This week, we sit down with the founder of Spaced Ventures, Aaron Burnett. Spaced Ventures is building a community of enthusiastic investors and connecting them with space start-ups looking for seed funding to help ignite innovation.
As a sector which is both rapidly expanding and continually evolving, this episode is likely to pique the interests of many listeners.
Investing in the business of space
Burnett begins by giving listeners an introduction to Spaced Ventures and explaining the factors behind the formation of the business in 2021. Prior to launching Spaced Ventures, Burnett and his team found that there was a lot of money being directed towards the space and aeronautical industry, but that a rather small minority of this funding was being provided to early-stage start-up companies.
Spaced Ventures saw a gap in the market and wanted to offer the public the opportunity to invest in up-and-coming, high-reward (and potentially high-risk) start-ups within the space sector, utilising a regulation crowdfunding exemption that exists in the US (and the UK) in the process.
Burnett goes on to speak about why he and his team decided to pursue the crowdfunding model specifically, and the extent to which he believes that small companies can make a big impact in the space industry. Burnett highlights the fact that, in the last few years, there has been a transition away from a government-based investment structure to retail and public investors. A large part of this transition can be attributed to the substantial reduction in launch costs that have ensued in recent times. This has created a wide range of opportunities, whilst making the process of getting software into orbit significantly cheaper and creating an orbital economy.
Orbital data collection is profitable
Burnett believes one of the most profitable opportunities within the space market consists of data collection from orbit. Even in this space, the industry is moving towards a much more accessible model where small companies can make a significant impact on the market as a whole. Only $1 million – $5 million is currently required to launch a company and get data collection software into orbit.
Looking at the space sector in general, Burnett speaks about whether the industry is in good health and how the private sector is faring. It is clear to the Spaced Ventures founder that growth and investment opportunities are growing and will continue to grow in the upcoming years.
A specific area within the industry which Burnett believes is underfunded and that consequently represents an opportunity for private capital to make a difference is in orbit computation – the ability for software to perform their own computations whilst in orbit and delivering that data to companies on Earth.
More generally, he has found that early-stage companies have in the past been underfunded due to most of the money being directed towards well-established businesses. Around 70% – 80% of space industry funding typically went to the top 10 biggest companies.
To round up the podcast, Burnett gives a brief insight into the three companies Spaced Ventures is currently working with. These consist of Infinite Composites, which develops efficient gas storage systems; Exo-Space, working on orbit computing solutions; and Cosmic Shielding Corporation, which focuses on next generation materials for radiation shielding. Burnett expects Spaced Ventures to double the number of companies they work with in the upcoming months.