Sven Meyer-Brunswick, Principal at Alpine Space Ventures and our interview partner. Here at the NASDAQ IPO of Munich-based space specialist Mynaric in 2021

A talk with… space investor Alpine Space Ventures

Alpine Space Ventures is a venture capitalist in the New Space sector. The VC invests in the most promising technologies related to space-based connectivity and data. We introduce you to the investor in this interview with Sven Meyer-Brunswick, Principal at Alpine Space Ventures.

Munich Startup: Please briefly introduce Alpine Space Ventures.

Sven Meyer-Brunswick, Principal at Alpine Space Ventures: Alpine Space Ventures is a venture capital fund that focuses on startups related to the space industry. We finance companies that want to operate or provide equipment in space as well as those that use space data to serve terrestrial markets.

Our team consists of experienced managers from the aerospace industry who are deeply embedded in the international scene. Our founding partner Bulent Altan, for example, was one of the first senior engineers at SpaceX and, together with his team, was responsible for the control electronics of the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and the Dragon capsule, as well as for the first prototypes of the Starlink satellite constellation. I was with the Munich-based space company Mynaric for a long time, where I raised growth capital from investors and implemented the company’s IPOs before moving to Alpine Space Ventures last year. As a team, we have more than 50 years of experience in building teams, products and companies in the space sector. Accordingly, the CVs of the other team members are similar. This wealth of experience and a very market-oriented mindset is what sets us apart.

Market orientation instead of science fiction

Munich Startup: What do you preferably invest in?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: We invest in startups that are driving the commercial use of space and teams that focus on industrial and earth-related applications rather than sci-fi when they think about space. Our focus is on Seed and Series A stage companies that are working on a tangible solution to an existing customer problem with a clearly identifiable international market. Our initial investment is typically in the range of 1 to 5 million euros.

Munich Startup: What kind of startup would you never invest in?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: Projects and founders that are better off in academia than in the private sector. We are investing in the sector because we see significant economic potential in the coming years and a huge opportunity to actively shape one of the most valuable industries in monetary and strategic terms. We also expect this business mindset from our founders.

Munich Startup: How do you scout startups?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: We scout startups through our extensive network in the space industry, including partnerships with incubators, research institutions and other venture capital firms. We also use industry conferences, competitions and referrals to identify promising companies. Our mailbox is also always open.

Alpine Space Ventures: “We offer our perspectives”

Munich Startup: Do startups have to be afraid that you will interfere too much?

Bulent Altan, founding partner at Alpine Space Ventures, in front of the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket on Kwajalein Atoll, 2006

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: We see ourselves as partners who share their extensive industry experience and expertise to support startups on their growth path. The ultimate decision always lies with the startup’s management team. We offer our perspectives, which must then be evaluated by the startup team in the context of their own strategies and goals. Not more, not less.

Munich Startup: To be successful, a startup must…

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: ... above all, have identified an urgent market need with customers who are willing to pay.

Munich Startup: Tell us the knockout criterion for the pitch!

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: “We expect the first prototype around 2030 and will be able to generate sales from 2035.”

Munich Startup: What have you miscalculated in the past?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: Not so much in the fund, but in our previous management roles in the space industry, we have learned and taken away a lot in terms of product maturity. It is two completely different things to build space systems and solutions once using significant resources and to produce or offer them in series in a cost-efficient manner and with consistent quality. This aspect is underestimated by many startups and investors. 

“Space activities that we could only dream of before become possible”

Munich Startup: The trend of the year is…?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: Starship. We are about to open a new chapter in humanity’s technological progress with SpaceX’s mega rocket. Space activities are becoming possible that we could previously only dream of. With the US startup K2 Space, we already have an investment in our portfolio that is specifically focused on this new reality.

Munich Startup: What is the Munich startup scene doing right from an investor’s perspective? What could it do better?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: A very potent ecosystem has grown up in Munich in recent years with UnternehmerTUM, TUM Venture Labs, Space Founders, the CDTM and many more. We have a very high density of excellent engineers and founders here, as well as a great deal of technical expertise that is just waiting to be put to use. What is often lacking in Germany is the commercial mindset to scale space solutions commercially on a massive scale beyond funding programs. There is no relevant regional market. Space startups have to think and act internationally from Day 1.

Munich Startup: Last but not least: Who do startups approach when they want to talk to you?

Sven Meyer-Brunswick: We are regularly represented at events related to deep tech and space. Just talk to us or send us an e-mail.