Seraphim Capital has launched Space Camp Accelerator, the UK’s first dedicated accelerator programme for start-ups in the SpaceTech industry.

The programme is backed by both the UK and European space agencies as well as by corporate partners including the likes of Rolls Royce.

Additional backers include Seraphim Space Fund partners such as Airbus, Surrey Satellite Technology, SES and Telespazio, Space Camp.

The companies will work to help the best SpaceTech start-ups secure funding, achieve scale and foster close working relationships with industry leaders.

As the cost of building a launching a satellite has fallen from more than $100 million to less than $1 million in recent years, low-cost access to space has become a reality for start-ups and made the SpaceTech sector increasingly attractive to venture capital investors.

Seraphim Capital manages the £70 million Seraphim Space Fund, the world’s only venture capital fund specialising exclusively in SpaceTech investment.

The London-based venture capital firm has built Space Camp Accelerator according to a VC mind-set.

“Space is a $350 billion industry that underpins many elements of our everyday lives,” said Seraphim Capital CEO Mark Boggett.

“$2.5 billion was invested in SpaceTech start-ups by VCs globally in 2017, but those start-ups still need greater access to industry-specific advice and support.

“We’re turning the accelerator concept on its head. Investability is a prerequisite for the start-ups we invite to be part of the Space Camp Accelerator, not the endgame of their involvement as it might be for other programmes.

“We will connect start-ups to Seraphim Capital’s network of leading corporate investors and decision-makers, providing them with access to mentors, advisers, and partners to help them achieve tangible outcomes beyond funding – whether that’s working on a proof-of-concept or some other technology integration, or halving the time it takes them to get their technology into orbit.”

Six start-ups will be selected to join the programme, with a focus on identifying the best data-and-satellite-led businesses that are either addressing the biggest challenges facing corporates in the space industry or creating value for industries on earth, from transportation to agriculture to urban planning.

The nine-week programme will run twice annually, with the first cohort beginning on 8 May 2018 and the second following in September.

Dentons, the global law firm, will host the programme at its offices in London and will provide the cohort with facilities around the world as appropriate.

Start-ups within Seraphim Capital’s Space Fund portfolio will contribute to the Space Camp programme alongside corporate partners, providing the cohort with mentoring on technical and commercial issues, grounded in their own experience of growing SpaceTech businesses.

The corporates – including Space Camp Accelerator backers and partners of Space Fund – will provide access to facilities, resources and services, and set proof-of-concept and integration challenges.