SpaceNews : AEI hunting for more space investments after closing $1.28 billion fund


TAMPA, Fla. — Private equity firm AE Industrial Partners (AEI) is looking for more space investments after closing a $1.28 billion fund.

“We believe that space is currently one of the best sectors to invest in due to its huge growth potential,” AEI managing partner Kirk Konert told SpaceNews.

The aerospace and defense investment firm announced the closure of its third flagship fund July 9 after exceeding a $1.2 billion target and hitting a hard cap.

More than a quarter of the fund has already been deployed into companies that include spacecraft maker York Space Systems and small satellite launcher Firefly Aerospace, enabling them to buy software engineering provider Emergent Space Technologies and satellite transportation service Spaceflight Inc, respectively.

Other AEI space investments so far include infrastructure firm RedWire and Sierra Space, the technology company behind the Dream Chaser cargo spaceplane.

“Space technology is becoming an increasingly critical element of the infrastructure for the global economy,” Konert said.

“Companies across every industry have begun evaluating how space will be a part of their ongoing and future business strategy. As a result, every company is, in some capacity, a space company.”

In particular, Boca Raton, Florida-based AEI sees soaring demand for new space technologies to meet national security needs.

“The U.S. government has also become more open to collaborating with non-traditional primes,” Konert added, pointing to how 14-year-old York Space is now building satellites for the Space Development Agency and Space Force.

AEI said in the announcement that commitments for its third fund came from a diverse mix of investors in the United States and abroad, including charitable foundations, pensions and sovereign wealth funds.

The firm has around $6.2 billion of assets under management after making more than 130 investments since launching its first institutional private equity fund nearly a decade ago.


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