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Space Startups Get A Go For Funding

By Samantha Masunaga
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Last month, a few aerospace startups gathered in El Segundo, Calif., to pitch their ideas to a room of investors and space aficionados at an event co-hosted by Aerospace Corp. and incubator Starburst Accelerator.

Los Angeles Times

After the success of nimble companies like as rocket- and capsule-maker SpaceX and Earth-imaging firm Planet, investors are starting to see aerospace startups as viable ventures. But it’s still unclear whether these young firms can work with big, established players such as Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., or deliver the kind of quick returns that some investors expect.

Last month, a few of aerospace startups gathered in El Segundo, Calif., to pitch their ideas to a room of investors and space aficionados at an event co-hosted by Aerospace Corp. and incubator Starburst Accelerator.

Some startups said large aerospace companies or investors expressed interest in their proposals; those talks are in early stages.

For successful space entrepreneurs with good ideas, “there is more and more money,” said Francois Chopard, chief executive of Paris-based Starburst Accelerator. In the year since its founding, the incubator has worked with more than 150 startups and hosted events in cities such as Berlin, Montreal and Seattle. Starburst Accelerator also has a consulting arm, a venture fund and offices in Los Angeles, Singapore and Munich, Germany.

In one month, college friends Deepak Atyam and Alex Finch will graduate from Purdue University armed with master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and ready to change the dynamics of building rocket engines.

The two are co-founders of Tri-D Dynamics, a Cerritos startup that has developed technology and processes that improve on advanced 3-D printing methods for metalworking. Tri-D Dynamics plans to use them to churn out rocket engines of any size in a kind of automated assembly-line process to possibly shave months from the usual production process.

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