6 mins read 05 Jul 2021

Gilmour Space Technologies Secures $61Million in Funding

Queensland-based Gilmour Space Technologies has secured the largest private investment by an Australian space company, announcing that it had closed a $61 million funding round to further extend its objectives of being a key launcher and leader in the Australian space ecosystem.

Gilmour Space Founders, (Left) Adam Gilmour and (Right) James Gilmour at their Gold Coast-based manufacturing facility. Credit: Gilmour Space

The success story of Gilmour Space Technologies continues to rocket into orbit, with a massive injection of Series C funding, to the value of \$61 million announced by the company last week, including support from Australian superannuation companies.  

The dream started in 2015 for Gilmour Space Technologies - as an idea, a dream of sending humans into space. Six years and three funding rounds later, Gilmour Space has raised \$87 million and has plans to develop a launch site at Abbot Point, build a scalable satellite platform the G-SAT, and launch their first orbital rocket  in the coming year 

Series A funding in 2017, saw Gilmour Space secure \$5 million and the support of Blackbird Ventures. This was quickly followed in 2018 with series B funding of \$19 million and the support of Main Sequence, a deep tech investment fund founded by CSIRO. 

Now, this series C funding will see both Blackbird Ventures and Main Sequence continue their support. They are joined by Superannuation funds HESTA, Hostplus, and NGS Super as well as US-based Fine Structure Ventures. 

“It’s fantastic to see the global support for our mission to build and launch lower-cost rockets and satellites to orbit,” said Gilmour Space CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Gilmour.   

Gilmour Space has secured a number of Australian and International customers in recent months, with Sydney based Space Machines Company, South Australia based Fleet Space Technologies, and US-based Momentus, all confirmed as launch customers. 

“We are excited to be making our first investment in Australia with Gilmour Space Technologies,” said Brett Rome, lead investor and Managing Partner at Fine Structure Ventures, a venture capital fund affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments.  

“The team at Gilmour is building the leading sovereign launch company in Australia, and utilising their innovative hybrid rocket engine to efficiently address the growing global demand for putting satellites into orbit,” he noted.  

“It was welcoming even from 2017 when our lead investor, Blackbird [an Australian Venture Capital] backed us and it's been great to see that reconfirmed with some of the significant investment from the locals that we've seen as part of this series C fundraise,” said Director and co-founder, James Gilmour. 

Development and Innovation

An Illustration of Gilmour Space Technologies, Eris rocket in space. Credit: Gilmour Space

Gilmour Space has big plans, with recent collaboration announcements showing that the company is aiming to be an integral part of the whole Australian space ecosystem.  

“This new investment will give us runway to launch our first orbital rocket in 2022. It will help us develop multiple Eris vehicles, grow our team from 70 to 120 in the next 12 months, build our sovereign space manufacturing capability for rockets and satellites, and facilitate a commercial spaceport in Queensland, where we hope to launch the world’s first hybrid rocket to space,” said Adam Gilmour. 

Earlier this year, Gilmour Space announced that it would be working with a number of other Australian space businesses to support its own goals of having a significant sovereign capability. Agreements with South Australian based DEWC Systems to support the development of, a payload for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (ISREW) and with US-based satellite company, Spacelink,  who are looking to develop a data relay network for Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) has helped to cement this vision. 

“I think through our success we're able to bring a lot of suppliers and people that are affiliated with us actually to space. All of our suppliers will essentially increase their technology readiness level when it comes to delivering potential capability into the space domain,” said James Gilmour on being an integral part of the Australian space ecosystem. 

“I think currently we've got about 300 suppliers that we've had to work with over the years to really get them up to a speed that we're able to be confident that they can go into the actual vehicle. Furthermore, which you don't typically see with other companies like large US primes, we actually invest into the local companies, accept failure and continue to actually work with them to get to a better outcome, because technically, what benefits us also benefits them.”

A Growing Space Sector

Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency (left), and Damien Walker, Director General of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (right) had to sign remotely.. - Credit: Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning

Gilmour is keen to be seen as more than a rocket company, supporting a whole ecosystem of suppliers and customers.

“Hostplus’ investment strategy is long-term focused, which is why we invest in Australian companies that develop life-changing technologies and innovations that will provide enduring economic and societal benefits,” said Hostplus CEO, David Elia. 

“This unique investment presents potential strategic benefits as we anticipate Gilmour’s valuation increasing, and we are delighted to support the exciting future ahead for Australia’s space industry.”  

“The Australian space industry is attracting significant investment, and Gilmour Space is leading the way. They are hiring, training, and building a new supply chain that is driving capabilities at scale across the whole space sector,” said Martin Duursma, a partner at Main Sequence.

The Queensland Government are also seeing the huge potential in the Australian Space Industry, having announced an MoU between themselves and the Australian Space Agency (ASA). 

According to Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles, the strategy aligned with agencies national priority areas and would recognise “our world-leading capabilities in hypersonics, robotics and automation, and respective research, development and commercialisation.” 

“Queensland’s space industry currently supports over 2000 full-time equivalent jobs and generates \$760 million in annual revenue,” Miles said. “And there’s a further \$500 million in value-added to downstream industries through the state’s world-class space-enabled services,” he finished. 

“I think it's great, I believe they've been working on that for a while. There's so much happening I think both in our state of QLD, but also across the country of Australia, and it's great to see that high-level commitment for engagement from the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and the Queensland Government,” said James Gilmour of the MoU announcement.

The MoU will provide a framework for mutual understanding regarding the common areas of interest for future cooperation to develop the space industry. It will also facilitate the interchange of information and nominate relevant points of contact for both the ASA and the Queensland Government. 

Gilmour Space, who have recently expanded their facility in Helensvale, supported the announcement. “The recent MOU is very much welcomed and we look forward to finding out more details about some of those specifics and potentially how we can accelerate that or support it,” said James Gilmour. 

“You know, [we are] really, demonstrating that we are growing and that it is a really exciting time for us. We'll continue to look to grow, and it's a really exciting time for people to register their interest on our website and hopefully look for an opportunity to play a part in literally taking Queensland and Australia to space. Join team Gilmour,” he concluded. 

You can register your interest here.