By Puneesh Chaudhry
Private satellites are photographing every inch of Earth’s surface, every day. Investors are using these “near-real time” satellite images to gather business intelligence like never before. For example, satellite images of empty-ish parking lots at retailers like Sears likely indicated that Sears was headed for bankruptcy.
To hide the impact of tariffs imposed by President Trump, in October the Chinese govt stopped publishing a key manufacturing index, which accounted for ~12% of China’s economy. Using satellite imagery, a company in San Francisco rebuilt this index and sold it to several hedge funds. Similar efforts are underway to track worldwide oil inventories to predict the price of oil.
The giant leaps in Space and Satellite technology are revolutionizing business intelligence and will have a meaningful impact on every business segment. The sector is already a $400 Billion/year market and is growing rapidly. On May 7th, TiECon East is organizing a panel discussion to explore the impact of these changes and what it means for businesses, and the human race as a whole. The panelists comprise of founders, CEOs and mission leaders of companies that are changing the face of satellites, space propulsion and missions to the Moon and beyond.
This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, when Neil Armstrong became the 1st human to set foot on the Moon, making the panel especially timely.
Once the province of governments, the Satellite/Space sector is seeing a surge of Venture investments and a plethora of private companies. Launches used to be major events, but now there is an Expedia like website called SpaceFlight.com, which allows you to browse available future space launches and book your launch to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Satellites themselves have become small and inexpensive, so much so that companies are planning to launch “swarms” of satellites to provide a range of services ranging from Internet access to tracking weather patterns and the spread of disease.
Companies are setting their sights even higher. Many companies are working to build “Space hotels” to serve Space tourism needs. Soon you’ll be able to send packages via DHL to the Moon. Want to go far? No problem: the first “Gas Station” in the space is about to be launched in a few months. And soon, humans will be able to mine the asteroids for minerals worth trillions of dollars. And, Elon Musk has committed to making humanity a multi-planet species.
The companies in the space sector are on a hiring spree and there is tremendous demand for various skill sets. Many believe that the sector is poised for a revolutionary growth like the Internet in the 90s and those who join in the early stage will reap a lot of the benefits. The panel will also explore what career paths are available and how can one join this rapidly growing sector.
Panel Name: Space, the Final Frontier: Now Open for Business
The panel composition is as follows:
- Kim Slater – Draper labs
- Louis Perna – Accion systems
- Ryan McDevitt – Benchmark systems
- Ally Yost – The Engine
Moderator: Prof Matthew Weinzierl of HBS.
To register for the conference, go here.
(Puneesh Chaudhry is an angel investor and advisor focused on early stage technology companies. He was previously co-founder & CEO of Copiun, an Angel/VC backed company. Puneesh has served on the board of multiple non-profits, including TiE Boston.)