With an unprecedented number of breakthrough space technologies like reusable rockets, additive manufacturing (AM) or “3D printing,” advanced materials, and miniaturization of satellites or “smallsats,” analyst groups like Bank of America Merrill Lynch predict the space economy will be worth more than $3 trillion by 2045. In order to help the next generation of entrepreneurs enter that market, Boulder, Colorado-based Techstars and Paris-based Starburst Aerospace have joined forces to start a new Los Angeles-based business accelerator for space technology companies.
The new mentor-driven Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator program is currently accepting applications and will officially begin in July 2019 with the focus of developing new business models and uses cases for space and related frontier technologies in fields such as energy, communications, robotics, and autonomy.
“The space industry is massively exciting but also quite complex,” says Matt Kozlov, managing director of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator. “We are bringing together vital industry leaders, both public and private, who will help entrepreneurs navigate the industry and provide unprecedented commercial support and mentorship. We will help founders achieve two years of commercial traction in three months. Given the pedigree of our sponsors, I expect this program will very quickly become a vital resource for entrepreneurs building frontier tech.”
“The list of incredible companies just keeps growing,” says Van Espahbodi, co-founder and managing director of Starburst. “The broader aerospace industry has finally embraced the notion of ‘open innovation’ by partnering with entrepreneurs to co-develop products, with a compelling business plan to match. Starburst is excited to advise the program to ensure early-stage businesses have the appropriate tools to compete in this emerging marketplace.”
Espahbodi will be advising Kozlov and the broader program, applying his experience of accelerating over 300 aerospace startups. Kozlov previously led the Cedars Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars in Los Angeles and has invested in over 30 companies. Techstars’ accelerator track record includes 150 programs around the world with both government entities and Fortune 500 corporations.
The Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator program has formal sponsorship from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Lockheed Martin Corporation, Maxar Technologies Inc., Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the U.S. Air Force, with support from nonprofit The Aerospace Corporation.
Startup companies in commercial space or that are developing related technologies are encouraged to apply. Startup companies looking to connect with program staff prior to applying or to get feedback on their companies are welcome to request Office Hours with Techstars staff.
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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.