Leaf Space closes Series A funding round
(13 January 2021 - Leaf Space) Leaf Space has announced it has completed its Series A financing round of €5 million, bringing its total funding to €10 million.
A contribution of €2 million came from Primo Space, the investment fund of Primomiglio SGR focused on investments in highly innovative companies in the space industry. The other €3 million of investment were between Whysol Investments, acting as lead investor, and RedSeed Ventures, an early-stage investor of the company that had already joined the equity round last spring.
Leaf Space will use the funding to further develop its ground segment services for microsatellite operators in the NewSpace economy and globally scale up its business. During the first trimester of 2021, the company plans to grow its operational ground stations from eight to 11 by deploying and activating stations in Sri Lanka, Canada and Australia. At the end of 2021, the company expects to have a total of 15 operational ground stations for its multi-customer Leaf Line service. In addition, the company will provide several other ground stations to its swiss client Astrocast, using the dedicated Leaf Key ground segment service.
Jonata Puglia, CEO and co-founder of Leaf Space said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Leaf Space. In a short space of time, Leaf Space has become an industry name and a key player in the NewSpace economy. It has shown to be capable of providing excellent ground segment services to satellite operators, from launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) all the way to decommissioning, but also in supporting launch vehicle operators. Having concluded this successful investment round shows the relative resilience of the sector, despite the ongoing pandemic, and allows the company to continue with its strong and swift development plan.
“Of course, we expect to see future challenges in the space industry as well as extraordinary projects with our customers, collaborators and partners, and we are proud to have Primo Space and our other investors on-board, who believe in our ambitious plans.”
Other developments in 2021 will include implementing services to further improve and simplify the operational use for customers and covering almost all of the protocols and communications schemes currently in use in the microsatellite market. This in turn will increase Leaf Space’s performance and capabilities to support future more complex mission.
Giorgio Minola, general partner at Primo Space said: “We believe that the ground segment is one of the most interesting sectors in the space economy and Leaf Space has already demonstrated its abilities to successfully operate in this arena. The funding provided to the company is aimed at enabling a significant global scale up of its service capabilities.”
The initial funding secured last spring allowed Leaf Space to kick-start the expansion of its infrastructure and service portfolio in 2020 with new ground stations in New Zealand, the Azores, North America and Bulgaria, in addition to extending the hardware and infrastructure already present in Spain and Italy. This expansion already enabled new missions and applications in the microsatellite sector.
Alberto Bitetto, founder and president of Whysol Investments said: “In addition to completing the Series A funding, we increase our commitment and participation by entering Leaf Space’s board of the company. Our aim is to support the co-founders and management in accelerating the roll-out of the new infrastructure and deployments, the service evolution and the development of the client base, focusing on competing at best in the international New Space race.”
“Leaf Space will use the new resources to continue its expansion and consolidate its position in one of the most strategic and growing markets worldwide,” commented Elisa Schembari, president of Leaf Space and managing partner at Redseed Ventures.
The ground segment services of Leaf Space currently support over 15 customers such as Astrocast, Pixxel, Virgin Orbit, D-Orbit and many others around the world. They use Leaf Space’s services to expand and consolidate their business, together with other important institutional customers such as the European Space Agency (ESA), Telespazio-Leonardo and the Indian Space Agency (ISRO). The continuous collaboration with high profile customers such as the ones mentioned, having high performance requirements, enable Leaf Space to improve and maintain the service at peak levels while maintaining maximum efficiency.
“The continuous development and improvement of Leaf Space’s services and technologies is of primary importance, facilitating and strengthening the already solid commercial base of the company,” said Puglia. “Most recently, the company has entered the telemedicine sector, with a pilot service to monitor Covid-19 patients at home based on satellite communication.”
Leaf Space’s ongoing network expansion aims to minimise latency of satellite data reception, managing to provide telemetry, tracking, and control (TT&C). It also plans to provide downlink services to satellites in sun synchronous and equatorial orbit (SSO) at least once per orbit.
Leaf Space S.r.l. is an Italian technology SME providing innovative Ground Segment services for microsatellites. The company was born from the vision of a group of aerospace engineers at the Politecnico di Milano: to build a "listening" network for microsatellites that could provide innovative and efficient services to satellite operators in the collection of data on the ground. The strategy of outsourcing the ground segment allows satellite operators to significantly reduce development and management costs by using the Leaf Line and Leaf Key services provided by Leaf Space.
The company has already been active in the market for several years, having activated communication services with various private and institutional space operators in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia.
Primomiglio SGR S.p.A. is a technology venture capital investment firm, specialized in early stage investments. Primomiglio currently manages the Barcamper Ventures fund, the Barcamper Ventures Lazio fund in partnership with the Regione Lazio in the digital industry and the Primo Space fund which invests in the new space economy.
Whysol Investments is an independent Investment Company specialized in the Energy Transition and Digital Transformation sectors. Founded in 2008 by Alberto Bitetto, with Giovanni Gios and Alberto Marcon, Whysol is specialized in club deal operations, with personal investment by partners. A model that enables direct investment in subsidiaries, operating with a hands-on approach and significant first-person involvement in asset and operational management.
RedSeed Ventures is an investment firm specialized in technology startups and SMEs, founded and managed by Elisa Schembari and Roberto Zanco. Among RedSeed's shareholders are Roberto Italia, who since 2017 has been Chairman of Avio S.p.A., a leading Italian company in the launcher and space propulsion sector, and Space Holding, an investment firm that has listed Avio S.p.A. on the Milan Stock Exchange via a SPAC.
RedSeed Ventures boasts a portfolio of seven innovative startups/SMEs. All the companies in its portfolio operate in highly technological sectors and are Italian, but serve global markets (in addition to the aerospace sector, RedSeed has invested in medical devices, industrial innovation, and the digital economy).