On July 20, 2022, the Education Advisory Group hosted a webcast titled “Investing in the Space Industry Upswing.” Moderating the event was Chris Quilty, Founder of Quilty Analytics. The expert panel consisted of: Ellen M. Chang, Vice President Ventures, BMNT; Dave Fischer, Vice President, Business Development & Advanced Systems, Astroscale; and Sean Singleton, Partner and Vice President of Business Development, America’s Frontier Fund.
Below is a summary of the topics discussed. We invite you to view the entire webcast here.
- The over-arching theme of the discussion was the transition of “Space” as a government-dominated industry to one for which the Private Sector now plays a critical development role.
- Chang and Singleton pointed to Elon Musk’s strategy for SpaceX, circa 2010, as the pivot point, when the private sector became an essential participant in the industry.
- The panelists discussed the infrastructure and services (beginning with launch) necessary for the continued development of the industry.
- Quilty quantified the reduction of launch costs (per kilogram) that SpaceX has achieved compared to established launch services. Lower launch costs increase the viability of more services that can be offered in space.
- With the private sector playing a larger part of an extremely capital-intensive industry, how are private companies funding investment?
- Quilty explained that the primary funding for new commercial space businesses has come from Venture Capital. He discussed why 2015 was a crucial year for new capital flowing into the sector.
- Quilty highlighted two technologies that are critical, and likely require government funding, as the commercial business case is difficult: Space-based thermo-nuclear power, and space debris removal.
- More countries, beyond the U.S. and Russia, are active in space, Fischer points out. He commented on various norms and rules in the global commons of space, which the global community must agree upon.
- The panelists indicated the types of companies that they are excited about from an investment perspective.
- Quilty quantified the not-so-stellar performance of space-exposed companies that have come public through SPACs recently.