National Space Organizations like NASA, DLR, CNES, ISRO that have traditionally developed spacecraft, satellites, space stations, support infrastructure, equipment, and space warfare, etc. have been receiving company in the form space technology startups that do these on a contractual basis with capitalist goals. Space technology has highly benefited communications, positioning services, Earth observation, and economic activities associated with government-funded space programs. With the decrease in costs of building satellites and spacecraft and ease in obtaining funds, tens of thousands of space tech startups in the private sector have been emerging globally for the last 20 years or so.
Let’s have a look at the TOP 10 Space Technology Startups across the world:
Founder: Nathan Kundtz
Founding Year: 2012
Headquarters: Redmond, Washington (USA)
Funding: US$ 302.8M
Investors: Lux Capital, Osage University Partners, Mirai Creation Fund, Bill Gates, Kresge Foundation, Liberty Global, Intelsat, S. Douglas Hutcheson
Kymeta develops hybrid satellite-cellular networks that are used to fulfill the demand for global universal mobile connectivity. It offers solutions that are low-profile, lightweight, easy to install, and virtually care-free irrespective of location by leveraging the finest satellite and cellular networks. The solutions do not require mechanical components to steer toward a satellite, thus empowering clients to stay connected to the internet.
Kymeta is eradicating barriers by providing a ground-breaking way of using satellite network capacity for high bandwidth communication access while traveling. The startup’s first product, a software-driven meta-materials-based electronic beamforming antenna for satellite communications, will keep boats, planes, cars, and more connected.
2. Relativity Space
Founders: Jordan Noone and Tim Ellis
Founding Year: 2016
Headquarters: Inglewood, California (USA)
Funding: US$ 185.7M
Investors: Y Combinator, Wavemaker Partners, Social Capital, Allen & Company LLC, Mark Cuban, Louis Beryl, Playground Global, Spencer Rascoff, Kingsley Advani, Tribe Capital, Republic Labs, Jared Leto, David Spector, 3L Capital, Michael Ovitz, Benjamin Kong, Bond, Lee Fixel, Brad Gerstner, Andy Rubin, Zander Lurie, Tom Staggs, Phil Deutch, Helios Capital Ventures
Relativity Space is a space startup that automates aerospace engineering through robotics, software and its exclusive metal 3D printing technology.
It is transforming the entire aerospace ecosystem by creating a completely new process to build and fly rockets. Relativity has built the world’s largest metal 3D printer to 3D print their personal rockets and launch satellites into space. With the use of its cutting-edge technology, rocket building becomes 100x faster, a process that usually takes years to finish. Relativity Space’s broader vision is to 3D print the first rocket made on Mars and develop and sustain an interplanetary civilization.
3. Capella Space
Founders: Payam Banazadeh, Uri Tintore, Will Woods
Founding Year: 2016
Headquarters: San Francisco, California (USA)
Funding: US$ 82M
Investors: Canaan Partners, Alumni Ventures Group, Data Collective DCVC, Spark Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Dorm Room Fund, Total Access Fund, Cota Capital, Pear VC, Artiman Ventures, Harmony Ventures, Chestnut Street Ventures, Blue Ivy Ventures, Spike Ventures, Pear Launchpad, Fission Ventures, Mark VC
Capella Space is a data & information services startup that provides insights from space with the help of its group of high-resolution SAR satellites. It provides sub 0.5m very high-resolution synthetic opening radar earth observation imagery. Capella is helping numerous industries worldwide by providing easy access to regular, timely, and flexible information.
The startup aims to make opportune Earth observation an essential means for commerce, conservation, and well-being.
4. Moon Express
Founders: Barney Pell, Bob Richards and Naveen Jain
Founding Year: 2010
Headquarters: Cape Canaveral, Florida (USA)
Funding: US$ 65.5M
Investors: Founders Fund, Tencent Holdings, Collaborative Fund, Scott Banister, Autodesk, Barney Pell, Richmond Global Ventures, David J. La Placa, Naveen Jain, Innovative Fund, Minerva Capital Group, Paul Gauthier, Rizwan Virk, Jay Sethuram, Rob Nail, Klee Irwin, Joe Gatto, Richard Merkin, Firoz H. Lalji, Robert Hariri, Raymonds Capital LLC, Peter Farrell.
Moon Express offers exploration and commercial transportation to the Moon. Its aim is to open a trail so that humans can recurrently access the Moon for science, research, mining, etc. Its innovative and flexible spacecrafts cut the cost of commercial robotic space activities to a great extent.
It has an association with NASA as a collaborator as well as a customer. NASA has even signed a contract with Moon Space for lunar cargo delivery. Moon Express had participated and was recognized as a trailblazer in the US$ 30M Google Lunar XPRIZE competition (it had no actual winners).
5. Accion Systems
Founders: Louis Perna, Natalya Brikner Bailey
Founding Year: 2014
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
Funding: US$ 26.5M
Investors: Founders Fund, RRE Ventures, Slow Ventures, Founder Collective, Shasta Ventures, MIT delta v, MIT Venture Service (MIT VMS), Upslope Ventures, Dylan Taylor, U.S. Department of Defense, Space Angels, Boeing HorizonX Ventures, TECHU, Rene Reinsberg, GETTYLAB, Marek Olszewski, SDF Ventures
Accion Systems develops in-space propulsion technologies that enhance scalability, performance and productivity. Propulsion enables a small satellite to relocate, while also keeping it in orbit, changing its position to another orbit, regulating inclination to align arrangement and any other positional change that allows a satellite to perform more efficiently and accurately.
Its leading product, TILE, uses exclusive electrospray thrusters, transporting electric propulsion to satellites of all sizes and transforming in-space competences for the 21st century.
Founders: Meir Kliner and Ran Krauss
Founding Year: 2014
Headquarters: Petah Tiqva, Israel
Funding: US$ 123.1M
Investors: CRV, BlueRun Ventures, OurCrowd, M12, Upwest, Pavilion Capital, David Roux, Noam Bardin, Richard Wooldridge
Airobotics provides an end-to-end, fully automated solution for gathering aerial data and gaining vital insights. Thus, it enables governments and industrial businesses to leverage the power of drones without needing a human operator.
The industrial grade platform is provided on-site and on-demand, empowering industrial facilities to access aerial data in a faster, safer, more effective way.
Founder: Shey Sabripour
Founding Year: 2017
Headquarters: Austin, Texas (USA)
Funding: US$ 14.2M
Investors: Kleiner Perkins, Franklin Templeton Investments, Airbus Ventures, Honeywell Venture Capital, Lavrock Ventures, Analog Devices
CesiumAstro develops communication systems for Satellite, UAVs, launch vehicles, and other space or aerial platforms. Each of their products integrates carefully selected COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) components with the reliable sources necessary for aerospace systems.
Their team consists of brilliant engineers and scientists trained in the design, development, engineering and qualification of multifaceted communication systems.
Founders: Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal
Founding Year: 2019
Headquarters: Bengaluru, India
Funding: US$ 5.7M
Investors: Techstars, Creative Destruction Lab, Blume Ventures, Lightspeed India Partners, growX ventures, Inventus Capital, Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs, Raju Reddy, Matt Kozlov, Dileep Nath, Ryan Johnson, Pawan Sarda
India-based Pixxel, started by BITS Pilani alums, is building a group of advanced earth imaging small satellites. It is Asia’s only space startup to qualify for the 2019 Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in Los Angeles.
Pixxel’s first satellite will be launched in late 2020 on a Soyuz rocket.
9. Skyroot Aerospace
Founders: Naga Bharath Daka and Pawan Kumar Chandana
Founding Year: 2018
Headquarters: Hyderabad, India
Funding: US$ 3.9M
Investors: Mukesh Bansal (also Founder of Curefit)
Skyroot Aerospace is an Indian space launch vehicle startup developing launch vehicles for cost-effective access to space. It is the first such startup in India.
Their vision is to a build a future where spaceflight is as regular, consistent and as reasonable as an air flight.
10. Agnikul Cosmos
Founders: Moin SPM and Srinath Ravichandran
Founding Year: 2017
Headquarters: Chennai, India
Funding: US$ 3.5M
Investors: LetsVenture, Artha India Ventures, CIIE.CO, Globevestor, Pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, LionRock Capital
Agnikul Cosmos designs, manufactures, tests, and launches orbital-class rockets for micro and nanosatellites. It consists of a diverse team of rocket scientists, engineers, ex-bankers, and space lawyers. It is presently working out of the National Center for Combustion R&D at IIT-Madras. Agnibaan, its customizable space vehicle can take up to 100 kg to orbits around 700 km high and can access both low and high inclination orbits and is fully movable for accessing more than 10 launch ports.
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