There was twice as much venture capital injected into commercial space companies last year as in the previous 15 years combined.
That’s the chief finding of a new report on space venture capital by Alexandria, Va.-based Tauri Group, which found that venture firms invested $1.8 billion in 2015.
Some $2.7 billion in investment and debt financing fueled a record-setting year for space start-ups. Fifty firms pumped funding into space deals during the year, the highest participation ever by the VC community.
Startup space companies attracted more than $13.3 billion in investments of all sorts between 2000 and 2015, according to the Tauri report.
That included $1.3 billion in seed funding and $2.9 billion in venture capital, along with $1.8 billion in equity investments. Excluding debt financing — which totaled $5.1 billion during the same 16-year span — almost two-thirds of space-company funding since 2000 has come in the past five years.
More than 110 venture capital firms invested in early stage space companies since 2000, according to the report.
“Sophisticated senior investors believe that significant returns from space ventures are possible and are willing to accept the risk for those transformative results,” said Carissa Christensen, managing partner of the Tauri Group.