The Queensland government has made a multi-million-dollar investment in Gold Coast company Gilmour Space Technologies as part of its $61 million Series C round, the largest private equity raise by a space company in Australia.
The funding boost is being used to ramp up headcount and rocket and satellite manufacturing, with a goal to launch an orbital rocket next year.
On Thursday, Queensland treasurer Cameron Dick revealed that the state government had backed the company with an undisclosed amount through the state’s Investment Corporation and the Queensland Business Investment Fund.
A spokesperson for the treasurer declined to reveal the amount on commercial in confidence grounds but the Business Investment Fund band puts it between $2.5-and-10 million.
The Queensland Business Investment Fund invests directly in local businesses and is not a grant or a loan. It is made in businesses with significant growth potential and job creation opportunities, and are approaching profitability over the investment period.
“Our investment in Gilmour Space Technologies is the first made through the Queensland Investment Corporation and our Business Investment Fund, which aims to support job creation and innovation from small-and-medium-sized businesses as we deliver our plan for economic recovery from COVID-19,” Mr Dick said in a statement.
The treasurer said the investment complement’s the state government’s strategic push to develop the space sector.
“We aim to position Queensland as the nation’s ‘space coast’ and Australasia’s leading centre for launch activities, ground systems, Earth observation, niche manufacturing, robotics and space automation.
“Our injection of growth capital into Gilmour Space through the Business Investment Fund will fuel our race to win its share of the $1 trillion global space economy.”
Last year the Queensland government launched a five-year $8 million Space Industry Strategy to make the state Australia’s “space coast” and create 6000 jobs.
The strategy includes a commitment to support businesses “working in space industry to reach larger markets domestically and abroad”, and the government has committed to develop launch infrastructure, including a launch pad in the Whitsunday region.
Local leader Gilmour Space launched its first hybrid-engine rocket in 2016 and, armed with new funding, is planning an orbital launch next year.
“This investment will directly support the growth of Australia’s sovereign space and manufacturing capabilities,” Gilmour Space Technologies chief executive and co-founder Adam Gilmour
“It will help us work with more local suppliers, hire more graduates, and retrain more skilled workers from other industries to help us build and launch Australian-made rockets and satellites from Queensland.”
Mr Gilmour co-founded the Brisbane based company with his brother James in 2012. It has gone on to secure agreements with the Defence Force and launch deals with Australian and international customers.
Last month the company announced a $61 million series C funding round, led by US-based Fine Structure Ventures, Australian venture capital firms Blackbird and Main Sequence and Australian superannuation funds.
The round more than tripled the company’s funding raised to date to $87 million.
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