Milan-based spacetech startup Leaf Space secures €5 million funding

Leaf Space, the Italian company focused on microsatellites, has announced a Series A financing round of €5 million, bringing its total funding to €10 million. A contribution of €2 million came from Primo Space, the investment fund of Primomiglio SGR focused on investments in highly innovative companies in the space industry. The other €3 million of investment were contributed between Whysol Investments, acting as lead investor, and RedSeed Ventures, an early-stage investor of the company that had already joined the equity round last spring.

Founded in 2014, Leaf Space is focused on creating satellite telecommunications as-a-service, in order to assist clients with their satellite operations by managing and procuring the entire ground segment system through a complete set of services, including time shared access to ground, customize telecommunication solutions, ground station procurement, consultancy and backup services. This outsourcing strategy for communications significantly reduces cost and development time for any small satellite operator, turning ‘ground segment’ into a predictable recurring cost.

The ground segment services of Leaf Space currently support over 15 customers such as Astrocast, Pixxel, Virgin Orbit, D-Orbit and many others around the world. They use Leaf Space’s services to expand and consolidate their business, together with other important institutional customers such as the European Space Agency (ESA), Telespazio-Leonardo and the Indian Space Agency (ISRO). 

Leaf Space will use the fresh funds to further develop its ground segment services for microsatellite operators in the ‘NewSpace’ economy and globally scale up its business. During the first trimester of 2021, the company plans to grow its operational ground stations from eight to 11 by deploying and activating stations in Sri Lanka, Canada and Australia. At the end of 2021, the company expects to have a total of 15 operational ground stations for its multi-customer Leaf Line service. In addition, the company will provide several other ground stations to its swiss client Astrocast, using the dedicated Leaf Key ground segment service.

Jonata Puglia, CEO and co-founder of Leaf Space said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Leaf Space. In a short space of time, Leaf Space has become an industry name and a key player in the NewSpace economy. It has shown to be capable of providing excellent ground segment services to satellite operators, from launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) all the way to decommissioning, but also in supporting launch vehicle operators. Having concluded this successful investment round shows the relative resilience of the sector, despite the ongoing pandemic, and allows the company to continue with its strong and swift development plan.”

“Of course, we expect to see future challenges in the space industry as well as extraordinary projects with our customers, collaborators and partners, and we are proud to have Primo Space and our other investors on-board, who believe in our ambitious plans.”

Giorgio Minola, general partner at Primo Space said: “We believe that the ground segment is one of the most interesting sectors in the space economy and Leaf Space has already demonstrated its abilities to successfully operate in this arena. The funding provided to the company is aimed at enabling a significant global scale up of its service capabilities.”

The startup’s initial funding secured last spring allowed Leaf Space to kick-start the expansion of its infrastructure and service portfolio in 2020 with new ground stations in New Zealand, the Azores, North America and Bulgaria, in addition to extending the hardware and infrastructure already present in Spain and Italy.