Christchurch, NZ – Icehouse Ventures has made one of its largest-ever investments in a
New Zealand company. The $20 million backing of space-transportation company Dawn
Aerospace also attracted support from GD1 and Movac.
Dawn is creating a sustainable, integrated space-transportation network. Valued at NZ$170
million, the company provides in-space propulsion technology for satellites, with systems on
eight operational spacecraft. The company is also flight-testing a spaceplane technology
demonstrator, the Dawn Mk-II Aurora, in New Zealand’s South Island. To date, the Mk-II has
operated using jet engines – rocket-powered flight is expected to commence in the first
quarter of 2023.
The $20 million will allow the company based in New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the US
to expand its offering of satellite propulsion systems and spaceplane development, Dawn
Aerospace co-founder and CEO, Stefan Powell said. “The funding announced today will
support new endeavours, including developing the Mk-III, an orbital spaceplane, and
delivering in-space propulsion products to GEO, lunar and higher-thrust customers,” he said.
“We are grateful to Icehouse Ventures and our other investors for backing the future of our
company and space technology.”
“Thousands of space tech companies have raised billions of dollars, yet very few have
actually been to space or generated revenue,” said Robbie Paul, Icehouse Ventures CEO.
“Dawn’s technical and commercial traction is a testament to the founders and their amazing
team. More importantly, the traction continues to widen their competitive moat and that’s why
we’ve invested >$10m in this round.”
“We’ve always placed strategic importance on getting to customer revenue – with hardware
on orbit – fast,” said James Powell, Dawn co-founder and CFO. “In the space start-up world,
most don’t get anything flying without hundreds of millions in investment. Prior to this round,
Dawn had more money come from sales than venture capital. With $22m of deals closed in
2022 and another $150m in negotiation, it won’t be long until propulsion sales resume
bringing in more cash than VC.”
As a result of the raise, a new board seat has been established. “Today, we welcome Anna
Kominik to our board. Anna’s capability and ethos are hugely respected in our industry, and
we’re thrilled to have her join our team,” said Stefan Powell. Kominik is the former Director of
Wisk’s Asia Pacific operation and a former Director of the Vertical Flight Society International
Dawn recently won Best Medium Enterprise at the New Zealand International Business
Awards and the Product category at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
About Dawn Aerospace
Based in the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States, Dawn Aerospace’s mission
is to enable the next generation of space users by providing dramatically more scalable and
sustainable ways to access and move around in space. It is now a leading supplier of
turnkey green propulsion systems for NanoSat, MicroSat, ESPA, and ESPA Grande-class
satellites. Dawn is also active in reusable launch vehicle development, with an active test
flight program of the Mk-II Aurora spaceplane demonstrator, with 40+ flights completed.
Dawn was founded in 2017 by Stefan Powell, Tobias Knopp, Robert Werner, Jeroen Wink
and James Powell.
On Thursday the 12th of October, during the Space Week NL 2023, NVR - Young Professionals Committee, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and SpaceNed Young Professionals will organize an event specifically for you! As we are convinced that the next generation...