Porsche may be a Volkswagen brand, but it is also the name of the family behind Porsche SE, the holding company that owns more than 30% of the car group. Without them, the group would not exist and their choices have a huge impact on the decisions of the European car industry. Last week, Porsche SE made a new investment that is, to say the least, unprecedented.
Porsche SE – and Volkswagen for that matter – led a €75 million round of funding in the startup Isar Aerospace. The company is currently Europe’s most coveted nugget in the aerospace industry. Its objective: to manufacture reusable launchers like SpaceX in order to become a major European player and prepare for the market explosion.
Space, a challenge for the automotive sector
In an article published by CNN Business, the British journalists spoke of a “modest agreement but a notable decision”, to evoke this strategic choice for the Porsche family. Never before had their investment portfolio included space companies. But the interest is already mentioned in a press release published by the German startup.
“Space will become a key technology platform for many industries around the world – from the automotive sector to the telecommunications sector – bringing advances and new capabilities for the Internet of Things (IoT), data encryption and storage as well as smart farming applications and monitoring to combat global warming,” Isar Aerospace said.
“We are convinced that cost-effective and flexible access to space will be a catalyst for innovation in many industrial sectors,” confirmed Lutz Meschke, Porsche SE’s director of investment management, in a statement.
Far behind SpaceX or BlueOrigin, Isar Aerospace remains the best financed startup in Europe in this field. Since its creation, it has received 180 million dollars from investors. Airbus and its venture capital arm and former SpaceX executive Bülent Altan were involved in earlier funding rounds. According to Porsche SE, its recent fundraising will only give it a “low single-digit percentage stake”.
The first full-scale liftoff for Isar Aerospace is scheduled for next year with the Spectrum (two-stage) launch vehicle. “This funding means even more firepower to invest in our infrastructure and further strengthen our leadership position,” the startup said.