AE Industrial Partners (AEI) on Wednesday said its venture capital investment platform that includes Boeing [BA] has participated in an oversubscribed $10 million seed funding round in Solestial, a small firm focused on developing low-cost solar panels for satellites.
Solestial on its website says its panels reduce the cost of current solar panels by 90 percent across manufacturing and launch, are lightweight and can last 10 years in low Earth orbit, and are made with a thin flexible silicon cell that can self-cure radiation damage at normal operating temperatures.
The funding round was led by Airbus Group’s Airbus Ventures, and included AEI HorizonX, which is the investment platform among AEI and Boeing, GPVC, Stellar Ventures, Industrious Ventures, and others. The investment is the first for AEI HorizonX’s second venture fund, Fund II, which will invest in start-ups in future mobility, space, sustainability, digital enterprise applications, networks and security.
Fund II is a $250 million venture fund that includes $50 million from Boeing.
Solestial is based in Tempe, Ariz., and has 20 employees. The company will use the seed funding to ramp up production and customer engagement as it expands ground and flight testing, further research and development, and build-up go-to-market functions.
“We are excited to partner with the Solestial team as they look to change the paradigm for satellite manufacturers and usher in a new era of space-based power generation,” Brian Schettler, partner and head of AEI HorizonX, said in a statement.