Space startup funding rounds lift Seraphim’s investment portfolio

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun6,2024

TAMPA, Fla. — Seraphim said June 6 the total value of early-stage space investments in its publicly traded trust increased 1.4% to 201 million pounds ($257 million), despite a hit from debris removal venture Astroscale’s discounted initial public offering.

Japan’s Astroscale sold shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange June 5 for roughly 40% less than during a private financing round late last year, London-listed Seraphim Space Investment Trust (SSIT) reported amid financial results for the first three months of the year.

SSIT reduced the valuation of its interest in Astroscale by nearly four million pounds as a result, although its less-than-5% stake in the venture still only represents 2.6% of the total value ascribed to the trust’s investment portfolio.

The trust also marked down the value of its interest in direct-to-smartphone satellite developer AST SpaceMobile by 1.2 million pounds following share price declines in the three months to March 31. AST SpaceMobile’s shares have since rebounded after announcing a commercial arrangement with U.S. telco AT&T, and the stock is currently up more than 92% from where it was at the start of the year.

“Although the issue price of Astroscale’s IPO was somewhat disappointing, it did enable Astroscale to achieve a heavily oversubscribed IPO,” said Seraphim Space CEO Mark Boggett.

Astroscale’s shares also leapt soon after their debut, which Boggett said put the trust’s holding in the firm close to its previous implied fair value. The stock began trading at 850 yen ($5.46) per share and closed at 1,375 yen June 5, but it sunk to 1,101 yen the next day.

Still, Boggett said Astroscale’s IPO reflected the continued appetite of public markets for space- companies, “which we believe augurs well for other portfolio companies that are contemplating their own potential public offerings over the coming years.”

Astroscale is the fourth SSIT investment to go public since the trust’s own IPO in July 2021 — either via a traditional IPO process like the Japanese venture or by merging with a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company), a shell company that lists on a stock exchange in search of an investment.

CompanyShare of Net Asset ValueIceye20.2%D-Orbit14.8%All.Space10.7%HawkEye 3609.5%LeoLabs5.8%SatVu4.8%Xona Space Systems3%Astroscale2.6%PlanetWatchers2.1%Tomorrow.io1.8%Seraphim Space Investment Trust’s top 10 holdings by share of net asset value. Source: SSIT

SSIT said Italian space logistics firm D-Orbit’s $110 million funding round in January helped drive its overall fair value gain, along with the $19 million raised last month by Californian satellite navigation venture Xona Space Systems.

According to SSIT, Astroscale’s impact on the portfolio’s total valuation was also offset by favorable currency exchange rates and an increase in the valuation for its investment in Spire Global due to continued share price increases at the Vienna, Virginia constellation operator.

About 72% of the trust’s portfolio by fair value is funded for at least 12 months, the company added, and 61% is fully funded.

In April, SSIT sold its stakes in all nine companies it had invested in since going public to Seraphim Space Ventures II, Seraphim Space’s new $100 million fund focused on very early-stage businesses.

The trust took a share of Seraphim Space Ventures II worth 3.8 million pounds to reflect the value of the startups, assessed by an independent valuation agent.

Will Whitehorn, SSIT’s chair, said the decision enables the trust to concentrate cash resources on its more mature growth assets.

“We remain increasingly positive about the prospects for the portfolio in 2024, and we are satisfied that SSIT continues to have the cash reserves required to meet the anticipated funding needs of the portfolio for the year ahead and beyond,” he said.

SSIT reported 25.7 million pounds in cash reserves as of March 31.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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