NZ-Dutch startup Dawn Aerospace raises $3.35m round led by Tuhua Ventures

New Zealand Flag. Photo: Reuters

Dawn Aerospace, a New Zealand-Dutch startup that builds reusable rockets for satellite delivery, has raised $3.35 million in a funding round led by New Zealand-focused Tuhua Ventures, according to an announcement.

The financing round was joined by Aera VC and Erik Swan, founder of Splunk, a company that provides software and cloud services and is valued at more than $20 billion. Swan will join Dawn Aerospace’s board after the round.

The satellite maker plans to use the latest funding to commercialize its satellite propulsion systems and begin development of its Mk-II Spaceplane, said co-founder Stefan Powell said.

“We were able to attract investment from New Zealand, Europe, and the USA which tells us there is a global need out there not currently being fulfilled. The round was highly oversubscribed, which was a nice vote of confidence,” said Powell.

The company’s reusable rockets are capable of multiple flights per day and are designed to carry small satellites into the space. Dawn Aerospace also makes propulsion systems for small satellites to allow them to manoeuver once in space.

Dawn’s Mk-I spaceplane completed testing in August. Development of the Mk-II started with support from Callaghan Innovation and expected to take its first flight in 2020.

According to Modor Intelligence, the global small satellite market or smallsat market was valued at $2.69 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach $6.91 billion by 2023.

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