Normally I don’t just do a blog post linking to another blog post, but Colin Doughan’s article on NewSpace startup accelerators over on the Space Business Blog is well worth reading. Colin’s a good friend I’ve known for several years, and who’s given me a lot of advice and mentoring at Altius over the years. He’s wrapping up his MBA (while working full-time for one of the aerospace primes here in the Denver/Boulder area), and this blog post was part of his final semester MBA efforts.
The article discusses ways to take the YCombinator model and adapt it for accelerating aerospace startups. I think this industry has a little too much of a “swing for the fences” mentality, where everyone wants to pitch asteroid or moon mining startups, or build an orbital rocket ship. Having an accelerator like this might make it a lot easier for smaller aerospace startups to launch, and get quickly to an exit point. Once we start getting some successful 2nd or 3rd generation space entrepreneurs (ie entrepreneurs who have been through 1-2 successful startups already), I think it will be easier to attract outside investment into the industry because you’ll have more teams with proven trackrecords. You’ll also see more of a NewSpace angel community that has investors who are former NewSpace entrepreneurs, who understand the nuances of the industry, and are better able to make decisions about space startup investments. Right now we’ve got some awesome angels investing in space who made their money in IT or other industries (thinking Steve Jurvetson, Stephen Fleming, Esther Dyson, etc), but I think things will start moving even faster when you start seeing investment money coming from angels who made their money in this industry.
Anyhow, go to Colin’s blog to read his article and comment on it. I’m locking the comments on this thread to encourage people to go over to his blog and comment there.