The Space Economy by Chad Anderson

May 17, 2023
Justin Lewis, NPA

The launch of "The Space Economy" a book by Chad Anderson

Space Capital is excited to announce the launch of The Space Economy: Capitalize on the Greatest Business Opportunity of Our Lifetime, a new book by Chad Anderson. Chad Anderson is the founder and Managing Partner of Space Capital.

The book is a fascinating and accessible treatment of the most promising area of business opportunity since the internet. Space Capital firmly believes that The Space Economy will be essential reading for those interested in investing in this fast-growing sector.

In the book, readers can expect to learn about a variety of topics related to the space economy, including:

  • How to develop a thesis for investing in innovation at a global scale
  • The major and minor players in a business ecosystem of epic potential—and how to identify and exploit vast areas of blue-sky opportunity still unexplored
  • Lessons from entrepreneurs and investors on what it takes to thrive in this new arena, including case studies of exciting startups successfully leveraging space-based technology
  • In-depth advice on hiring and retaining out-of-this-world talent in an increasingly competitive landscape
  • The in-demand skills and aptitudes of space careers—and tips on networking and getting hired at the hottest companies
  • Deep dives into the legal, political, and diplomatic implications of space-based entrepreneurship
“Nascent markets like the Space Economy are exciting, dynamic, and fast-moving, but they are also prime breeding grounds for hucksters and bottom-feeders. Simply surveying the field—in part, by reading this book—will inoculate you against many of the hazards.” (Page 9)
Order "The Space Economy" now!

Let’s look more closely at what makes this book truly unique–the involvement of Space Capital (with the firm’s unique perspective on the Space Economy) and author Chad Anderson himself. 

About Space Capital

Space Capital is a seed-stage venture capital firm investing in the Space Economy, specifically focused on unlocking the value in space technology stacks such as GPS, Geospatial Intelligence, and Satellite Communications. The firm is actively investing out of its third fund with well over $100 million under management. 

Space Capital’s partners have built rockets, satellites, and operating systems. They have founded companies with assets currently in space, and have led multiple exits as operators. Space Capital has been pioneering investment in the Space Economy for over 10 years. Their unmatched experience in this category enables them to better source, win, and support their portfolio.

Who is Chad Anderson?

Described by TechCrunch as “among the best-positioned people on either the investment or the operator side to weigh in on the current and future state of the space startup industry,” Chad Anderson is the founder and managing partner of Space Capital, which has been pioneering investment in the Space Economy for over a decade.

We recently sat down with Anderson to discuss the book, and what brought him to craft this study of the global space economy. What follows is an excerpt from that chat.

Can you tell us about your background and how it led you to write "The Space Economy"?

My professional experience is primarily in business. I have a finance and economics undergrad and an MBA. And prior to business school, I was managing a $50 billion real estate portfolio with JP Morgan Chase through the Great Recession. 

But I was looking to do something more meaningful. So that's why I went to business school in 2012 to change tact. It was there that I was studying nascent markets and taking courses from an Oxford and Stanford professor named Marc Ventresca, who specializes in how new markets come about. I was learning about how fundamental changes can remove the barriers to entry, and enable entrepreneurship and innovation to flood in. 

And while I was studying, in 2012, SpaceX first launched to the space station and delivered cargo, and then brought their spacecraft safely back to Earth which made them the only organization ever to do that outside of three national superpowers. 

Something was definitely happening here. 

They had just launched their first customer a few years earlier, and so this was still very early on, but I was seeing a lot of similarities to you know what I was studying, and what I was seeing play out with SpaceX. I started to pull together information to convince myself. Is there actually something going on here? Is this somewhere where I'd want to focus my career? I started to pull together information on investment dollars, where they were going, who was investing in what, and more. 

I started working with a number of companies to get some experience on the operational and technical side of things. I became convinced that there was something really happening here, and so I decided to go all in.

This was still very early. There wasn't any real investor interest or investable opportunities at that time. So, I stayed in the UK after business school and helped set up an innovation center that was focused on growing the space sector in the country.

In the evenings there, daytime hours in the US, I was building this fund. In 2015, there was finally enough going on to do this full-time, so I moved to New York and launched our SPV Fund, cobbling it together deal by deal. Then I joined forces with Tom Ingersoll a couple years later and the rest is history.

What makes your book different from others on the market?

I never aspired to be an author. Writing a book like this was never on my bucket list. 

Wiley [the book’s publisher] reached out to me, and they had seen the space economy reports and things that we're putting out, and they said, “You know this is an interesting area, and you seem to have a lot of really good insights here. Would you be interested in writing a book?”  Thinking this would be a huge distraction, I said, “No, thank you.” and I hung up the phone.

In subsequent conversations, they convinced me that there was an opportunity here to put together all of the different thinking that we had done as a firm, and all of our experience, to tell a unique story. I decided to tell the story through the lens of a nascent, emerging market. Because that's what got me excited about it in the first place. I find that really fascinating: How do you go from 0 to one? How do you create something out of nothing? 

Or what happens when you've got all this potential and it's all sort of out of reach? When there is a very limited market of a handful of defense contractors on one side and the Government on the other.

So for me, the nascent market story is really really fascinating, so we told the story through that lens. The impact that SpaceX had early on, how it opened the floodgates for entrepreneurship and innovation, everything that it's enabling. We looked at how SpaceX brought the cost down by orders of magnitude, and how that change in cost sparked growth in the Space Economy. 

We end the book with Starship. Talking about this next-generation vehicle and what that's going to mean. Because it’s going to be the largest vehicle ever built, and it's going to be fully and rapidly reusable. It’ll be built with stainless steel and other low-cost materials. 

It's crazy to think about everything that's happened over the last decade or so and everything that's about to happen. Everything that we know about space is about to change. 

This is not a history book but the history is important. So what we did in the book, through the nascent market lens, is that I asked most of the interviewees that I talked to, “Where did this begin?” And we kind of traced it back to Ronald Reagan's 1984 State of the Union speech–which we discuss in detail in Chapter 6 of the book. We are telling a story that hasn’t been told before. And we’re looking at the evolution of the Space Economy in ways that haven’t been captured before. 

How do you see the space industry evolving over the next few years, and what impact will this have on the global economy?

In these tough economic times, the one thing for certain is that space technologies are playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. The space economy is rising. 

GPS, Geospatial Intelligence, and Satellite Communications are already the “invisible backbone” that powers the world's largest industries. These are technologies that we generally take for granted because they're in the background. But they do play an incredibly important role in everything, from our financial services, to agriculture, to insurance, to telecom and information technology. They are already playing a huge role, and are going to continue to play an increasingly important role in the decades to come.

Our seminal thesis paper is the GPS Playbook. It explores how space technologies have progressed from the satellite hardware infrastructure that was built by Lockheed for the government, and paid for by the government, for government and military use cases. We detail how GPS was really inaccessible to the broader economy until companies like Trimble, Magellan, and Garmin, came along and harnessed that really valuable signal and made it accessible to the tech community, who then built end user applications, and gave rise to location-based services and really generated a lot of value. We're seeing the same thing play out right now in geospatial intelligence and satellite communications. The other 2 key satellite technology stacks.

With SpaceX coming on the scene and reducing the barriers to entry of getting to orbit, we've now seen many more players coming and experimenting with different types of satellites. Smaller, low-cost, distributed networks of many more satellites in a constellation that are generating an unprecedented amount of really valuable new data. And again, most of this was inaccessible because it was paid for by the government, for government use. But primarily, it was because the industry before built very verticalized solutions for a very sophisticated government customer. Now we have all this new data coming online, and there's an infinite number of use cases.

We have now unlocked access to that data through aggregation platforms, companies that we have in our portfolio like Skywatch, who are aggregating data from all the different providers, structuring it, and then making it easily accessible through an API. Now we're starting to see the end user applications being built on top of this really valuable data set. 

And the same thing is playing out in satellite communications with these large constellations from SpaceX, Amazon's Project Kuiper, and One Web coming online and building an internet backbone in orbit, which is enabling all types of new global connectivity. 

Just as America’s Operation Desert Storm was the first GPS war, the invasion of Ukraine is the first space war. The economic, political, and now strategic importance of the Space Economy can no longer be denied. This is why we are seeing such exponential growth. (Page 12)

These companies are providing insights and information to enterprise and government customers. When the world becomes more dynamic and uncertain. These customers want more information, not less. 

That's why we say that some sectors in the Space Economy are counter-cyclical and recession-proof. And that demonstrates how important these sectors are in the economy today, and how they're becoming even more important as we go forward.

Order The Space Economy Book Today

Whether you’re seeking entrepreneurial ideas worth exploring, a career worth pursuing, or investments worth making, the burgeoning Space Economy represents a hidden opportunity larger than the nascent internet at the dawn of the Millennium.

Order "The Space Economy" now!



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