10 Of The Best Spacetech Accelerators In North America
In 2012, investment in SpaceTech was close to nothing. However, thanks to entrepreneur-celebrities like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, and NASA’s embrace of private spaceflight, investments in SpaceTech have more than tripled. Satellite and rocket development costs are also on the downfall. There are accelerators that are embracing this new frontier. This article explores 10 companies and government agencies that act as SpaceTech accelerators in North America.
1. BoomStartup SpaceTech Accelerator
BoomStartup was founded in 2010 and is among the founding members of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN). They have a mentorship-driven program and an impressive portfolio. They have raised over $25 million in seed capital with more than 80 startups having graduated from the program. They are based in Salt Lake City in the United States and accelerate startups from different industries including SpaceTech, Education, EdTech, GovTech, and GenTech.
Their SpaceTech Accelerator program looks to bring startups with a focus on space and aerospace to market. Thanks to BoomStartup’s online platform, they “reject no-one.” They accept 100% of the startups that apply. They invest based on performance-based milestones. Therefore, once a startup reaches level 5 of their maturity program, they can receive funding of up to $100k. This is in return for 6 to 10% equity stake. Startups are given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits offered by BoomStartup, even before they give up part of their equity.
Application Deadline: Applications are open all year round.
2. Starburst Accelerator
As a leading aerospace accelerator, Starburst is based in various locations across the world, including Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, and Singapore. They offer the following:
- Access to financial support from leading venture capitalists, angels’ investors and aerospace investors with a focus on aerospace, defense, and security.
- They provide office space for startups in cities such as Los Angeles, Singapore, and Paris, all in good neighbourhoods.
- Startups enjoy mentorship programs led by top aerospace experts and the chance to partner with major industry stakeholders.
- They also help startups with innovation, strategy, and performance.
They have an impressive portfolio of over 200 startups accelerated by the program, with an average of $7million per funding round. Partners include Boeing, Aerospace, Panasonic, Lufthansa Technik, and Accuron Technologies, among others.
Application: Interested startups can apply to present their ideas in upcoming events on the following dates: San Diego – December 1st, and London – December 5th.
AeroInnovate is based in the OshKosh United States. They focus on different industries including Aerospace, Aviation, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Tourism, Transportation and Logistics, Robotics, Agriculture, Security, Education, Artificial Intelligence, and Gaming. They focus on helping aero-related business startups launch and grow, including bringing new technologies to the market.
They offer an 8-week virtual accelerator program where startups get to enjoy the following benefits:
- Support to develop a working strategy, and access to great mentors who are leading industry experts, including legal and accounting professionals.
- Low-cost accommodation at the EAA’s AirVenture.
- Free exhibition at the EAA’s AirVenture innovation center.
- Connect and partner with leading companies in the industry.
- A chance to pitch at the biggest aerospace investor gathering – the Pitch and Mingle Annual Event.
Application Deadline: 6th March 2018.
Check out other important dates on their website.
4. Iowa Startup Accelerator
Based in Cedar Springs, United States, Iowa Startup Accelerator offers a 12-month intensive program. They accept just 10 startups per year, and each must have 2 to 5 founders to gain admission to the program. They focus on various industries including Aerospace, FinTech, BioTechnology, Health Care, Agriculture, CleanTech, Business Products, Financial, Education, and Robotics, among others. They advise startups to work from Cedar Springs, though you can work from anywhere. However, they have programs that run every Friday which you must attend. During orientation week, you must also be in Cedar Springs.
Benefits of the program include:
- Financial support – up to $20 K in initial seed funding capital with an additional $50k for firms that reach product market, and up to $250k in discounted technology perks.
- Access to industry-leading experts, mentors, and legal and business guide professionals.
- Access to dedicated accelerator staff.
- Founder Firesides.
- Access to a network of industry-leading companies and a chance to form partnerships.
- Access to C-Suite services, Lab, and office/co-working space.
- Roadshows and a chance to pitch at launch day.
Application Deadline: 3 February 2018
5. NASA Frontier Development Lab
The NASA Frontier Development Lab is an AI R&D accelerator program that runs from Silicon Valley, United States. They have an 8-week intensive program with a focus on topics useful to NASA and humanity’s future. Subjects of interest include Space Resources, Planetary Defense, and Space Weather. They only accept individuals with a Master’s degree and PhD in areas such as Asteroids, Data Science, Planetary Geology, Astronomy, and Heliophysics, among others.
Anyone can be admitted into the program but must be willing to travel to the US should they be admitted, and be eligible for the student visa. Once on the program, accommodation will be provided at the NASA Ames, Moffett Field. During the 8-week programs, there will be a Bootcamp – a chance to work in teams and then present your solutions and ideas to Luminaries from Silicon Valley.
Application Deadline: Applications are currently closed until the current session concludes in August 2018.
To keep updated make sure to check their website regularly.
6. NASA Research Park (NRP)
Based in NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, United States, the NASA Research Park (NRP) has provided an opportunity for over 70 university and industry partners to collaborate with NASA on a number of fields and technologies in “science and research disciplines critical to space exploration.” NRP allows entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology acceleration, based on different informal and formal collaborations. The NRP is a “world-class shared-use R&D and education campus” for the industry, academia, non-profits, and government.
Partners work with an assigned NRP Account manager and therefore do not have to undergo government bureaucracy.
They offer a full list of their partners on their website.
Application: Details on leasing opportunities can be found online.
7. LightSpeed Innovations
LightSpeed Innovations programs run from different locations that include Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, United States. They work in collaboration with various partners in the industry. They have a mission to “build a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem for the aerospace & defense industry.”
Startups with disruptive and differentiated patentable and protected ideas are encouraged to apply. They also work with established businesses that focus on deep tech and product concepts. Benefits from the 4-month long program include access to a network of investors, customers, and industry-leading expert mentors. To successfully help startups, they encourage mentors to join the program where they each get to work with the businesses to help them grow. They take equity when they invest in a startup.
Application Deadline: A program is in session running through to February 2018. Startups are, however, encouraged to apply for the next cohort as they use a rolling admissions process.
8. Space Angels Network
Space Angels Network is an investment platform that links investors to top early-stage startups. They have an impressive portfolio and were ranked the top tech venture by CB Insights. They are the most active investors with over 15 startups having benefited from the program in 2017 with a total of $126M in funding. They provide an avenue for investors to interact with astropreneurs.
Unlike other investment platforms, they don’t charge startups any fees to invest in them. They focus on helping entrepreneurs to access funds and other benefits by directly communicating with the space angels’ organization and not ‘members.’
Application: To join the program, startups can be referred by incubators, accelerators, members, and VCs, or can apply directly via email.
9. Khosla Ventures
Founded in 2004 by Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures offers “assistance and strategic advice to entrepreneurs working on breakthrough technologies.” They have an interest in different industries including SpaceTech, Education, Financial Services, Health, Agriculture, and Food, among others. Their headquarters is based in Menlo Park, California. They look for crazy ideas with a high chance of being realized.
You can find details on what startups need to do to receive seed funding on their website.
Application: To apply you submit a business plan.
10. Boeing HorizonX Ventures
Boeing HorizonX Ventures focus on startups “developing revolutionary concepts and businesses” from across the globe. They invest in industries such as space, Cybersecurity, Disruptive Commercial Mobility, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Advanced Logistics, Connectivity, Industrial Internet of Things, and Autonomous Systems. They offer state of the art facilities with numerous laboratories and technologies. Startups can also benefit from Boeing’s resources and networks that include leading industry experts, partners and market experience.
They look for startups with strong management teams and minimally viable products but with a potential for growth. Investors, professionals, and corporate VCs are also encouraged to join the program.
Application: To be part of the program you fill out a form, informing them of your details and why your business can be part of the program.
Conclusion On North American SpaceTech Accelerators
The number of SpaceTech accelerators has been on the rise over the years. Companies are shifting focus to space because they believe it plays a significant role in humanity’s future. These are 10 leading programs in North America. However, some have a global presence accepting startups and individuals from different regions. If you are based in Europe – and you want to keep it that way – check out our top 9 European SpaceTech accelerators.
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