Spire enters $70m series C orbit

The Luxembourg Future Fund has committed capital to Spire as the nanosatellite company chooses the grand duchy as the location for its European headquarters.

US-based nanosatellites producer Spire attracted an undisclosed sum yesterday from the state-owned investment vehicle Luxembourg Future Fund (LFF) as part of a $70m series C round set to close later this month.

Other investors in the series C round have not yet been revealed.

LFF is a €150m ($177m) vehicle set up by Luxembourg government-owned economic development bank Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement and the EU-owned SME financing instrument European Investment Fund.

Founded in 2012 as Nanosatisfi, Spire operates a network of nanosatellites aimed at the maritime, aviation and meteorology sectors. The technology enables clients, for example, to track ships in remote locations where locating vessels has historically been difficult.

Spire also offers custom applications for areas such as signals intelligence. It builds two new devices per week on average and has launches scheduled for up to 18 months in advance at any given time.

The series C round will drive recruitment as the company opens its European headquarters in Luxembourg.

Spire previously obtained just over $80m in funding, including $40m in a series B round in 2015 led by Promus Ventures, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Jump Capital, RRE Ventures and Lemnos Labs.

In 2014, Spire secured $25m in a series A round led by RRE Ventures, with contributions from cybersecurity firm Qihoo 360, diversified conglomerate Mitsui’s investment subsidiary Mitsui Global Investment and Moose Capital.

Other shareholders include Beamonte Investments, Emerge, Shasta Ventures and Grishin Robotics.

Peter Platzer, chief executive of Spire, said: “We have been deeply impressed with the support, commitment, and expertise of Luxembourg when it comes to new space.

“Their robust yet supportive regulatory environment for new space companies, coupled with incredible open access to international talent and targeted investment vehicles, made Luxembourg an obvious choice for our expansion.

“We will be quickly building out our office here full of some the world’s best minds. Our talent team is looking forward to tapping into Luxembourg’s population of incredibly talented people in business and engineering.”

Étienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy for Luxemnbourg, said: “The Grand Duchy has a long-celebrated reputation for creating innovative partnerships with private aerospace companies.

“In 1985, Luxembourg became one of the founding shareholders of SES, a landmark for satellite telecommunications and now a world leader in this sector.

“By formalising our relationship with Spire, we continue our government’s three-decade history of attracting ground-breaking companies in this sector.”

See more from this Government Report: Luxembourg

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