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Could this startup be the Amazon AWS of space?

Categories Connectivity  |  Edge Computing News  |  Funding
Could this startup be the Amazon AWS of space?

Fresh out of stealth mode, executives at a combined edge software company and investment firm called NewSpace Networks said they will raise $200 million for buyouts, investment and its own product development.

NewSpace, based in San Jose, California, feels the satellite industry has not been sufficiently disrupted by dozens of private businesses and nations new to space aggressively launching hardware. In fact, the company’s founders say hardware is no longer the value add it used to be in the business for low Earth orbit communication services.

What is needed now is a software-centric approach to satellites, they say, and they intend to see the skies filled with virtualization, networking and cloud services.

Company co-founder Shaun Coleman has said that there is no “purpose-built” aerospace Amazon AWS, Cisco or VMware. The assumption is that he would like to change that before those companies get wise. That said, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin reusable rocket is set to start putting communications satellites into orbit in 2021.

NewSpace is not the first startup to see things this way, and the road it travels is littered with business-plan collapses, and more are expected this year. It is significant to note that one of those that crashed and burned was Vector Launch. NewSpace’s three co-founders all were involved in Vector. Robert Cleave, head of business development, had been Vector’s chief revenue officer. Coleman, head of product management and marketing, was Vector’s first investor. John Metzger, head of engineering, had been vice president of software engineering.

Still, if executives can fill their sizable fund among the ruins, some feel the industry will have taken a big step toward becoming a more stable, mature market.

It does not appear that a CEO has been named. Nor has the company announced who is hitting the bushes for the investment fund. Also unknown is whether the executives are forming a strategic corporate venture fund, which typically would create value that it could translate into new or added revenue for the parent firm. The alternative would be to create a fund that exists solely to reward investors.

A page on NewSpace’s site displays a laundry list of markets that it considers its focus. There is retail, mining, health care, airline entertainment, autonomous vehicles, among other possibilities.

But defense is of particular interest and sees the United States’ newest bureaucracy, the Space Development Agency, as a key target. Speaking to publication Breaking Defense, company executives said they feel they could help with the agency’s twin priorities: communications connectivity and tracking objects.

The article states that NewSpace is “pitching to be part of [the Defense Department’s] efforts to develop and use 5G high-speed communication capabilities” right down to linking Army vehicles.

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