investors.


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