Space in Africa, the authority on news, data, and market analysis for the African space industry has released the NewSpace Africa Industry Report, 2019 Edition. This report provides an overview of 34 companies that are currently navigating the African space industry, with an emphasis on their size, financial and investment history, and products and services, as they exist and interact with other elements in the global space ecosystem.
The compilation and profiling of these companies cut across the public and private sectors of countries across the African continent (featuring Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, and Tunisia). Some of these firms are offshoots of research institutions in universities, commercial spin-offs powered by national governments, or startups that have matched opportunity with ambition.
The African space industry is currently worth USD 7.37 billion and is projected to grow to over USD 10.29 billion in the next five years, according to the African Space Industry Annual Report, 2019 edition. The industry is growing in terms of the number of ventures and innovation. Space In Africa acted on this need, to survey the commercial companies that are driving growth in the continent’s space sector.
Market segments ventured into by the companies profiled in this report include satellite communications, Earth observation, manufacturing and engineering, surveillance services, and satellite data. Their businesses include satellite systems and components, satellite services, propulsion system engineering, space tourism, and ground stations.
In all, this report profiled 34 companies. Of these, three are spinoffs from university research institutions, five are government-owned companies, while 26 companies are privately owned companies. In terms of regional demographics, 21 of these companies are based in South Africa, 4 are in Nigeria, and another four are in Mauritius. Egypt is home to two of these companies, while Kenya, Sudan, and Tunisia host one each. The report also points out that in respect of the funding models adopted by these companies, 21 have raised equity investments; eight are bootstrapping with no external funding, and four are primarily funded by the government, while one is funded by a University. The report further provides information on their services and areas of commitment: 11 of these companies serve the national markets of the countries in which they are based; seven cater to their customers and clients around the continent, and the remaining 16 are already delivering products and services to the global market.
On workforce size, nine of these profiled companies have a staff strength of 1-10 employees, nine of them have staff of 11-25 employees, seven boasts between 26-50 staff, five companies are each able to accommodate 51-100 employees, two of the companies employ 201-500 employees, and another two companies are reported to have a staff strength of over 500 employees.
This report also highlighted the various stages of development in which the various companies exist. In this regard: 9 companies are in the startup stage; 12 looks to scale their business and are currently at an operational growth stage; 11 companies have expanded in operations to a more mature stage, and 2 are publicly traded.
This report focuses on the private sector with an emphasis on companies that were founded (or restructured) after 1998. There was also the need to profile companies based on some relevant criteria:
1. Services and products these companies are offering, and how relevant these are to the African space industry.
2. The investment potential of these companies and their chances for growth in the long run.
3. Strategic partnerships these companies entered into since their inception, and the significant milestones they have achieved since their establishment.
We sourced information from publicly available databases and companies’ annual performance reports.
Beyond these, we created questionnaires, established email correspondence and called senior executives of
some of the companies to gather more data.
The respective profiles of the companies outline as follows:
1. Company name and key service: What kind of company is it?
2. Timeline: What year was it founded? In what years did the milestones (if any) occur?
3. Company Description: What is the company known for? Where is it located? What is its staff strength? What are the company’s services and products?
4. Growth Stage: At what stage of development is the company? The stages listed include startup, growth, established, and publicly traded.
5. Company Facts: What milestones has the company achieved since its inception? Who are the company’s strategic partners? When did it sign strategic deals? How relevant has it been to the African space industry? What does it look likely to achieve in the short term and long term?
6. Revenue: How much has the company generated in sales?
7. Investment History: How much has the company raised in terms of investment and from whom?
In the past two decades, the industry has seen some notable acquisitions of commercial space companies involving NewSpace companies in Africa and investors from Africa. This report also highlights five of the notable acquisitions.