ESA BIC Bavaria supported companies reached the financial mark of 2 billion euros in private capital – a benchmark on the importance of space for the economy!

Weßling, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, April 2023 – The ESA BIC Bavaria programme from AZO has announced a major milestone in the development of the European space industry. Two billion euros in private capital have been invested in the programme’s incubatees and alumni, including the recent 155 million euros raised by Isar Aerospace, a Munich-based startup developing launch vehicles for small satellites. This strongly demonstrates the successful and growing space and new space significance and ecosystem in Germany and especially in Bavaria. It also underlines the effectiveness of the programme initiated by ESA and supported by the Germany Space Agency at DLR and the strong impact of the supporting contribution from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs. 

The ESA BIC (Business Incubation Centre) programme is part of the European Space Agency’s efforts to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the space sector. The programme provides funding, technical support and mentoring to startups developing products and services based on space technology. The ESA BIC Bavaria, located in Oberpfaffenhofen in the Munich area and supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, is one of the most successful and active ESA BICs in Europe.

The impact of the ESA BIC Bavaria programme has been significant, not only for the startups involved but also for the region and the country. Since its launch in 2009, the programme has supported 178 startups, generating over 3300 jobs and more than 150 million euros in revenue in 2021.

“The ESA BIC Bavaria programme is a prime example of how public-private partnerships can drive innovation and create economic value,” said Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency. “We are proud to have supported this programme and its startups, and we look forward to seeing more success stories in the years to come. Overall, the future of Earth observation, space exploration, launchers and other space technologies looks very exciting, and we can expect to see many new developments in the coming years that will expand our knowledge of the universe and improve our everyday lives here on Earth.” Currently, due to the extension of the programme in 2022 for an additional four years until 2025, further startups with space related ideas will be supported and incubated.

Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, stated, “Since the foundation of the first European space incubator with significant financial support from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs a good 20 years ago, the successful model of the ESA Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) has not only proven itself excellently but has also become a ‘brand’ in the ESA member states. ESA BIC Bavaria proves that continuous commitment and good cooperation lead to great success. This impressive figure is an important reason to continue the successful Bavarian start-up funding with innovative ideas in the field of aerospace. Our common goal of turning innovative, space-related business ideas into commercial enterprises is thus being realised in an excellent way.”

This is underlined by DLR CEO Prof Dr-Ing Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, who added, “The ESA BIC Bavaria programme is an important part of the Bavarian and German innovation ecosystem. It provides a platform for startups to develop their business ideas and access to our world-class space technology and infrastructure. We are committed to continuing our support for this programme and helping to build a thriving space industry in Germany.”

The ESA BIC Bavaria is managed by AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, the proven and experienced incubator for innovative solutions relating to and arising from space technologies.

“We would like to take a moment to express our sincere gratitude for your invaluable support and contributions to this project. Your commitment and dedication have been essential to our success, and I am truly grateful for all that you have done,” said Thorsten Rudolph, AZO CEO, and Stefanie Herrmann, AZO CFO. “You, the institutional and political partners, with your belief in this programme and in the strength of AZO, the incredible team at AZO, the investors, with your financial support in the innovative startups, and finally you, the founders, with your ideas and the persistence to take them to the next level, have made all this possible! Together we have achieved remarkable things and I look forward to continuing our work together. The success of ESA’s BIC Bavaria programme underlines the potential of the space sector to create value and continue to drive innovation in Europe.”

About AZO

AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen is an international networking and branding company for the European space programme, supporting entrepreneurship. Since 2004, AZO has established the leading European space cluster innovation network for the satellite downstream and upstream market. The Masters Series, presented by AZO, is based on successfully managed Masters as the Galileo Masters, Copernicus Masters, and INNOspace Masters. AZO also manages its ESA Business Incubation Centres ESA BIC Bavaria, ESA BIC Northern Germany and ESA BIC North Rhine-Westphalia. This incubation programme has supported more than 233 company foundations to date. Since 2009, ESA BIC Bavaria companies were able to collect 2 billion euros in investments. AZO supported companies additionally profit from its very successful business angel network. For more information, please visit

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