The aerospace industry is regaining its former appeal to VCs. The ongoing international conflict, the commercial success of space startups like SpaceX, and relentless tech advancements have made aerospace a hotbed of venture capital. 

Eager to join this resurgent investment party? Start with choosing the right investor. To make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of top space venture capital firms, complete with their investment criteria and contacts. Additionally, explore the latest aerospace industry trends, top space startups and accelerators, and the most beneficial aerospace conferences.

Blackbird Ventures
243 investments
Focus:
  • Sports & Fitness
  • AI & Deep Tech
  • +31
Stage:
  • Seed
  • Series A
  • +2
Airbus Ventures
85 investments
Focus:
  • Sports & Fitness
  • AI & Deep Tech
  • +22
Stage:
  • Seed
  • Series A
  • +2
Check:
  • $100K-$500K
  • $500K-$1M
  • +2
Space Capital
75 investments
Focus:
  • AI & Deep Tech
  • Advertising & Marketing
  • +23
Type One Ventures
30 investments
Focus:
  • Hardware, Robotics & IoT
  • VR & AR
  • +11
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +3
Check:
  • $0-$100K
  • $100K-$500K
  • +3
C5 Capital
28 investments
Focus:
  • Legal & Professional services
  • AI & Deep Tech
  • +12
Stage:
  • Series A
  • Series B
  • +1
Space.VC
21 investments
Focus:
  • Natural Resources
  • VR & AR
  • +7
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
Check:
  • $100K-$500K
SpaceFund
11 investments
Focus:
  • Natural Resources
  • VR & AR
  • +15
Explorer 1 Fund
11 investments
Focus:
  • Hardware, Robotics & IoT
  • Transportation & Mobility
  • +5
Embedded Ventures
7 investments
Focus:
  • Hardware, Robotics & IoT
  • Natural Resources
  • +6
Stage:
  • Seed
  • Series A
  • +2
Seraphim Capital
126 investments
Focus:
  • Hardware, Robotics & IoT
  • VR & AR
  • +16
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +3
Check:
  • $100K-$500K
  • $500K-$1M
  • +3
Rhodium
45 investments
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +3
Phystech Ventures
36 investments
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +2
Abenteuer Ventures
18 investments
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +3
Sica Ventures
15 investments
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +1
Seldor Capital
11 investments
Stage:
  • Seed
  • Series A
Snowpoint Ventures
9 investments
Stage:
  • Series A
  • Series B
  • +1
Expansion Venture Capital
121 investments
Focus:
  • Sports & Fitness
  • AI & Deep Tech
  • +27
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed
  • +1
Check:
  • $100K-$500K
  • $500K-$1M
Astor Perkins
5 investments
Stage:
  • Seed
  • Series A
  • +2
IBX
5 investments
Stage:
  • Seed
  • Series A
  • +2
Earthrise Ventures
5 investments
Stage:
  • Pre-Seed
  • Seed

Most active VC firms investing in aerospace

Geopolitical concerns, sustainability, and tech advancements are moving the space industry towards more funding rounds. Although many VCs remain cautious, some are eager to capitalize on the upcoming space boom. 

Some active space venture capital funds include:

  • Blackbird Ventures supports tech startups across multiple verticals, from software to space. It has completed 251 investment rounds, and 15 startups have exited successfully. 
  • Seraphim Space is a London-based global space industry leader investing in space entrepreneurs from beginning to exit. 
  • Airbus Ventures helps founders build the future of aerospace. The firm encountered 88 investments and eight exits.

Space Capital supports aerospace startups at different stages, be it seed, early, or late stage. The fund boasts a portfolio of 77 companies and six exits.

Notable aerospace startups

As aerospace funding activity revives, more and more startups are getting funded. In Q1 2024, 103 aerospace startups received $6.5 billion in investments. Some recent investors’ darlings are Hadrian, which automates precision part manufacturing for space, secured $117 million in Series B funding in 2024; Skydio, a company developing advanced drone navigation technology, raised $230 million in 2023 Series E at $2.2 billion valuation; and Hermeus, a startup creating the world’s fastest commercial aircraft, raised $100 million in a Series B round in 2022.

Recent exits in aerospace 

The space industry saw nearly 50 exits over the last two decades. Among them are:

  • Intuitive Machines, providing space services and technologies, exited through SPAC in 2023 at a $1.2 billion valuation.
  • Terran Orbital, designing, building, and launching small satellites, secured $43 million and was valued at $1.6 billion. 
  • Planet, operating a fleet of Earth-imaging satellites, went public via SPAC in 2021 with $349 million total funding raised.
  • BlackSky Global, providing real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services, exited through IPO in 2021.
  • Rocket Lab, delivering small satellite launch services, was publicly traded through SPAC in 2021 at a $4.1 billion valuation. 

Notably, the space market has been closely watching Elon Musk’s Starlink. Musk mentioned in 2021 that they planned an IPO but were waiting for a more stable situation. Analysts now predict that Starlink will go public in 2025 or 2026.

Top aerospace accelerators and incubators

Accelerators and incubators are not only ready to pay for innovative ideas but also provide mentorship and networking opportunities. Check out the top aerospace accelerators and incubators:

  • Starburst Aerospace Accelerator connects startups with corporations, investors, and government agencies. They provide mentorship, industry expertise, and networking opportunities to help aerospace startups scale.
  • National Incubation Center for Aerospace Technologies supports the growth and development of aerospace startups through incubation programs, providing resources, mentorship, and access to industry networks.
  • Techstars Space Accelerator runs a 13-week mentorship-driven program in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Air Force.
  • AWS Space Accelerator is a four-week program offering technical, business, and mentorship support to space startups. 

Aerospace conferences 

If you want to network with aerospace industry leaders, stay updated on the latest space trends, and share knowledge, visiting these aerospace conferences is a must.

The IEEE Aerospace Conference is held annually in Montana, the US, to promote understanding of aerospace systems, science, and technology. 

The Wharton Aerospace Conference covers various aspects of aerospace, including market trends, investment strategies, and technological advancements. It’s an annual, by-invitation-only event held at the Wharton campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco. 

The Cowen Aerospace and Defense Conference is also a good choice if you want to discuss key space industry trends and market dynamics in aerospace and defence.

Two more aerospace conferences to consider are The Ankara International Aerospace Conference and The NSBE Aerospace Systems Conference. The first focuses on aerospace research, development, and collaboration, while the second touches on aerospace systems engineering, diversity in engineering, and professional development.

Overview of aerospace and space venture capital ecosystem

The aerospace industry is slowly but confidently getting back on track, showing robust resilience amidst the current turmoil, especially in early-stage ventures. 

Yes, macroeconomic factors like higher interest rates have reduced investors’ risk appetite, leading to only $17.9 billion in VC funds for the space sector in 2023, a 25% drop from 2022. However, a revival of VC activity is already at the doorstep. 

Governments ramp up their space capabilities. An unstable geopolitical situation has fueled governments’ desire to develop their own space programs. In 2023, a whopping $117 billion was spent on space initiatives globally, with America leading the chart—the US government poured $73.2 billion.

Among notable space programs are the Artemis II Mission, a mission involving NASA astronauts circling the Moon without landing, and India’s successful Chandrayaan-3 mission, which included a safe lunar landing, rover operations, and scientific experiments on the Moon’s surface. Increased government interest in the aerospace industry attracts more private and institutional investors, thus driving future market growth and innovation.

More private equity flows into aerospace. Ongoing international conflicts have necessitated investments in national security sectors. Over the past decade, aerospace and defence private equity firms have poured $286 billion into 1,779 ventures. This trend is further driven by the commercial success of companies like SpaceX, which has revived outside investments and increased private equity interest. 

M&A activity is heating up. Billion-dollar M&A deals, like those involving Maxar, Viasat, and Inmarsat, showcase the increasing consolidation and strategic value within the space industry. 

This fact means companies are joining forces to strengthen their positions against mega constellations like Starlink, OneWeb, and Amazon Kuiper. Consolidation is also expected in the earth observation sector. It’s driven by government demand for advanced imaging and the need for ill-fated SPAC-merged operators to sustain and drive revenue growth. 

Life-saving tech attracts aerospace venture capital. With more aerospace startups developing solutions to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges, new materials and drugs developed in space can transform the pharmaceutical and telecom industries. So, it’s no wonder aerospace VCs are jumping on board, eager to benefit from these innovations. 

What does it take to raise VC in aerospace?

To secure aerospace venture capital, you need more than just tracking aerospace industry trends and having an effective investor outreach strategy. You must also demonstrate a strong founder/market fit, a robust business plan and financial model, a clear competitive moat, and a clear roadmap for growth—all wrapped in an investor-appealing pitch deck.
If you feel overwhelmed, contact our expert team and join the ranks of hundreds of happy clients we’ve already helped secure over $3 billion in VC funds.

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Ruslana

CONTENT WRITER

Hello! I'm Ruslana, a Content Writer at Waveup. Based on my background in marketing research and business analytics, and my current collaboration with the savvy team at Waveup, I'm excited to share my insights and learnings with you.