Rapid expansion The commercial space industry over the past two years has led start-up investors to consider very different types of businesses than they had when space startups were new.
The availability of more affordable space journeys, the maturity of ground infrastructure, and improvements in the accessibility and usability of Earth observation data have combined to position whole new breeds of companies. linked to space as ripe for high-risk, high-growth investments.
During the TC: Space 2021 sessions, we organized “Being There When Stars Form”, a roundtable with three start-up investors:
- Chad Anderson, Founder and Managing Partner, Space Capital
- Jessica Robinson, Co-Founder and Partner, Assembly Ventures
- Jonathan Fentzke, Managing Director, Techstars
Considering the topic, we talked about PSPCs and we also focused on the areas that are of interest to people betting on new and emerging space-related technology companies. Everyone was interested in infrastructure, including sustainable in-orbit operations and collision avoidance, as well as applications developed using already operational space assets.
Find highlights from our conversation below, or scroll down for a video with the full chat.
The past 10 years have been transformative for space; we’ve gone from a handful of defense contractors and a few monolithic satellites in orbit, to suddenly tons of participation from 1,600 space companies, raising a lot of capital over the last 10 years and deploying a lot of satellites. SpaceX and Starlink have launched quite a few satellites this year, as they roll out their beta version of Starlink and enter commercial production next year. And from 2020 to 2021, we have seen a massive increase in the number of satellites launched. So we have tons more commercial activity in space and without a doubt there is 100 times more debris in orbit. So wrapping our arms around this is a key focus area for governments and business enterprises.
The things we are most passionate about, whether here on Earth or in space, are certainly about data. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it a lot today. I think the opportunities and continued applications of AI and machine learning are particularly applicable here as well, given that you don’t want to tie things together that you don’t have to. And I think robotics is another area that for us as investors translates well, there are definitely considerations in the space environment.