A new venture capital fund is born. Earth & Beyond Ventures (EBV) closed $70 million for investments in Israeli start-up companies in the fields of space and DeepTech that develop dual-use technologies, which have possible applications both on Earth as well as in space. In addition, the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA) will invest four dollars in each company in which the fund invests one dollar. EBV began their operation in late 2022 and are expected to invest in 6 – 7 companies each year. The plan is to provide seed funding to 40 early-stage companies.
The fund’s General Partners are Daniel Recanati, the founder of Rhodium Venture Capital, Dr. Israel Biran and Doron Zauer. The fund’s advisory committee (EBV) includes people with extensive experience in the space field and aviation such as the former CEO of the Aerospace Industry, Yossi Weiss, the head of the Technion’s Space Research Institute, Prof. Ehud Bacher and the former Minister of Science and Technology, Yizhar Shai.
Among the main investors of the fund are well-known international companies such as Corning USA, a world leader in the field of development and production of advanced materials, which previously developed the glass for the windows of the space shuttle in the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and serves as an official supplier of NASA for the past 5 decades. Kyocera, the Japanese electronics giant, Samtec, USA, a manufacturer of electronic communication components, and Spacecom, a communications company that provides satellite communication services. For many of the fund’s investors, this is their first official investment activity in Israel.
Deep-tech space technology has been interesting and growing field in recent years that encompasses some of the most cutting-edge and innovative technologies in the space industry. Some of the emerging trends in this sector include artificial intelligence and machine learning for spacecraft operations, advanced propulsion systems, smallSats and CubeSats (miniaturization of satellites for more affordable and efficient small satellite systems) and in-space manufacturing and assembly.
There are already some interesting Israeli companies in this sector such as CSpace which aim to create an “observation center” looking down at Earth using telescopes mounted on nanosatellites. Another interesting star up is Ramon.space. The company develops space-resilient, radiation-hardened software and hardware as well as supercomputers for the space sector. Such systems can be used to develop and update applications in real time in space, creating new possibilities for satellite payloads and deep space missions. Ramon.space artificial intelligence and machine learning-based technology is already used in satellites and on board more than 50 space missions.
StemRad, another Israeli start-up company in the space tech sector develops high-tech protective gear that reduces the risk for astronauts, as well as first responders, military personnel and medical teams operating closer to home. In 2018, StemRad signed an agreement with NASA to test the Israeli company’s flexible, polyethylene vests in space. The AstroRad vest, which protects bone marrow and other stem cell-rich organs in the abdominal and pelvic regions, was developed in conjunction with Lockheed Martin.