Audacia and Starburst join forces to fund DeepTech in aerospace and defense

Audacia SAS
Audacia and Starburst join forces to fund DeepTech in aerospace and defense

13-Apr-2022 / 07:00 CET / CEST
Regulatory information provided by EQS Group.
The contents of this press release are the responsibility of the issuer.

Audacia and Starburst join forces to fund

Aeronautics, Space and Defense DeepTechs :

The EXPANSION fund aims to be the largest European venture capital

dedicated to the ASD sector and aims for a size of € 300 million

Paris, 13 April 2022 – Audacia and Starburst announce that they are aware that France and Europe are today at a historic, diverse and crucial turning point in their technological sovereignty, that they are working together to create a new venture capital fund that to fund groundbreaking innovations in the field of Aeronautics, Space and Defense (ASD). With the title EXPANSION, this fund project of unprecedented scale in Europe is intended to invest in start-ups in the ASD sector, from seed to series B. The EXPANSION fund thus aims for a size of 300 million euros and plans an initial closure of € 100m in Q4 2022.

The EXPANSION fund project, born of the alliance between Audacia, an experienced investment house in France, and Starburst, the world’s leading accelerator for start-ups in aerospace, defense and defense, aims to be the link between public finance, industrial activities and entrepreneurship. projects currently lacking in France and Europe.

Committed to the ecosystem since 2012, Audacia and Starburst have built a strong relationship that materializes today with EXPANSION. This investment fund project aims to support and finance French and European ASD start-ups from the start-up phase to Series B. For this purpose, it aims for a target size of € 300 million. to meet the financing needs of this growing ecosystem.

The priority investment themes that will be targeted by EXPANSION are :

  • micro-launchers and constellations of satellites,

  • utilization of space data and services in orbit,

  • carbon-free aviation,

  • new urban and regional air mobility platforms,

  • dual technologies with strategic defense applications,

  • all the disruptive enabling technologies that nurture innovation in these sectors (new sensors, new materials, innovative equipment, artificial intelligence, etc.).

A unique alliance to bring forward the European ecosystem of ASD startups

Audacia and its founder, Charles Beigbeder, contribute to the fund their experience investing in DeepTech (2019 launch of Quantonation, the first global fund dedicated to quantum technologies) as well as the participation of Geodesic, an investment company that has begun financing New Space start-ups since September 2021 : HyPr Space, Share my Space & Zephalto.

Starburst, the first global accelerator dedicated to ASD startups created in 2012 by François Chopard, present today in the major international innovation centers in the ASD sector, will give EXPANSION the opportunity to benefit from its unique knowledge of the ecosystem. In Europe, under the leadership of co-founder Sandra Budimir, Starburst has more than 5,000 pre-analyzed startups and more than 30 startups in its acceleration program, including Thieves in BLAST, an acceleration program that supports entrepreneurs and researchers with leading industry and research partners.

Sandra Budimir, co-founder of Starburst and Pierre-François Vilgrain (ex-ArianeGroup & Airbus Defense & Space) both join the fund as managers.

To complete the foundation’s team, a strategic board consisting in particular of Dirk Hoke (former CEO of Airbus Defense & Space and future CEO of Volocopter) and Emmanuel Chiva (Director of Defense Innovation Agency) will bring his expertise and his in-depth knowledge of ASD sectors and actors.

A private sector initiative to support the goals of European sovereignty

EXPANSION aims to complement the public efforts currently being implemented in France and Europe to support ASD innovation from startups. Thus, it intends to participate in Europe’s efforts to consolidate its strategic sovereignty by enabling ASD startups to develop cutting-edge technologies that will feed Member States’ strategic capabilities and the major national and European aviation, aerospace and defense programs.

A real consciousness materialized by new public ambitions at national and European level is currently taking place. This is demonstrated by the France 2030 plan, which dedicates almost € 4 billion to key industrial sectors such as aviation, aerospace and hydrogen, while European initiatives such as Scale-up and Cassini will eventually invest more than € 11 billion in the ecosystem.

Although these figures indicate a promising trend for ASD, public funding alone can not sustain the growth of this sector, which nevertheless represents one of the cornerstones of technological independence and European sovereignty. Sustainable private investment and a strong industrial structure must be able to support these initiatives to ensure the success of new French and European ambitions.

Charles Beigbeder, President and Founder of Audacia :

The conquest of space enters its second phase : entrepreneurship ! Telecommunications, geolocation, observation, industrialization in micro-gravity, so many areas accelerated by New Space and its startups. The EXPANSION Fund will support this revolution, which will contribute to the essential reconstruction of our European sovereignty. »

François Chopard, founder and CEO of Starburst :

Since its inception, Starburst has strived to build the missing bridges between entrepreneurial actors in research and innovation with the companies and public organizations acting for the future. In addition to our special connection to Europe, action was needed to help France and the EU countries catch up. We are pleased to take this new step in financing innovation in the aerospace, defense and defense sectors together with Audacia and a leading strategic board. »

Immanuel Chiva, Director of the Defense Innovation Agency in the Ministry of Defense :

There are races you can not afford to lose. The Enlargement Fund will be strategic for France and Europe to play their full role in space innovation, so crucial to our strategic autonomy and to our response to tomorrow’s challenges. »

Dirk Hoke, former CEO of Airbus Defense & Space and next CEO of Volocopter :

The future of our planet will be played out into space, and Europe must resume a leading role. It’s time for Europe to wake up and accelerate again in space exploration, telecommunications, observation and related technologies such as AI, cloud and edge computing. The EXPANSION Foundation will play an important role in helping European innovators grow in Europe. »

Learn more :

About Audacia, “ Entrepreneurial House of Private Equity »

Audacia was founded in 2006 by Charles Beigbeder and is an independent private equity player. Audacia attracts the best sector experts around three high-value-added professions :

  • Development capital in fast-growing SMEs.

  • Real Estate Capital, centered on Coliving, a new form of housing.

  • Innovation Capital, focused on disruptive technologies in quantum, space, sustainable food transition and new energies.

Since its inception, Audacia has invested in more than 350 companies.

About Starburst, the first Aeronautics, Space and Defense accelerator:

Founded in 2012 by François Chopard and joining Sandra Budimir as co-founder, Starburst is a strategy and innovation consulting firm and the world’s leading business accelerator dedicated to startups in the aerospace and defense sectors. With 10 offices located in the major global innovation hubs in the ASD sector, Starburst has built an ecosystem of more than 12,000 startups and 60 public and private partners (large groups). Each year, Starburst provides in-depth support to startups in their development through its acceleration programs and organizes numerous national and international events that bring together all innovators in the industry.

Press contacts :


Eleanor of Rose

+33 6 62 64 40 53

star burst

Pierre Roy

+33 6 79 03 75 06

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