In conversation with SpaceChain’s CEO Cliff Beek
As SpaceChain enters its 5th year, the company is undergoing significant changes in its core team. Clifford W. Beek is the new addition to the company. He will join as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SpaceChain. Cliff will replace Zee Zheng, who will now steer the organization as the executive chairman.
A veteran executive, Cliff has over 25 years of experience providing leadership and strategic direction to high-growth technology companies, their board of directors, and senior management. In addition, he has a proven track record managing equity-backed companies, particularly within aerospace, cyber-security, defense intelligence, and cloud infrastructure.
Cliff has formerly worked as the President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, Co-founder of Star Asia Technologies, and a Board member of Etheric Networks and CMC Asia. He even successfully led the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) formation of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Information Highway- a fiber optic communications network, and negotiated the funding and bilateral agreements on behalf of ADB.
Now, with his expertise and remarkable business acumen, SpaceChain is all set for greater heights and achievements.
Here’s an in-depth conversation with Cliff, elucidating his strategy and aspirations for SpaceChain.
Q: What’s your long-term plan for SpaceChain 5 years from now?
A: Our plan for the first year is to establish a U.S. presence for SpaceChain. In doing this, SpaceChain will extend its global footprint, create awareness for its remarkable industry achievements, and aim to monetize its proven capabilities.
Our expansion plan aims to optimize our first-mover market position and build upon demonstrative in-orbit platforms that will further progress SpaceChain as the first company to successfully launch and transmit a blockchain from space.
Q: What is your near-term strategy for SpaceChain? What do you see as the single most important area that you need to focus on to achieve success?
A: In the near term, our priorities are:
First, to both gain and strengthen our market leadership position by building on our team’s proven capabilities, experience, and established relationships. We have achieved six successful space missions; for example, putting secure transactional wallets on the International Space Station, which is not trivial ━ this achievement required having been carefully vetted by NASA, resulting in our receiving authorized certification to transact two blockchain wallets from the ISS, which no one in our industry group has done.
Secondly, we plan to progress our program of attaching our engineered space node to multiple LEO payloads. In doing this, we create an operational fintech network in orbit! We have successfully performed this commercial activity in collaboration with a Spire Global LEO for a specific customer. The end result proved to be highly complementary and brought incremental value to the constellation’s traditional service offering.
We, as well as our customers, saw SpaceChain’s space node as bringing adjacent commercial value to the company. So with this proven mission, we will extend the space node concept further to create a fintech market offering. Again, bringing an adjacent value and revenue stream to new and existing LEOs in orbit. It is significant for SpaceChain because our industry is gaining more attention with annual growth rates (CAGR) above 20% — SpaceChain is well-positioned for customer adoption of our secure wallet and custodian services (DeFi) model.
Third, our capital formation. We are in the process of a capital raise that will be used for investing in new products to profitably expand our market leadership position in data security and blockchain applications in space.
Q: What other regions do you intend to expand SpaceChain into?
A: We see enormous potential in our current geographic regions and would like to scale growth to enhance capabilities in Asia, Europe and MENA regions. In parallel — and by entering the U.S. market, we plan to aggressively demonstrate our space tech and expertise in implementing space-based applications.
SpaceChain’s multi-signature blockchain wallet transmitting from the International Space Station has been recognized throughout the space industry. Our resources in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East — have been inundated with new inquiries. Now, we seek to create awareness in the U.S. market for SpaceChain — a highly strategic growth opportunity for us.
Q: Certain countries have a stronger competitive advantage in the space sector as compared to other countries. For example, Singapore is a multi-global space hub, so would you gravitate to working with nations that have a better infrastructure when it comes to the space sector?
A: A first reaction to the question is, “yes, of course.” And to be sure, we value the support Singapore has provided us, as well as the support we received from Europe.
Recognizing that the entry point for smaller countries into space tends to be capital intensive and mostly reserved for countries with higher GDPs, SpaceChain is involved in discussions with less developed countries’ space hub aspirations. We feel compelled to assist where we can.
Being an accomplished application solutions company that has successfully engineered and delivered innovative space platforms, we would like to contribute towards making space accessible by supporting an array of activities that can protect and advance the quality of life here on earth. For example, SpaceChain is currently developing an open-source platform/portal to effectively decentralize image procurement from any Earth Observation (EO) satellite service provider. The unique aspect is that any user can securely use their blockchain wallet to publish a requirement on the platform, whereby all EO companies can decide to respond and fulfill the request in a secure, seamless, and anonymous environment.
Q: Would that include central Asian countries like Kazakhstan?
A: We welcome the opportunity to work and contribute to advancing space programs within central Asia. Yes, Kazakhstan is a formidable opportunity for us.
Q: You mentioned that the US would be the new headquarters for SpaceChain. Where specifically in the US would that be?
A: Well, deciding where to locate in the U.S. is a complex decision. We feel that our decision should have evidence of quantifiable benefits concerning location specifics, such as access to talent, the average cost of living, and industry sectors that are in proximity to our location. So, we are working on developing a clear view of available options.
With that said, there are three equally appealing geographic areas being considered: the Washington DC metropolitan area — a solid base of aerospace engineers; San Francisco, the bay area has access to a deep tech base; and New York City’s extensive fintech customer base and access to capital markets.
Q: What are your plans when it comes to raising capital and increasing awareness, including marketing campaigns to enable potential customers to know more about SpaceChain?
A: We have begun a capital formation process for our U.S. expansion, selectively targeting private equity investors and strategic vendors who have an affinity to space, blockchain, and fintech. We’ve prepared an investor pitch deck and have received favorable early interest.
I am totally impressed with SpaceChain’s marketing team. They have developed roots in social media, linking content and brand relevance in full-on marketing models.
Q: Do you have any plans to collaborate with specific companies?
A: For sure. The category or industry sector-specific companies include mobile payment platforms where our value add is providing an entire system architecture where the signed data between a “wallet” and the “wallet server” is secure. Our service differentiator is our space node, which ensures transaction data is not tampered with or compromised during transmission.
Q: Over the next two-to-three years, would you expand the product spectrum?
A: Yes, it’s an exciting multi-tiered plan. Today we have aligned our technical capabilities with satellite constellation service providers. We have attached our space nodes on satellite payloads to unleash the adjacent value by forming a network of secure communications with secure decentralized blockchain and fintech applications. In that regard, we create a potential global footprint of mesh DeFi network services.
The next phase would be integrating our platforms with satellite manufacturers who work in conjunction with diversifying their service offerings for service operators. And ultimately, SpaceChain would consider designing and deploying a constellation of its own.
Q: What is your management style and philosophy?
A: It’s essential to have a good understanding of strengths and be sensitive to gaps or weaknesses in the team. I am a big believer in mentorship. That is, surrounding myself with a strong core of department heads. Deep thinkers with proven track records.
This team can lead and inspire the development of a new generation of successful leaders. I place a high priority on career path development, making it exciting, communicating our mission, then giving just enough responsibility to allow for some calculated risk. Ultimately you have to encourage decision-making with balanced risk ━ it keeps things exciting. And I don’t like the idea of discharging employees unless there was some type of reckless behavior. Let’s try to work on the weaknesses and strengthen our team.
So, I guess what I am saying is the ultimate decision-making is actually in the hiring process, having some vetting process to make sure that we are building an organization that embraces, respects each other, and makes it clear it takes everyone to be successful — and they don’t all have to think, look, act the same.
Respect each other. Bring out the best, and make it fun!
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