The Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator: What We’re Looking For (TLDR: Not Just Space Companies)

Last month Techstars and Starburst announced the launch of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, and Israel Aerospace Industries North America (IAI North America).  This program is the first of its kind, bringing together industrial, military, and civil space leaders to support entrepreneurs disrupting the space industry.

Venture funding for space tech companies is at a high point and still rising, federal funding and interest in space is strong, and thanks to rapid commercial innovation in launch capabilities, it’s never been easier for an entrepreneur to get their technology into orbit.

While this is the first space-focused accelerator program for Techstars, this isn’t our first time investing in space-oriented companies, such as Techstars portfolio companies like Slingshot Aerospace (Techstars LA), Kepler Communications (Techstars Seattle), and Skywatch (Techstars NYC).

If you’re an entrepreneur building a space tech company, we want to hear from you! Classic “NewSpace” categories we’re interested in include: SmallSats, Geospatial analytics, Robotics, Avionics, Communications, Earth Observation, In-Space Propulsion, Navigation, Perception, Systems on Chip Computing, Antennas, and Photonics.

Just as technologies developed for the space industry have found their way into other uses (velcro, GPS, freeze drying, LASIK, dustbusters), the space industry is similarly looking to adapt and partner with commercial technologies. We’re interested in relevant technologies developed for industries as diverse as automotive, agriculture, mining, energy, and industrial manufacturing. We’re especially excited to invest in companies with novel applications in artificial intelligence.

Examples of broader enabling technologies we’re looking to invest in include: AI, design and collaboration tools, autonomous systems, LIDAR, terrestrial navigation, drones/UAS, advanced manufacturing, edge computing and big data processing, sensors, and power systems (including energy generation, storage, and management).

Does the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator sound like a good fit for your company? If so, we want to hear from you!

Applications are open now and are due on April 7, 2019.  

Want to learn more?

  • Join us on March 21 for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) to learn more about what you can expect during the first year of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator.
  • Request one-on-one time with me by scheduling in-person or virtual office hours.
  • Come to a Meet and Greet event on April 9 at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. If you’ll be in town, we’d love to see you there!







Techstars and Starburst Announce Space-Focused Accelerator Program With U.S. Government And Corporate Consortium

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, and Israel Aerospace Industries North America (IAI North America) Unite to Disrupt Space Industry

LOS ANGELES and BOULDER, Colo.– Techstars and Starburst announced today their joint effort to help entrepreneurs succeed in aerospace. The Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, a new Los Angeles-based program, will focus on the next generation of space technology companies and related frontier technologies. Matt Kozlov will be the managing director of the program. Matt previously led the Cedars Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars in Los Angeles and has invested in over 30 companies. Van Espahbodi, co-founder and managing director of Starburst, will be advising Kozlov and the broader program, applying his experience of accelerating over 300 aerospace startups.

Building on Techstars success running more than 150 accelerator programs around the world with both government entities and Fortune 500 corporations, coupled with Starburst aerospace industry experience and expertise, this new mentorship-driven accelerator has formal sponsorship from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, Israel Aerospace Industries North America (IAI North America), and the U.S. Air Force, with support from The Aerospace Corporation.

With recent technological breakthroughs such as reusable rockets, 3D printing, advanced materials, and miniaturization of satellites (“smallsats”), as well as the introduction and adoption of new business models, the opportunities for entrepreneurs and corporations are unprecedented. New business models will be a focus for the accelerator, and the consortium will be looking to work with startups that have a use case for new space and related technologies in fields such as energy, communications, robotics, and autonomy. Breakthroughs in these industries contribute to why Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently estimated the space economy will be worth more than $3 Trillion by 2045.

“The space industry is massively exciting but also quite complex,” said Matt Kozlov, managing director of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator. “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.”

“The list of incredible companies just keeps growing,” said Van Espahbodi, co-founder and managing director of Starburst. “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.”

Applications for Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator open today. The program, Techstars third accelerator program in California, will kick off in July 2019. Startup companies in commercial space or that are developing related technologies are encouraged to apply. Startup companies looking to connect with program staff prior to applying or to get feedback on their companies are welcome to request Office Hours with Techstars staff.

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About Techstars

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,700 companies with a market cap of $18 Billion. www.techstars.com

About Starburst

Starburst is an innovation catalyst in the Aerospace industry. It is the first global Aerospace Accelerator, matching corporates with startups while providing strategic growth consulting for startups and corporations alike. With offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Montreal, Munich, San Francisco and Singapore, the team has built an ecosystem of key players across the Aerospace industry including over 4000+ related startups. Every year Starburst hosts numerous international and national events bringing together Aerospace innovators and puts innovation in the spotlight at international air shows.

www.starburst.aero