A Reality Check for the Space Industry
The space revolution has begun. We are at a historic tipping point in the growth of what will be the world’s central economic driver for centuries to come – the industrial development of space. The excitement is palpable, and amazing new companies, projects, and products are announced almost daily. From serving existing space markets to creating entirely new products and services, the tempo will only increase, and so too the opportunities for wealth creation. Yet, even as the space industry represents a huge investment opportunity, the dizzying array of options for capital deployment are confusing, to say the least. After all, we are literally at the border between science fiction and business, where investors are sometimes “going where no investor has gone before.” How can anyone know which companies are actually real? Which companies have technology that works, experienced leadership teams, and access to enough financing to see their plans through? There is a significant gap in publicly available data about the space startup sector. It is our goal to close this information gap, first with the SpaceFund Reality rating databases, and then through other ongoing research and publication initiatives.
The SpaceFund Reality (SFR) rating is designed to provide investors, customers, regulators, media, and the industry itself with a quick guide and assessment of players old and new in the various sub-sectors of the space industry. The SFR is structured to cut through the hype and get to the core information – who is who, who is doing what, and what are the chances of their success – in other words: Are they real?
The SpaceFund Reality (SFR) rating is an effort to provide critical, intelligent, and non-biased information about the status of the growing space industry, and to make as much of this data available to the public as possible. The SFR rating is designed to be a general guide, and is not intended as a critique or endorsement of any one company. Rather, it is our hope that by providing this rating we can support the research and diligence of those who may invest in, partner with, or purchase products or services from these companies. We also hope the SFR rating will serve to promote the highest standards for space companies, helping them identify opportunities for improvement while simultaneously creating a strong market within which they can function. We also believe the SFR rating can become a way to identify gaps in the space supply chain, by detailing not only how many or how few entrants there are in specific sectors, but also the progress and viability of those companies.
Utilizing a number of indicators, and based on publicly available information as well as expert insights, the SpaceFund team has rated each of these companies on a series of ‘reality’ factors that feed into an overall score, on a scale of 0 – 9. On the SFR rating scale, a score of 0 represents very early stage companies with little to no financing, limited teams, and no proof of concept for their technology. Meanwhile, a score of 9 represents a well-financed company with proven technology, established product-market fit, and a well-rounded team.
It is important to note that the commercial space industry is still young. As such, most of the companies rated will be in various early stages of development. In some cases, and in some sectors, many of the companies will just be getting started and will be introduced in a low rating category (0 – 3). As such, a low rating may simply mean the company is early in its development cycle and not at all be a reflection of the company’s long-term viability. However, as these companies grow and change over time, we will update their ratings accordingly, tracking company maturity and success.
A Note to Space Startups: SpaceFund exists to support startups. You are our passion. So we understand the nature of taking an idea from nothing to something. If you think your SpaceFund Reality rating needs to be updated, please reach out to us with more information so we can accurately reflect your current status. Also, if you are not yet listed in a SpaceFund database, and would like to be, send us your information and we will be happy to add you.
What the SpaceFund Reality Rating is Not
The SFR rating is meant only as a guide, and should not be used as the sole basis of any business, investment, or partnership decision. By posting this information, SpaceFund does not accept responsibility for any decisions resulting from these ratings, nor do we accept responsibility for the correctness or factual nature of any information gathered from any source regarding any company or individual listed in the ratings. SpaceFund does not claim to have complete information or imply that we have access to private or confidential information on any company, project, or individual listed or identified. We have not and will not accept any remuneration from any company listed in the rating, however, SpaceFund reserves the right at any point in time, using this information and other private diligence or intelligence, to invest in or negotiate partnerships with any company listed.
The details of the formula by which SpaceFund rates the ‘reality’ of any company are proprietary, however the structure of the formula is based on our detailed understanding of the field, and similar criteria to those we use in our own diligence and evaluation of a company’s investability. The formula focuses primarily on the factors that are most important for a startup company’s success, such as technology, team, and funding. The SFR ratings databases are living documents, and will change as new information is provided. It is our intention to review and update the ratings periodically. We hope to provide an ever-expanding and more in-depth set of information and analysis over time and reserve the right to change, update, or edit our formulas based on changes in market conditions, new sources of information, or new market entrants.
SpaceFund Sectors of Interest
SpaceFund is interested in a number of sectors of the space economy, specifically Transportation, Communication, Human Factors, Supplies, and Energy. In the coming months we will post SFR ratings for companies from all of these sectors, providing a robust overview of the state of frontier-enabling companies across the industry. To begin, we have created an SFR database for the Earth-to-Space sub-sector of Transportation (launch), as well as a database for the Beyond Earth Orbit sub-sector of Communication, the Habitats sector of Human Factors, and the Satellite Servicing sector of Supply Chain. We also created a special database in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing, called the Moon List that catalogs those companies who are working on a permanent return to the Moon. Please check back frequently to view new sub-sector databases, and sign up to receive our emails to be notified of each new release.
Click on the black buttons below to view the available SFR databases.