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EC launches CASSINI space fund

‘Game changer’ fund will mean start-ups looking to scale won’t need to turn to non-EU investors


Pete Carvill

The European Commission (EC) has announced the beginning of its Cassini Space investment project, to be run in cooperation with the European Investment Fund (EIF).

In a speech given by commissioner Thierry Breton at the 14th EU Space Conference, the fund was announced as having an investment capacity of a minimum of €1bn. It will look to help start-ups that want to scale their businesses.

Breton said: “Europe is not short of vibrant start-ups that have disruptive ideas and technologies. But many of our start-ups cannot get sizeable equity investment in the EU once they need to scale up. They have no choice but to turn to non-EU investors. This is a major loss for Europe. The Cassini Fund will be a game changer.”

He added: “It will be complemented by a debt instrument through the EIB, to make sure that new space companies get access to loans, in particular when they are not accessible from traditional sources.”

According to the Cassini website, the project has three key features—access to finance, business development and networks, and prizes and competitions.

Under the second of those is Cassini Matchmaking, which the EC calls ‘Europe-wide networking for new business opportunities’.

The EC says: “[It] will feature a series of matchmaking events for start-ups and SMEs starting in Q2 2022. By participating in matchmaking events, you will expand your professional networks and find new product development partners, customers, and investors. Each event will offer opportunities for both industrial partnering with large corporations and matchmaking with investors.”

There will also be the Cassini Business Accelerator, which will be a six-month intensive action that offers top-level business coaching, training, events, and seed funding to help startups and scale-up companies. It is set to be launched later this year.