Space-focused tech incubator Moonshot has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the federal government’s Incubator Support Scheme to help develop space technology businesses.
The grant delivers Moonshot a $500,000 boost thanks to matched backing from private investors. The funds will go towards expanding operations, launching new accelerator programs and amplifying support for local space startups.
The accelerator’s investing mentors include Flavia Tata Nardini of Fleet Space, Carley Scott of Equatorial Launch Australia, and international space leaders including Amir Blachman, Chief Business Officer of Axiom Space and Dr Andrew Aldrin, CEO of Florida’s Aldrin Space Institute.
Moonshot CEO and founder Troy McCann said the incubator has so far accelerated 25 space startups and made 10 investments.
“We don’t deal in science-fiction. From the weather data that farmers need to grow our food, to the GPS signals that help us drive from A to B, space tech already underpins our entire economy today. The space opportunity is no different to when the internet became mainstream and everyday people started to explore cyberspace,” he said.
“Today you can launch an actual space business for a fraction of the average cost of an investment property.’
McCann said Moonshot supports startups addressing a range of issues back on earth, from climate change to growing food in inhospitable areas, as well as developing new medicines that can’t be manufactured on Earth because gravity impacts on chemical reactions.
“We support startups that use frontier locations because they’re often misunderstood and seen as too risky by everyone else, but that’s often not the case and they can have incredible impacts on our world,” he said.
“Just like the most valuable companies today are those that built the infrastructure that the international economy runs on, today’s space tech businesses are creating the infrastructure that the international economy will run on tomorrow. Outer space is the new cyberspace.”
Sydney-based Arlula has been part of Moonshot’s latest Stage Four accelerator, also receiving a $50,000 investment through the program.
Co-founder Sebastian Chaoui’s startup is developing software to seamlessly access data measured from space from one source rather than multiple satellite operators.
“Arlula is a streaming service for satellite data,” he said.
“Our API reduces the time it takes to collect satellite imagery from space agencies by up to two weeks, which can be used for things like monitoring or assessing the impact of the recent NSW floods.”
Despite a range of recent high-profile capital raises in the local space sector, including a $61 million round for rocket company Gilmour Space, McCann said that Australia needs to increase government and private investment into space ventures to improve the nation’s economic security.
“Space as a commercial opportunity is new to everyone, no matter national space heritage, so we actually have an advantage by creating a new kind of space agency in Australia – an industry-focussed one,” he said.
“But if Australia doesn’t move faster, if we don’t dilute our aversion to investment risk, then all of our major industries in the future will be beholden to foreign interests. We need to support the growth of a broad-based space sector to ensure we have access to the infrastructure underlying tomorrow’s world.”
Gilmour Space Technologies founder Adam Gilmour is a Moonshot investor.
“Australia needs Moonshot. A dedicated space-focused accelerator that doesn’t just teach entrepreneurs how to do business but provides them the capital to get going,” he said.
Moonshot will showcase its latest space cohort online on August 6.