Expanding frontiers

The down to earth guide to investing in space

We are delighted to share our report, produced in association with the UK Space Agency. It seeks to help private capital investors better understand the space investment landscape, and the key dynamics and trends underpinning it. It also highlights the diversity of investment opportunities across the sector and the UK’s prominent position as a destination of global space capital.

The insights have been developed through our shared experience in the sector, extensive stakeholder engagement and desktop research, with evidence sources presented where possible.

 In association with:

UK Space Agency logo

Think 'space industry', and you might be forgiven for thinking of astronauts, rocket launches and the tourism ventures of billionaires. It is less recognised for its significant role as the ‘hidden utility’ underpinning our daily lives and economy, supporting an estimated £370bn of UK GDP every year.

The economic contribution of space internationally is predominately driven by around 5,000 active satellites helping to tackle some of our greatest global challenges - including the transition to a low carbon economy, digitisation of industries, tackling food insecurity and alleviating pressure for future mobility solutions.

The global space sector is now worth over $469bn, with 77% accounted for by the commercial market. Analysts project future growth of up to 11% per annum.

In total, over $47bn of private capital has been invested across the global space sector since 2015, growing on average 21% per year. The UK has been a key hotspot, receiving 17% of this inflow, making it the second most attractive destination - only behind the US.

This capital was deployed into more than 600 companies operating across three stages of the space value chain, which helps to highlight the diverse ecosystem of companies and business models of the sector. This includes:

  • Upstream: Spacecraft manufacturing and launch vehicles. $22.6bn deployed across 210 companies
  • Midstream: Spacecraft operations and in-orbit management. $5.6bn deployed across 152 companies
  • Downstream: Spacecraft-derived data, applications and services. $19.6bn deployed across 267 companies in three primary areas: earth observation (EO), satellite communications and connectivity (SatCom), and satellite position, navigation & timing (PNT)

Whilst from our experience some perceive space as a market just for specialist investors, capital from across the investor spectrum has targeted the sector, for example:

  • The number of unique investors into space companies grew from 274 to 558 between 2020 and 2022
  • At the peak of space investing in 2021, 63% of all space investors were new to the sector
  • 13 of the largest 15 venture capital firms and 8 of the largest 15 private equity firms in the world have invested in space sector companies
  • 64% of corporate investment into the space sector came from non-aerospace and defence companies in 2022 – with increasing interest across technology, telecommunications, media, financial and automotive sectors among others

The growing investor base is also contributing to the prevalence of exit opportunities, with 163 space sector exit events since 2015 through private and public markets.

The UK has a rich heritage of commercial space innovation and hosts a dynamic industrial base of over 1,500 space companies, taking advantage of the UK’s talent pool, world leading infrastructure and access to export markets. The UK space sector continues to be open for business, and we hope you find this report useful. We welcome continued engagement with investors across the UK and overseas who are exploring opportunities to deploy capital across this dynamic and fast-growing market.

“This report will, I hope, shift perceptions about space, the opportunities it generates, and how investors can benefit society while generating attractive returns. There has never been a better time to invest in this incredible sector”

Craig Brown,Investment Director, UK Space Agency

“Our analysis shows that there are opportunities for investors of all stripes; the industry contains asset-light and technology-driven businesses, as well as infrastructure assets and supporting services businesses, all of which stand to benefit from the significant growth of the global space industry.”

Matt Alabaster,Partner, PwC Strategy& UK

Contact us

Matthew Alabaster

Matthew Alabaster

Partner, PwC, Strategy& UK

Dan Osrin

Dan Osrin

Senior Manager, PwC, Strategy& UK

Tel: +44 (0)7483 352978

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