Is space truly within reach for startups and VC?
With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing taking place this past week, Darrell Etherington takes a temperature check of the current state of spacetech, chatting with startups like Wyvern and NSLComm. What he finds is actually a fairly positive picture — not only are there a huge number of original ideas and serious dollars flowing into the … space (couldn’t resist), but there are also clear trajectories to real products in the short-to-medium term. Writing about satellites:
Now, driven largely by miniaturization and manufacturing efficiency gains resulting from the ubiquity of home computing and smartphones, those components are a lot more affordable and a lot more available. High-quality optics can be had off the shelf for a relative song; antennas, solar cells, batteries and more have all dropped off a cliff in terms of manufacturing cost. Consumer hardware startups benefited from this trend as well, but it’s paying dividends to companies with higher-altitude ambitions, too.
Thanks to improvements in materials science, NSLComm was able to develop a proprietary technology to quickly deploy long communications antennas in orbit from relatively small craft, letting them offer high-bandwidth ground and air connectivity at a fraction of the cost needed by large satellite operators, while still maintaining favorable margins.
How top VCs view the new future of micromobility
Transportation into the cold vacuum of space isn’t the only hot zone for VC investment. Transportation itself is still getting a lot of love, but the investment theses are changing as more data comes in from the first wave of micromobility startups. At our Sessions: Mobility event, we had our VC reporter Kate Clark interview Sarah Smith of Bain Capital Ventures, Michael Granoff of Maniv Mobility, and Ted Serbinski of TechStars Detroit to discuss the future of this market, and we’ve now posted an exclusive edited transcript for Extra Crunch members.