This is the Golden age of Space by Candace Johnson8th March 2019
By Candace Johnson
Seraphim Capital is is a world’s leading Venture Fund dedicated to financing the growth of companies operating in the space ecosystem. We were delighted to announce this week that Candace Johnson, a serial Space Entrepreneur and is the co-initiator of SES/ASTRA and architect of SES Global, one of the world’s largest satellite systems, is joining Seraphim Capital as Chairman of the Advisory Board.
Candace has invested in numerous “New Space” start-ups throughout the years, is the President of the European Business Angels, founding President of the Global Telecom Women’s Network (GTWN), Co-Founder of OWNSAT (Oceania Women’s Network Satellite Recently, she has helped launch the Global Board Ready Women initiative - which is an international list of women who are qualified to sit on a listed company board and in 2016 was awarded the women in aerospace lifetime achievement award.
We have been lucky enough to have Candace join us on each of Seraphim Space Camp programmes and look forward to welcoming her back again in Mission 3. She brings a huge wealth of expertise and can give both an investor and entrepreneur perspective to the startups on the Seraphim Space Camp programme.
Today, we’re glad to share insights below that Candace Johnson, gave during one of our sessions from Mission 2 about her tips for space entrepreneurs and startups.
Let’s celebrate innovation, Space entrepreneurship and the brilliant women who successfully do both.
This is the Golden age of Space - 60 Years after the first satellites, Space is experiencing a Renaissance: New Space.
We are now experiencing what is truly the golden age of Space. It has always been a good idea to invest into Space – the first investor in SES got a thousand times his investment back in 12 years but today the world has never needed so much connectivity, interactivity, interconnectivity and instant infrastructure.
We see a true democratisation and miniaturisation of Space allowing everybody to launch satellites and rockets. With big problems needing big solutions and more and more countries having their own space agencies, space entrepreneurs need to think big and go global. Here are my pieces of advice to them:
- Go for private funding.
You cannot be dependent on other people or on regulations. Be in charge of your destiny.
- You do not have problems – just challenges
Don’t give your issues too much brainwashing-time, focus on the solutions and see them as challenges. Keep in mind that you need transformational deals, that your time to market is key and that you should look for scalability.
- Get to the CEOs & have absolute belief in your ideas
You need to have pioneering clients – the only person who is going to take this risk of being the pioneering client is usually the CEO, he has the most to gain. Do not fuss around. Otherwise, it will take forever and you do not have forever. Call and tell them you have something revolutionary for their business that is going to save them a lot of money and take away all their problems.
When I was 24, I had the idea for the Steinway Hour which was about to be a nationwide radio. I wanted to have Mr Steinway interviewing artists and talk about them.
I did not know Mr Steinway, so I crashed a party where I knew he was going to be and I went straight to him. Of course, he had no idea I had crashed the party. I explained to him my idea and he ended up asking me to send it to him.
I called for 6 months without knowing that I had to call at 7:30am to get around the secretary. When I finally got through to him Mr Steinway said to me: “Did you really believe my secretary when she said I was in a meeting? I wasn’t there, I was on the phone.” - I said “Yes, I did” and he responded “Ok, let’s do your idea on the Steinway Hour”.
The moral of the story isn’t that I was persistent but that I believed in my idea. It never once occurred to me that Mr Steinway didn’t want to speak with me. That is how much you have to believe in your idea. So, put your it down on a piece of paper, forget about your business plans and send it to the person who is going to make the decision. You just need to figure out how to go to the CEO.
PS: Today, the secretaries are almost their best friends, so tell them about your idea as well.
- Get your business proposition right
Work hard and harder on your business proposition – not your value proposition. Determine how you are going to give your clients a competitive edge against who they are up against. Show them the way and the solution.
- If you’re not getting a yes, go somewhere else.
Regulation never stopped anything good from happening. It only takes one person to say yes.
Trying to fight against bureaucracy is a losing battle that will get you down. Today, there are a number of countries who realized Space really is the next frontier that will bring them into the 21st century. If you’re not getting a yes, then you need to go elsewhere, where you’ll find the people who will understand how you will benefit them.
From technical aspects to marketing, including scaling strategies and investment-readiness, our mentors and our team cover everything you need, during our nine-weeks programme, to start doing business with our corporate partners.
If you liked this article and want to know more about Seraphim Space Camp acceleration programme, visit www.spacecamp.vc/programme.