10 Billionaires (Such as Gates and Zuckerberg) Who Invest in Space-Related Business
The number of commercial space-related startups has been drastically increasing since 2009 while space-related business is becoming active. According to the data provided by a space-related investment network “Space Angels”, the number of independent startups that succeeded in fundraising increased from 33 companies to 225 between 2009 and 2015.
New investment opportunities to “search for space adventures” attract billionaires (people with a net worth of more than $1 billion) around the world. 16 billionaires among the world’s 500 billionaires invest in space-related business. (a Bloomberg’s article dated on August 21, 2017)
Here are 10 billionaires who invest in space-related business, including the likes of as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg.
1. Bill Gates Invests in Kymeta Specializing in the Next Generation Satellite Systems
Kymeta, founded in Seattle in 2012, develops systems for high-bandwidth satellite communications and specializing in the next generation of mobile satellite systems.
Gates invested in Kymeta twice; the first in a venture fund round (raised $20 million in December 2014) and the second in a Series D fund round (raised $60 million in January 2016).
2. Jeff Bezos Invests in a Rocket Company Launched by Him, “Blue Origin”
The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has longed for space since he was a child, and finally launched his rocket company, Blue Origin. “Crew Capsule 2.0”, which was developed to bring astronauts into space, had a successful flight for the first time in December 2017. (a TechCrunch article dated on December 13, 2017)
According to data provided by CB Insights, founded in Seattle in 2011, Bezos is the only individual investor while the rest investors are NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
3. Elon Musk Invests in Space X Heading for Mars in the First Half of 2019
The CEO Musk, who made a sensation with PayPal and Tesla, founded Space X that manages the transportation for spacecraft in California in 2002 back when the space boom had not started yet.
The first big rocket “Falcon Heavy” was launched successfully in February 2018. He also has plans to launch a big rocket “BFR” heading for Mars in the first half of 2019. (a CNBC article dated on March 11, 2018) Musk also invested $100,000 in a seed funding round in March 2006, and the major companies such as Google and Fidelity Investments participated in a Series E funding round (raised $1.1 billion in January 2015).
4. Mark Zuckerberg Invests in “SETI” (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, developed an ultra high-speed tiny probe “nano craft” together with with a genius physicist Stephen Hawking who just passed away in March 2018 and a Russian’s billionaire Yuri Milner. Zuckerberg also invests in the SETI project to explore non-solar system planets and life.
5. Larry Page Invests in Planetary Resources Aiming for Asteroid Mining
The CEO of Alphabet, Page joined in a Series A funding round (the amount of funding in January 2012 unreleased) for Planetary Resources aiming for asteroid mining along with the executive chairman of Alphabet, Eric Schmidt and others.
Planetary Resources, founded in Seattle in 2010, raised $50.03 million between 2012 and 2016.
6. Richard Branson Invests in Space Tourism Company “Virgin Galactic”
Richard Branson, the chairman of Virgin Group, a global conglomerate, launched a space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, in New York in 2004. Glide flight tests had been suspended for three years after a tragic accident occurred in 2014, killing a co-pilot. The flight tests, however, resumed in 2017. (a TechCrunch article dated on July 5, 2017) Branson also founded Virgin Orbit, a subsidiary logistics company providing launch services for small satellites.
7. Li Ka-shing Invests in Maritime Data Platform “Windward”
Li Ka-shing is Hong-Kong’s wealthiest billionaire, ranking 23rd in the “Forbes World’s Billionaires” list and owning a net worth of $35.4 billion (as of March 16, 2018). Windward was founded in Tel Aviv in 2010 and runs the space business invested by the founder and chairman of Cheung Kong, the biggest corporate group in Hong Kong. Windward provides platforms to collect maritime data from ships.
Li Ka-shing invested in a Series A fund round (raised $10.08 million in April 2015) via Horizons Ventures founded by him.
8. Ma Huateng Invests in Moon Express that Is the First Private Company to Acquire a Permission to Land on the Moon
Ma Huateng, CEO of Tencent, is ranked 17th in the “Forbes World’s Billionaires” list and is the China’s wealthiest billionaire because of the company’s rapid growth. He has invested in Moon Express, which was founded in Florida in 2010.
Moon Express is the first private company to acquire permission from the government to land on the moon. The company also participated in “Google Lunar XPRIZE”, a competition sponsored by Google to challenge private companies to be the first to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon.
Ma Huateng invested in a Series B fund round (raised $16.5 million in September 2014) via a Tencent’s venture, Tencent Holdings.
9. & 10. Sheldon Adelson and Lynn Schusterman Invests in SpaceIL to Become the First Israeli Landing on the Moon
Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of casino resort company Las Vegas Sands, and Lynn Schusterman, the chairman of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, a charity organization, both invested in “SpaceIL”, a non-profit organization in Tel Aviv.
SpaceIL was founded in 2010 with one mission: to make the first Israeli landing on the moon. The foundation raised $22.4 million in a fund round in April 2014.