As interest in space is growing, there is a proliferation of space startups. There is also growing investor interest in the space industry. But how do the investors and startups connect with each other? The investors need to understand what the firms are doing and whether that makes sense in terms of returns. The startups need to know how to make compelling cases to investors. We spoke to Shagun Sachdeva, founder of Kosmic Apple, to understand what she is trying to do to connect startups to investors. She explains the origins of Kosmic Apple, the services it offers, and why she thinks it has a valuable role to play in the space industry.
Where did the idea come from to found Kosmic Apple?
The idea occurred to me during my time at Northern Sky Research. I had the opportunity to speak with various people in different parts of the value chain within the industry, including investors and entrepreneurs. While the gap between startups and investors has always been there, I realized from my discussions that the gap is now bigger than ever. This is primarily because there is a new wave of investors looking for opportunities in the space industry and a growing number of startups. I wanted to do something to help reduce this gap between investors and startups. Kosmic Apple was conceived with the idea of creating a global platform that works with both sides – investors and startups – with the ultimate goal of making startups readier for investment.
What does Kosmic Apple do, and where does it fit in the space ecosystem?
Kosmic Apple started off as a discovery platform with a number of startups from across the globe. It was accessible for the startups as well as for investors who signed up for the platform. The idea is to increase awareness of global market trends and to provide an understanding of the competitive landscape for startups as well as for investors’ existing portfolio companies. The platform has evolved since then. It now includes the option of adding pitch videos on the platform, in addition to the required one-pagers. The platform also offers consulting services.
Our main differentiator is that we conduct independent IRL (Investment Readiness Level) assessments. We do both micro- and macro-level analyses of all startups on the platform, summaries of which are shared with the investors on a monthly basis to track progress.
In the space industry value chain, Kosmic Apple lies somewhere between incubators and accelerators. We consider ourselves market makers in the space industry.
What advice do you have for people who want to work in the space industry?
The space industry has endless opportunities, more than we have ever seen. Dropping costs of launch and satellite manufacturing, combined with the emergence of smallsats, has created myriad opportunities. University students and young professionals can put their ideas into practice and turn concepts into real businesses. The employment numbers in the space industry overall have increased with this growth in opportunities.
The best part is that this is happening across the globe, although at different paces depending on the market. Additionally, there are individuals and companies that are trying to help people from any background to find a footing in this industry. So, my advice would be to expand your network (via LinkedIn, Twitter, or other platforms) and to start contacting people in the industry. In my experience, people are very open and willing to help each other. For anyone wanting to start a business, I would also advise doing thorough research on market demand, competitive landscapes, and end-customers’ pricing tolerance. Do these things before going on to developing ideas and spending resources.