Posts Tagged ‘#spaceperspective’

The Grand Tour? It’s not Europe anymore

Posted on: September 20th, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

It was a rite of passage for young and wealthy British men from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s. Having finished college, they would, accompanied by a knowledgeable chaperone, complete their education (and acquire status) on a Grand Tour of architecture, antiquities, art and music found only on the Continent.

But technology, in the form of trains and steamships, did the Grand Tour in. Once commoners (and, good heavens, women!) could, on an affordable Thomas Cook package, duplicate the experience en masse, it lost its appeal.

The upper class would find other ways to enjoy Europe, but that particular ritual faded away.

I believe we’re witnessing the renewal of the Grand Tour. It has many of the same trappings as the original: It is, for the time being, only available to the wealthy; it can be justified on the basis of personal growth; it bestows bragging rights.

I’m talking about space travel. Virgin GalacticBlue OriginSpace AdventuresAxiom Space. Space Perspective.

There are, of course, significant and important structural differences. It may last only six hours instead of six months. The experience often confines movement, rather than encourages it; and attention is focused narrowly rather than broadly.

But despite the brevity and limited experience, I’m convinced that a trip to space (or near space) is no less life-changing for the traveler than a six-month Grand Tour, and perhaps in ways the traveler never expected.

Read the full article here

Central Florida Tech fund invests in 7th startup. Here’s what’s next.

Posted on: September 20th, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

When venture capital firm Kirenaga Inc. prepped the launch of its Central Florida Tech fund nearly two years ago, some investors asked the same question. 

The investors kicked their money into the fund, primarily focused on early-stage investments in tech companies between the Gulf Coast and Space Coast, but they were curious if they would get their money back if Kirenaga failed to find enough investable firms, Kirenaga Partner Jim Thomas told Orlando Inno. “I said ‘Are you kidding me?’”

Instead of struggling to find companies, the fund is going strong. The Central Florida Tech Fund announced July 25 it made its seventh startup investment, and sixth in Florida, into Gainesville-based Mattrix Technologies Inc. The rollout of the fund was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it since has moved quickly: Millions of dollars were invested into seven companies in less than a year. 

That’s just the start for the fund. Kirenaga plans to raise $100 million and invest in 15-20 startups over three years. In fact, Kirenaga is seriously eyeing six more companies to invest in the near future, Thomas said. 

Space balloons, drone tech and more

In addition to Mattrix, Central Florida Tech fund’s investments include: 

  • Censys Technologies Corp.: Daytona Beach-based firm enabling drones to fly faster and further 
  • ecoSPEARS Inc.: Altamonte Springs-based company with tech that removes contaminants from soil and water
  • Phenix: Chicago-based firm with real-time video streaming technology 
  • Space Perspective Inc.: Based at Kennedy Space Center, the company will send tourists to the edge of the atmosphere in a balloon capsule.
  • StemRad Inc.: Headquartered in Tampa and Israel, the firm makes personal protective equipment to protect against radiation. 
  • Violet Defense LLC: Orlando-based developer of ultraviolet light-based disinfection systems (Company CEO Terrance Berland also is a Kirenaga managing partner) 

These investments are important because the money can help the companies grow, creating jobs and innovative solutions and technologies in the process. For example, ecoSPEARS expects to grow its staff from 15 people to 40 or more by the end of 2022 as a result of its growth, Executive Vice President Ian Doromal previously told OBJ.

Plus, Thomas said the deal highlights the Central Florida Tech Fund’s thesis: There are investable, scalable tech firms in Florida but a lack of early-stage capital. “Florida and Central Florida are the most undercapitalized places in the country that also have the most opportunities.” 

Last quarter, venture capital activity in metro Orlando lagged behind other regional metros, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. Local companies raised $84.3 million in the second quarter, compared to $990 million in Atlanta, $831 million in Miami, $251 million in Charlotte and $239 million in Nashville. Orlando did surpass the $25 million invested in Tampa companies. 

Priming the pump 

However, venture capital deals are up in all of Central Florida’s metros as 2021 is on pace to be a record year for nationwide startup investments, according to PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. From second-quarter 2020 to second-quarter 2021, venture capital investment is up 103% to $84.3 million in Orlando, up 2,000% to $10.6 million in Melbourne and up from zero to $9.8 million in Daytona Beach. 

More big startup investments may be on the way to the region, said Ben Patz, managing partner of Orlando-based venture capital firm DeepWork Capital LLC. Central Florida is home to plenty of investable technology, but it takes time and money to build toward a larger, more plentiful investment scene, he said. “It’s like priming a pump.”

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Posted on: September 20th, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

Our Neptune One test vehicle successfully launched from the Space Coast Spaceport, adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, on June 18 2021, the first in our robust test flight program for Spaceship Neptune. Space Perspective is the first space launch operator to fly from the Space Coast Air and Spaceport.

The un-crewed Neptune One flew its planned flight, similar to the one our Space Explorers will fly. It reached over 100,000 feet, traversed the Florida peninsula and splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico where it was met and brought ashore.

See the full article and pictures from the flight here

Stratospheric ballooning company Space Perspective raises $7 million

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

WASHINGTON — Space Perspective, a startup planning to offer tourists trips to the edge of space in a high-altitude balloon, has raised $7 million in a seed round that will allow the company to test its technologies.

Space Perspective announced Dec. 2 it closed the seed round, led by funds Prime Movers Lab and Base Ventures. Others participating in the round included Kirenaga Partners’ Central Florida Tech Fund, 1517 Fund, Schox, E2MC Ventures and SpaceFund Venture Capital, as well as entrepreneur and author Tony Robbins.

The company, with about 15 employees currently, will use the funding to continue development of Spaceship Neptune, a stratospheric balloon system designed to carry people to an altitude of 30 kilometers. Such flights would give people an experience similar to some aspects of spaceflight, notably the view.

Read the full article here

How Soon Will Tourists Be Traveling to Space?

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

How about a post-COVID adventure into the cosmos?

With no concrete end in sight to this pandemic (thanks anti-maskers), we’re forced to think about what the future of travel may hold. And by the time we’re actually able to leave the country and explore our beautiful world, there may be an even wilder option for the adventure seekers out there—space travel.

That’s right, in the next few years, multiple companies are gearing up to take you to space. You’ll be able to float in zero gravity, marvel at our beautiful blue ball from afar (flat earthers be damned), and see more stars than you could ever imagine. This isn’t a giant hoax (like the idea that masks don’t work), this is a real thing that you’ll really be able to do—that is, if you have the money.

So, here’s to hoping that locking ourselves in our homes for a year or two will be rewarded with the ultimate travel adventure of leaving Earth behind.

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Space Perspective

Teaming up with Exclusive Resorts (a members-only vacation club), Space Perspective is planning to send travel explorers up to the edge of space via a balloon dubbed Spaceship Neptune. Exclusive Resorts members will get priority flights as eight people will soar to over 100,000 feet on a six-hour journey to see the curvature of the earth up close and personal. Flights are planned for 2024 and probably won’t be cheap. Memberships to Exclusive Resorts has initiation fees in the six figures and per-day vacation costs over $1,000. Still, you’re almost in space!

Read the full article here