Destinus is a Swiss-based startup founded by Mikhail Kokorich, former founder of space tech startups Momentus and Dauria Aerospace. The startup is developing a technology for taking off an aircraft at hypersonic speed into the mesosphere and smoothly descending to another point on the planet. The engines will run on liquid hydrogen that is produced by using renewable energy sources, which reduces the carbon footprint of the technology to zero.
Official website: https://destinus.ch/
HQ: Payerne, Switzerland
News about Destinus
Financial metrics of Destinus
- Total funding: $29 млн — Seed
- Last round date: February 2022
- Lead investors: Conny & Co, Quiet Capital, One Way Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Cathexis Ventures, ACE & Company, Raison Asset Management
Investment opportunity of Destinus
Destinus plans to deliver cargo from Europe to Australia in under 2 hours compared to 48-72 hours it takes today. The potential clients are global logistics companies such as UBS, FedEx, DHL, etc.
To start the company will focus on shipping critical medical supplies, emergency spare parts & equipment, high-value perishable goods and time-sensitive documents. When costs are reduced given the rising demand, a new cluster of customers like e-commerce will join. Destinus also thinks about the passanger flights in a foreseable future.
The startup develops a first-of-its-kind rocket airplane that travels to near-space heights at 15 times the speed of sound. Inspite of technology uniqueness the majority of its elements are well-known — this reduces time of development and manufacture.
The first prototype named Jungfrau was developed and manufactured under 4 months. According to the founder Mikhail Kokorich, the company will be able to perform the first commercial flights with cargo in 3-4 years, and large-size flights (with payload up to 100 tons) in 2027-2030.
The reusable engines of hyperplanes will run on liquid hydrogen produced by using renewable energy sources. This reduces the carbon footprint to zero (the liquid hydrogen will also be used for system cooling).
The company’s milestones
In February 2022 Destinus closed the $29 million seed round with participation of all venture investors who backed the previous Michail Kokorich startup Momentus. The srartup’s headquartered in Switzerland and has R&D offices in Munich, Madrid and Toulouse with headcount is expected to grow to 100 employees to the end of 2022.
The test flight of the first prototype named Jungfrau was conducted in November 2021 near the Munich: the car-sized Jungfrau performed several loops in subsonic velocity. The more test flights are to come in 2022.
The express air delivery market is valued at $59 billion and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 8.2%, according to a study by Mordor Intelligence. Meanwhile the whole air transportation is $1+ trillion market.
Standard express air freight between continents takes 48 to 72 hours. Demand for transportation of medical supplies, time-sensitive documents and high-value perishable products should increase interest in the industry, which will further reduce the cost of transportation. With a decrease in cost, a new cluster of customers from e-commerce, logistics and other areas will come to the market.
Founders and management
The company was founded by Mikhail Kokorich. In the past, he built two successful aerospace startups, Dauria Space (in Russia) and Momentus (in the US), but was forced to leave both companies for political reasons.
Cornelius Borsch is a lead investor and board member of Destinus. A successful German entrepreneur (founded ACG and brought it to the public market), as well as a major venture investor (more than 350 investments in early-stage startups).
Philipp Rösler is a Destinus’ chairman of the Advisory Board, the former minister of Economics and Technology and the vice-chancellor of Germany.
- Since this is a seed investment, there is a high risk of the company going bankrupt or failing to develop the product. However, the growth of the space market and the founder’s extensive experience in building SpaceTech startups greatly increase the chances of success.
- Regulatory risk. Mikhail Kokorich has repeatedly faced regulatory difficulties, therefore, to build a new company, he chose Switzerland — a neutral and favourable jurisdiction.
- Technological risk. The company may encounter unforeseen problems in the development of hyper-aircraft.