ispace, along with IF SPV 1st Investment Partnership (managed by Incubate Fund) as the lead investor, Space Frontier Fund (managed by Sparks Innovation for Future), Takasago Thermal Engineering, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, announced that approximately $28 million has been raised in the firm’s Series B investment round.
This brings ispace’s cumulative total investment to approximately $125 million, including its Series A investment of approximately $95 million, as well as its seed investment. ispace plans to apply the funds toward the development of its commercial lunar lander for its first mission and second mission planned to launch in 2022 and 2023, respectively, as well as to increase the size of its lander for its third mission and beyond.
Incubate Fund is one of Japan’s leading venture capital funds, which has been supporting ispace with investments from the company’s seed stage. Space Frontier Fund is a space-focused fund that was launched in May 2020 with investment from Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, and others.
Takasago Thermal Engineering and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, which, in addition to investing in ispace’s Series B round, are also Corporate Partners of ispace’s HAKUTO-R program; Takasago Thermal Engineering. is planning to test its water electrolysis (water-splitting) technology on the Moon, while Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance is designing lunar insurance to support future business risks on the Moon.
In conjunction with its Series B investment announcement, ispace also launched a new lunar data business concept, labeled “Blueprint Moon,” a planned data-centric platform through which the company aims to support customers with lunar market entry. The company outlined its vision to collect lunar data (i.e., imaging, environmental data, telemetry, resources information, etc.) and apply it to tools and applications, which can be provided as a service to potential customers (i.e., government space agencies, universities, research institutions, and private companies) for mission planning and lunar surface development.
The company has already begun to develop tools using publicly available data from government space agencies as a basis for this platform, which can be enriched with data from ispace’s future missions, starting with its first mission.
This new business concept was launched in anticipation for increased activity and permanent human presence on the Moon in the coming years, which ispace believes could generate economic activity. Complementing the company’s existing payload service, this planned lunar data business is aimed at enabling ispace to help companies to both design and deliver their business to the Moon.
The company expects this new business and its payload business to be important earnings drivers for ispace in the mid-term.