LightSpeed Innovations April 2017 Newsletter

Happy April!

It’s already spring! Time has flown by and we are already half way through our space accelerator program working with 9 new space companies. Our Pitch/Demo Day is May 19, 2017 in the Bay area.

Beyond this announcement, our newsletter this month is a short compilation of updates from alumni companies and one PopSci article on manufacturing in space-with key support provided by several known space experts. Read on!

Portfolio Roundup

It’s been great to catch up with several of our alumni companies — to see how far they have come. Below is the latest news from P4, Raven, Skylift Global, and Kubos
Phase Four
Phase Four completed their DARPA contract and an extension is in work. Great to have non-dilutive funding on top of the several million they have raised. Aerospace Corporation tested their system and they now have 3rd party validation of their thruster’s performance. Phase Four will be publishing results at the IEPC conference later this year. 
Further more, the propulsion system will be tested in late 2017 on a Landmapper satellite built by Astro Digital, an Earth imaging and analysis company located at the NASA Ames Research Park, Moffett Field, California. See More here.

Raven
Raven is on a tear. They have built out their golf food delivery app which is already on Apples App Store. Their Founder Ravi Gangele reported that “The 1.0 version of our Golf Ordering app will enable golf courses anywhere to setup on demand ordering”, which will allow them to upgrade to the drone delivery payment tier when that becomes legalized”
Raven also has a drone delivery demonstration coming up in the end of April as part of a golf PGA association event held at a local private country club who is associated with the PGA tour. After Belmont announced in 2016 that they were trying out the Raven app, their members helped spread the word to other golfers which resulted in this invitation to demo.

Kubos
Kubos- besides acquiring the .com domain for their company (small but important achievement), they have closed their seed round with luminary investors of which Draper Dragon was one. 
While obtaining financing is an achievement, what’s even more important is the progress they had made already. Check out their open software documentation! Increasingly they are called upon to support important software projects, and through that are building out their open software core, so important for reducing barriers to entry for innovation in the small sat arena.

Skylift Global
Finally, Skylift Global has been busy with their partnering with Cal Tech in furthering their technology. They have lifted over 100 lbs and continue to press forward to their 200 lb stated goal. They are finalists for AUVSIs XPONENTIAL and being advised by David Place, a former AUVSI board member and known expert on the military and civilian drone industry.

Manufacturing in Space…

Orbital manufacturing is already paving the way for better solar panels, faster internet, cleaner computer chips, and lab-grown human hearts. Yes, that latter — human hearts — category is real. Since last year we here at LightSpeed have seen an increasing number of innovators looking to exploit the microgravity environment- some partnering with large pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lilly, to explore how the microgravity environment can assist with drug discovery (and hopefully reduce the cost and time to discovery).

Made In Space is but one company that is building products. A startup coming out of Penn, Protofluidics has won the opportunity from Made in Space to have some of their product hosted in space. A university team isn’t the only ones eager to be challenged by an environment beyond our terrestrial one.

Future Engineers is a amazing non-profit that inspires and challenges K-12 kids to come up with ideas and create something that can be 3D printed in space.

See more on manufacturing in space by Andrew Rosenblum of Popular Science, supported by Ioana Cozmuta (NASA Ames).

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