Francois Chopard, the CEO of aerospace accelerator Starburst Accelerator is of the opinion that the global aerospace industry is fast becoming venture capitalists’ new frontier.
Speaking at a TV interview on Wednesday, Chopard said, “We’ve seen a couple of announcements for start-ups willing to build electric commercial aircraft, so it’s not only space that is booming, but more the global aerospace sector that is looking for disruptions.”
Chopard said he’s bullish on the global aerospace sector as a whole because of the very recent successful launches of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket and the announcement by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos about his plans to sell $1 billion in Amazon stock each year to finance his space venture.
“We just realized recently that with the success of SpaceX and a couple of others, it was feasible for entrepreneurs with great ideas and great technologies to bring satellites with rockets and send them to space,” he said.
Commemorating the first human space flight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961, April 12 is marked and observed as the International Day of Human Space Flight. The aerospace industry is seeing more tech-driven breakthroughs globally, Chopard said in the spirit of space exploration.
“We’ve seen from the last five years dozens and dozens of start-ups, not only from the U.S., but also from Europe and Asia,” he said.
With a $5 million average funding target and having accelerated over 160 start-ups, his company, Starburst Accelerator, was founded in just in 2012. Innovation hubs in Paris, Los Angeles, Munich and Singapore are run by the company.
Late last year, its new venture called Starburst Ventures was launched by Starburst Accelerator. In order to back aerospace tech start-ups across the globe Over the period of the next three years, 200 million has been raised by it. To help those companies in an increasingly competitive industry, the venture is an essential push, Chopard said.
“It has been very difficult in the past, but we’ve seen a couple of deals mainly happening in Silicon Valley, so we wanted to leverage that start with more investors and with more focus on the aviation and aerospace.”
Chopard said he is optimistic about the future of the industry despite geopolitical tensions like those between the U.S. and Russia.
“Space collaboration between the U.S. and Russia is not new, it’s been going on for the last 20 years and they have achieved amazing things together, like the International Space Station,” he said, adding that the aerospace industry as a whole may have “the capability of making millions.”
(Adapted from CNBC)