A Bristol business that is developing a reusable
manufacturing satellite that will enable materials to be built in space has
secured £250,000 worth of funding, including backing from a dozen of Bristol’s
The funding will enable Space Forge, which started in a
garage in Bradley Stoke, Bristol to expand into laboratories in Bristol and
Wales and recruit 10 members of staff within the next 12 months.
Space Forge founders Joshua Western and Andrew Bacon secured
£150,000 of funding from Bristol Private Equity Club with 12 members investing
in the futuristic project.
That deal will also unlock a grant of £100,000 from Innovate
UK’s Regional Angel Investment Accelerator through Bristol-based SETSquared.
Space Forge is part of a clean industrial revolution that
will enable a huge variety of materials to be manufactured in space, causing
less impact to the world’s environment. Alloys and crystals for use in computing
and telecoms, pharmaceutical products and fibre-optics are among the first items
to be manufactured in this way.
Joshua Western, Chief Executive, said: “We are a space
company looking to manufacture next generation materials in space. Some of the
materials we aim to manufacture ourselves but we will also be offering it as a
service to others”.
The microgravity found in space makes crystals grow larger
and alloys mix better. There is also free access to the natural high vacuum of
space and very cold temperatures: both of which are important in manufacturing.
Ultimately by leaving the gravity of Earth, Space Forge will be able to make
billions of new alloys and other materials that can achieve efficiencies that are
not possible today. Despite the burden of accessing space, Space Forge’s are
targeting applications which will prevent megatonnes of CO2 from
ever reaching the atmosphere.
Space Forge currently have a link up with a rocket company
that would launch from New Zealand but they aim eventually to be launching the
manufacturing satellites from sites in the UK such as Cornwall.
The manufacturing satellites would circle the earth for
between two weeks and six months, depending on the process being undertaken,
before returning to earth to be reused. This would make them the first ever
reusable satellites that do not need a space shuttle to catch and return them.
Jerry Barnes, founder of Bristol Private Equity Club, said:
“This is exactly the type of innovative and entrepreneurial business that our
members look for. We can see that it has the potential to be incredibly
successful and change the world. There are only three businesses in the world
working on this and for Bristol to be the base of the only one in Europe is
“Space Forge presented their ideas to our members and 12 of
them wanted to get involved. Among those investing are Peter Stirling of
Stirling Dynamics and Rupert Atkinson, who has worked with technology
start-ups, who will add their expertise to the project.”
Cook Corporate acted for BPEC in finalising the deal. BPEC comprises
like-minded and highly-successful entrepreneurs who have run companies in a
wide range of different sectors and understand the trials and tribulations that
come with starting and growing a business. They bring their varied skills and
experiences to the Bristol business community, providing opportunities for the
next generation of entrepreneurs to pitch for investment.
under four years BPEC members have invested £6.7 m in 23 local businesses,
including smartphone developers OKKO and innovators of an ‘electronic nose’ to
detect hazardous gases and pollutants, Anaphite.
Issued on behalf of Bristol Private Equity Club by Empica