Federal Government Backs Australia’s First Space Incubator Moonshot

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (Moonshot PR) — Moonshot, Australia’s first space-focused incubator, has today received a half a million-dollar [US $374,043] matched grant from the federal government’s Incubator Support Scheme to cultivate new space technology businesses across the country.

Led by a consortium of international space tech leaders, Moonshot’s latest financial boost involves matched contributions from the federal government and investors alike, showcasing local appetite to invest in Australia’s next generation of space entrepreneurs.

Moonshot is Australia’s first line of support for ambitious tech startups looking towards the stars, offering tailored accelerator programs and investment opportunities via a recently established fund. The accelerator enables space startups to conduct commercial R&D for technologies such as satellites and launch facilities, robotics, aggregation platforms for business-critical data measured from space, and beyond.

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Moonshot has accelerated 25 space startups, including Swoop Aero, and has made 10 investments so far. The latest injection of federal funding will enable Moonshot to expand operations, launch new accelerator programs and amplify support for local space startups.

“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,” said Moonshot CEO and Founder, Troy McCann.

“Today you can launch an actual space business for a fraction of the average cost of an investment property. There are countless opportunities within the new locations we have access to, like shoebox-sized satellites in Earth orbit that can help us track and react to bushfires, to manufacturing new medicines in zero gravity which just can’t be created on Earth.”

Senator Andrew Bragg, chair of the Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, commented he was delighted for Moonshot to receive the government’s $250,000 contribution towards its world-class technology incubator.

“Tech startups are a critical part of Australia’s economic future and the space industry has always been one of our strengths on the global stage,” he continued. “Well done Moonshot.”

Sydney-based Arlula is a participant in Moonshot’s latest Stage Four accelerator receiving a $50,000 investment through the program. Arlula develops software to seamlessly access data measured from space from one source rather than multiple satellite operators.

“Arlula is a streaming service for satellite data. 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,” said Arlula co-founder, Sebastian Chaoui.

Current investing mentors include local heavy-hitters such as Flavia Tata Nardini of Fleet Space, and Carley Scott of Equatorial Launch Australia, as well as international space leaders including Amir Blachman, Chief Business Officer of Axiom Space and Dr Andrew Aldrin, CEO of the Aldrin Space Institute in Florida.

Each of the investors in Moonshot’s fund are also committed mentors for its programs, and collectively select the final companies they will help grow by sharing their time, experience and networks.

The global space sector is anticipated to reach USD $2.7 trillion by 2045, Australia is not willing to be left behind. Moonshot was recently invited to address a parliamentary enquiry into developing the local space sector by injecting Australia’s $3 trillion in superannuation funds into the industry and focusing efforts on industry-led funds.

“Australia needs to increase both government and private investment into space if we want to maintain our economic security,” said McCann. “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.

“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.

“We’re doing what we can to create a nexus between the private and government sectors to enable space in Australia, and to create new international trade, talent and investment attraction opportunities to amplify that.”

Gilmour Space Technologies CEO and Moonshot investor Adam Gilmour commented on the matched government funding announcement, “Australia needs Moonshot. A dedicated space focussed accelerator that doesn’t just teach entrepreneurs how to do business but provides them the capital to get going.”

Moonshot will showcase their latest space cohort online on August 6 2021.

QUOTES

“Most people think that space is someplace far away, detached from our planet. But the International Space Station is only 400 km away – half the distance between Sydney and Melbourne.

“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. These startups are helping us address climate change, grow food in usually inhospitable areas, and even develop new kinds of medicines that can’t be manufactured on Earth because our gravity affects the chemical reactions.

“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.”

– Troy McCann, Founder and CEO of Moonshot

“Space is hard. You need more than just a great technical idea or a keen business sense to be successful. Moonshot brings together the diverse combination required to be successful in this challenging business.”

– Dr Andrew Aldrin, Director of the ISU Center for Space Entrepreneurship at the Florida Institute of Technology

“In more than a quarter century of investing in startups on four continents rarely have I seen the potential to so substantially impact the future as through the innovators and investors involved in Moonshot. Space is not the next frontier, it is here already! Australia has a proud history of global firsts in space related innovations and this Australian-based, globally inclusive accelerator program builds on that history to open another door to a brighter future for the whole planet.”

–  Jordan Green, Australian High Commissioner to World Business Angel Investor Forum

“I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been the past few years, getting into the space industry, and if I think back I can trace most of my connections back to Troy and to Moonshot”

– Tejpaul Bhatia, Office of the CIO at Google/Chief Revenue Officer at Axiom Space

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