5 Key Lessons From Space Investors
Constellations Podcast has hosted a wide variety of guests within the space industry, from technology practitioners to seasoned CEOs, with many interesting stories and lessons to share.
Among these guests have been venture capitalists and angel investors — the people who provide eager space entrepreneurs the capital necessary to get their businesses off the ground.
As Constellations Podcast celebrates the release of its 100th episode, here are 5 lessons for space entrepreneurs from both venture capitalists and angel investors including Voyager Space Holdings CEO and Chairman Dylan Taylor, SpaceFund Venture Capital Founding Partner Rick Tumlinson, and Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson.
- Assume a High Degree of Risk
“Never ever invest more than you can afford to lose. You should always assume high likelihood of loss. That’s true of any early stage investment,” Dylan Taylor stated during the Investment, The Importance of Early Failures and The Social Aspect of Space episode. He explained that many people see investing akin to gambling at a casino: they focus on the potential winnings, without understanding the risk for loss.
“I think we all have met an overly confident entrepreneur who only sees the rosy side,” Taylor continued. “I look at Elon: he’s later in his career now, but I don’t think he ever thought that space was easy, that rocketry was easy. And what I admire most about him is his resilience, the fact that he dusted himself off after several failures and kept going … I think that people define themselves in failure more than success.”
2. Find a Good Mentor
In explaining what it takes for entrepreneurs to make it in the NewSpace world, Taylor recommended to “be coach-able.”
“Some entrepreneurs believe they have it all figured out and don’t listen, frankly. And others are very coach-able,” Taylor said. “Find a good mentor or two as an entrepreneur, and then listen to them. I think because it’s not realistic or reasonable to think that you can have it all figured out. You need help to build a successful company, there’s no doubt about that.”
3. Create Value
“You know, the old astronaut slogan was, ‘No bucks, no Buck Rogers.’ I like to say, ‘Nobody stays until somebody pays,” Rick Tumlinson said during the Space Start-Ups, New Commercial Opportunities and Early Industry Pioneers episode. “The number one breakthrough necessary for opening up space to humanity, is the transportation up and down for the first hundred miles.”
Tumlinson continued: “Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein used to say, ‘A hundred miles up and you’re halfway to anywhere.’ … If [launchers] are able to bring [the price] down from the current roughly $10,000 a pound to go into space, down to $100 — which is quite possible with some of the technologies they’re working on — then everything breaks open.”
4. Be Honest
“Don’t overly exaggerate your claims,” Tumlinson warned. “Always understand that the person you’re talking to can pick up the phone or go to a conference and meet somebody, and ask, and find out whether or not you’re speaking the truth, or as occasionally happens, breaking the laws of physics.”
He continued: “It’s space. Space draws people who have big imaginations and big ideas. We get people that roll in, who over-promise and exaggerate what it is they’re doing. They’re big talkers, [with] big, grand visions. But then you ask them, ‘Okay, but how are you going to pay the bills?”
5. Dream Big
“If you look back on all the most successful entrepreneurs that have built really valuable businesses that have made a lot of money, a lot of times the founder has a big vision for how they’re going to change the world,” Chad Anderson explained during the Explosion in VC Funding, The Year of Commercial Space Travel and Earth Observation for Everyone episode. “And it’s these entrepreneurs that are really successful in business because they have a vision, an inspiring mission to rally around. And if they’re able to really articulate this vision they’re able to attract the best talent, get the right people involved and the best talent in the world to rally around your cause.”
Originally published at https://www.kratosdefense.com.