Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Venture Capital for New Space?

Last week the White House began a push aimed at assisting entrepreneurs in high-growth industries. The Startup America Partnership seeks to connect entrepreneurs with the capital and expertise of large corporate/non-profit organizations - taking what works and doing more of it.

“Our nation once again looks to these creative risk-takers to unleash the next wave of American innovation.”
Bureaucracy tends to favor the large (I hate the phrase, “too big to fail”).  So it is nice to see this focus on the entrepreneur.  Over 24 firms have joined the President in committing dollars or expertise to the Startup America Partnership:
  • Intel contributed $200M (over which period of time?)
  • IBM contributed $150M for 2011
  • HP contributed $4M for 2011 (come on HP, you can do better!)
  • Facebook is sponsoring gatherings for startups (part VC pitch/part mentorship)
  • The Kauffman Foundation and AOL’s founder, Steve Case, have joined forces to help lead the Startup America Partnership (in college I worked closely with the Kauffman Foundation through an organization called SIFE – they are good people doing good things)
I know Fred Wilson and other Tech Venture Capitalists are excited about this initiative from the President, but New Space should push to access these funds and expertise as well.  Maybe I missed it, but I have not seen much New Space blog traffic about the President's announcment.  Yesterday, Chuck Black spoke about the growth of the Venture Capital within NewSpace. Capital does not fix all problems within New Space, but access to more capital will surely help the industry grow faster.

Through the Startup America Partnership, the President is targeting high growth businesses/industries. The Futron Corporation reported last week, commercial space is growing at 10% per year – 10% is high growth for an industry!

The Startup Partnership is focusing on:
  • Acceleration of Scale: turning small companies and products into big
  • Education: C Suite experience for free or at a discount
  • Commercialization: working with universities to turn their innovations into products
I hope to see New Space firms in need of capital/expertise taking advantage of the opportunity. New Space is definitely a part of the Nation’s “solution for the future”.

Here is a one minute video from Steve Case introducing the Startup America Partnership:

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