“New Space” is what we’re talking about. It’s not your granddaddy’s aerospace that was government controlled, cost billions of dollars and was top secret national imperative sort of stuff. Rockies Venture Club is pursuing its first Aerospace Investing program May 7th in hopes of raising our awareness of this booming “new” category of angel investing.
Yes, aerospace does include billion dollar projects, but now, more than ever, there are micro opportunities that angel investors can make a significant impact on. Another way of looking at this is that outfits like SpaceX are so significantly reducing the cost of getting payloads into space, that startups can now put their projects into space for relatively low cost. Getting a satellite launched now can be as little as $250,000 today with SpaceX vs. millions of dollars just a few years ago. Mic Black, an Australian entrepreneur from Queensland recently launched a meat pie into space for under $50,000, showing that low cost space projects are not just a pie in the sky idea by showing that he could launch a pie into the sky for much less than it cost Elon Musk to launch a Tesla into outer space.
On a more serious note, the low cost of getting projects into space opens up myriad possibilities for entrepreneurs that have not previously existed. This is reminiscent of those who sold the picks and shovels during the gold rush era. Entrepreneurs may not be building billion dollar space projects, but they are providing solutions to the thousands of problems that new space programs present.
One with a creative mind can see many possibilities – and challenging implementations:
- Space “as infrastructure”;
- Space mining for rare minerals or those not available on earth;
- Productive World policy for Space Usage – and Sanctioning bodies, Weapons in Space Policy (US SASC), International Space Law (Ownership, Rights, etc.) beyond Maritime type Law;
- Solar Energy in space transported back to earth (something akin to wireless??);
- Robotics for Space (Truly, Humans don’t do well in Space via current capabilities);
- Deep Space Travel and Exploration;
- The long-term future of Space colonization (so complex);
- Chemistry/Biology in Space and New Product and Health Solutions;
- 3D Printing, and Manufacturing in zero-G;
- Govt/Private Economics for Space endeavors;
So, what does this have to do with angel investors?
Angels and VCs are rapidly jumping on the space bandwagon. There are thousands of startups working on small parts of the space ecosystem and some of them have big solutions that they have creatively broken into smaller tranches with achievable milestones that can be funded with $1 million or less. Space-specific angel groups have formed such as Space Angels, EBAN Space, GEN Space, Seraphim Capital and more. Angels and VCs poured more than $3.25 Billion into space in 2018, a 29% increase over the previous year. With a large number of corporate entities rapidly acquiring new technologies developed by startups, there is an active exit environment which is crucial for angels and VCs. International competition for space is also driving the speed of growth in this sector. Europe, China, Australia and other countries are growing their space entrepreneurship programs to keep competitive.
There are about 534 venture capital funds that have invested in space since 2009 with 114 of those making their first investment in 2018. This is a place that angels should be investigating and getting in on the ground floor.
Rockies Venture Club first ever signature series themed “Aerospace Investing” will take place on Tuesday, May 7th 5-8pm at the CSU Denver Center. Join Us as we explore this interstellar field!