UK’s latest Space Propulsion Startup, Magdrive raises £1.4M to make Interplanetary Space Travel an affordable reality
– Magdrive raises £1.4m with backing from SpaceX’s original VC, Founders Fund and Innovate UK
– Magdrive is developing a revolutionary plasma thruster for the new space age
– Their first mission is to propel small satellites, an industry with 5000 satellites scheduled for launch in 2023
LONDON UK Magdrive today announced a new round of seed funding of £1.4m. This round of funding was led by Founders Fund with participation from Entrepreneur’s First, 7percent Ventures and Luminous Ventures. The round was also topped up by a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s public body for Research and Innovation.
“We are thrilled to back this innovative group out of the UK, there have been many attempts at small satellite propulsion innovation over the past decade, but they have been marginal improvements on pre-existing technology, Magdrive is the first step-change improvement offering the best of chemical and electric propulsion in a single system.” says Delian Asparouhov, principal at Founder’s Fund
“At 7percent we seek founding teams with ‘moonshot’ ambitions. With Magdrive this is not just a metaphor: their revolutionary plasma thruster will soon be powering satellites, but in future could take us to deep space. While the UK’s expertise in constructing satellites is world renowned, there has been far less focus on propulsion. In fact Great Britain is the only country to have successfully developed and then, in the 1970’s abandoned, an indigenous satellite launch capability, which undoubtedly curbed the UK’s space sector. So we’re excited to be backing Magdrive, one of a new generation of British space startups, which has the vision and ambition to become a world beating company in this burgeoning sector.”Andrew J Scott, Founding Partner, 7percent Ventures
This new round of funding will be used to accelerate the development of an in-orbit demonstration of the Magdrive plasma thruster at their Oxfordshire-based Lab at the European Space Agency Business Incubator.
Magdrive is on an exciting trajectory since forming only last September in 2019. They were accepted into the Entrepreneur First accelerator in April, accepted into the European Space Agency Incubator in June and secured the backing of Founders Fund, the first institutional investor in SpaceX. Magdrive is working with future customers to accelerate the path to the first in-orbit demo.
About Magdrive: Just as the jet engine transformed aviation, Magdrive will transform the space industry. Magdrive’s miniature thruster burns its propellant 100 times hotter than a rocket, and is contained by a unique magnetic field topology that confines a high density plasma.
Magdrive’s thrust and efficiency ratios are a generational leap ahead of any other existing electrical thrusters, which opens up the satellite industry to completely new types of space missions that were not possible before without resorting to much larger, expensive and heavier chemical thrusters. Fast and affordable Interplanetary space is a prime example.
The satellite industry was worth USD5 Billion in 2020, with 5000 satellites due to be launched as part of a series of mega constellations by the likes of Amazon’s Project Kuiper and OneWeb.
Magdrive is led by CEO Mark Stokes, a mechanical and deep learning engineer with a career in hands-on deep tech and aerospace and CTO, Dr Thomas Clayson, a plasma physicist and pulse power electronic engineer.
Mark Stokes – CEO