Techstars and Starburst Aerospace are launching a space industry accelerator in Los Angeles – TechCrunch
With the help of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC and the Israel Aerospace Industries company, Techstars and Starburst Aerospace are launching an accelerator focused on the space industry in Los Angeles.
Already a major hub for the space and aerospace startup industry, with companies like SpaceX, Relativity Space, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, Phase Four, and others calling Los Angeles home, the new accelerator will provide another booster for LA’s growing startup scene.
The new aerospace program, called the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, will be managed by longtime Techstars managing director, Matt Kozlov, who previously helmed Techstars’ efforts at its health-focused accelerator done in partnership with Cedars Sinai.
Van Espahbodi, the co-founder and managing director of Starburst Aerospace, a multinational aerospace investor and consultant, will be advising Kozlov on the program and bringing his firm’s expertise with government partners to the table.
Corporate sponsors for this program include, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC and Israel Aerospace Industries, and the U.S. Air Force.
Investments in space and aerospace technologies are picking up, thanks in part to estimates like the one from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which put the size of the space economy at roughly $3 trillion by 2045.
Even if those estimates are overblown, investor have already backed companies developing reusable rockets, 3D printing technologies, advanced materials, miniature satellites and other space-related technologies to the tune of at least $2.3 billion over the last year.
“The space industry is both massively exciting but also quite complex,” said Matt Kozlov, managing director of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator program, in a statement. “We are bringing together vital industry leaders, both public and private, who will help entrepreneurs navigate the industry and provide unprecedented commercial support and mentorship. We will help founders achieve two years of commercial traction in three months. Given the pedigree of our sponsors, I expect this program will very quickly become a vital resource for entrepreneurs building frontier tech.”
Applications for the accelerator are open today and the program will begin in July. And startup companies looking to connect with program staff prior to applying, or get feedback on their companies – are welcome to request Office Hours.
“The list of incredible companies just keeps growing,” said Espahbodi, the co-founder and managing director of Starburst, in a statement. “The broader aerospace industry has finally embraced the notion of ‘open innovation’ by partnering with entrepreneurs to co-develop products, with a compelling business plan to match. Starburst is excited to advise the program to ensure early-stage businesses have the appropriate tools to compete in this emerging marketplace.”