Resource support

Support for start-ups is key to winning the space race

Casey Anglada DeRaad

Editor’s Note: Throughout 2022, New Mexico Angels members, investors, and start-up owners will write about economic development and start-up opportunities in the state. Angels bring together individual investors to pool their resources, providing seed and start-up capital to start-up businesses.

The space race is back.

To win it, you will have to tackle the obstacles that companies face when launching their new products in space.

I founded NewSpace New Mexico for this purpose. As the former head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Office of Technology Engagement, I’ve seen how difficult it can be for companies to understand and access resources that can help them grow. and to succeed.

Through our cooperation with space companies, hosting industry forums, and co-innovating with hundreds of space leaders across the country, we try to address the root causes that cause too many businesses find themselves stuck in the industry-recognized “Valley of Death”. “It came back loud and clear that the biggest challenge preventing more companies from succeeding is having a support system that goes beyond the research and development stage.

We recently launched NewSpace Ignitor, which is funded in partnership with the AFRL, to address these concerns by providing a comprehensive support system for companies moving from concept to product to sale. The incubator-like program will provide unprecedented levels of post-R&D support to start-up small and medium-sized businesses. This support will give companies what they need to turn their innovations into revenue-generating products.

Supporting businesses through the innovation lifecycle is incredibly complex and will require us all to work together to leverage the vast resources that are already thriving in our state. Our rich space ecosystem in New Mexico includes a purpose-built spaceport, two leading national laboratories, universities, and three Space Force organizations working in the state – the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, Air Force Research Laboratory and Space Systems Command. It also includes a growing ecosystem of space entities, such as Q Station and Hyperspace Challenge, as well as private equity organizations like our partner New Mexico Angels.

NewSpace New Mexico works with all of these organizations as well as our extensive network of partners as space ventures progress beyond the start-up phase. We will provide personalized advice to companies with well-defined concepts to raise their readiness levels, accelerate product development and accelerate sales. Providing companies with better access to specialized equipment and investment capital will be an essential service offered throughout this process. Since space prototyping and fabrication typically cost millions of dollars, this is crucial in helping companies connect to these resources. Participating cohort companies will also have the opportunity to present their innovations to investors and buyers.

The right sizing of capital investments is the last critical element to enable more technological solutions to make it to space. While investment in the space sector hit a record $17.1 billion last year, it breaks down to a few late-stage mega-towers and a total of 328 companies funded. The total number of companies receiving funding must multiply for the United States to win the space race.

Through organizations such as New Mexico Angels, private investors will play an important role in the solution by supporting programs such as the NewSpace Ignitor through funding, mentorship and knowledge sharing. In turn, investors can be more confident that the companies they invest in will be more likely to succeed with New Mexico’s space ecosystem behind them providing all the necessary support.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be in space. By uniting and igniting the industry and supporting start-ups beyond R&D, New Mexico holds the key to winning the space race and capitalizing on the new multi-trillion dollar space opportunity.

NewSpace New Mexico is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity that was created to bring space stakeholders together, promote a universal voice for space leadership, and grow the commercial space innovation base to benefit the nation.