LEESBURG, VA–Private efforts to commercialize space flight took another step yesterday when Space Angels Network, a virtual network of angel investors focused on seed and early-stage investments in space-related ventures, launched in the U.S. and Canada.
The company’s online platform and strategic relationships with venture finance and technology innovation organizations allow individual accredited investors to connect with space entrepreneurs for financing their innovative ventures.
“There is no question that a gap currently exists in the financing spectrum available to seed- and early-stage space-related ventures, and there are many angel investors around the U.S. and Canada eager to help fill that gap,” stated Burton Lee, CEO of Space Angels Investments, which operates Space Angels Network.
“We aim to provide that platform — along with exceptional service, value, and key strategic relationships — to our members.”
Space Angels “2.0″
Since the Paul Allen-backed Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne captured the Ansari X PRIZE in October of 2004, substantial public interest has centered on a number highly touted space ventures launched by prominent entrepreneurs from various industries. These ventures are primarily self-financed by wealthy individuals such as Elon Musk, Robert Bigelow, Jeff Bezos, John Carmack, and Sir Richard Branson.
These original “super angels” — now referred to as “Space Angels 1.0″ — are being followed by the next wave of early stage investors, “Space Angels 2.0.”
Space Angels Network provides an online platform and key strategic relationships specifically aimed at these accredited investors who want to invest in private space-related ventures but prefer to syndicate their deals.
It’s a long-tail problem: The market for space ventures isn’t very efficient,” says Esther Dyson of EDventure Holdings, a long-time angel investor who is a member of New York Angels and has also invested in space ventures such as Zero-G, Space Adventures, XCOR Aerospace, and Constellation Services International.
“Most angels don’t know where to find space deals, and most space start-ups don’t know where to find the few interested angels, who exist but are widely dispersed. This is a way of matching the two sides effectively.”
“I’ve been involved in a number of investments over the years, but I’ve always had a personal passion for commercial space,” said Jim Hayes, the first angel investor member of Space Angels Network.
“I feel that the timing is right to get involved with a number of the emerging space ventures, and Space Angels Network provides a vehicle for space-minded investors to overcome limitations of space and time to seek out these companies.”
“Aprize was fortunate early on to raise the initial funding needed to build and launch its low-Earth orbit satellites for monitoring fixed and mobile assets,” said Dr. Dino Lorenzini, CEO of Aprize Satellite Inc. based in Fairfax, Virginia.
Sweet spot of investing
“Now we are ready to commence commercial satellite services, and are exploring several source of working capital, including strategic partners and/or angel investors through Space Angels Network.”
The group expects to serve members with a wide breadth of investment interests, in terms of company maturity, deal size, and market focus. The “sweet spot” will likely center on seed- and early-stage companies with investments ranging from $250,000 to $2,500,000.
The markets served by these companies will likely be quite diverse, including industries such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sub-orbital launch vehicles, aviation equipment and services, electronic sensors and instrumentation for aerospace platforms, advanced materials, software, tourism, real estate, gaming, and more traditional aerospace markets.
On the Web: www.spaceangelsnetwork.com
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