Rocket Lab and Spire announce SPACs to go public: Another win for “software beyond the screen”

With Peter Beck in April 2015 at the Space Symposium as he unveiled to the world Rocket Lab’s rocket and its Rutherford engines with its all-important electric turbopumps (one of these is visible in red).

Rocket Lab and Spire are “software beyond the screen” companies

Yes I did work in consulting at Bain & Company :)

2014: The decision to invest in Rocket Lab

Bessemer’s initial investment in Rocket Lab in 2014 was actually catalyzed by a prior Bessemer investment 4 years earlier. In 2010, Bessemer invested in Skybox, later called Terra Bella, that built a constellation of small imaging satellites (100kg, the size of a mini-fridge) to collect high-resolution photos of Earth from space. In mid-2014, Google purchased Skybox for $500 million in a shot heard around the space world. Major credit goes to Bessemer’s David Cowan and James Cham (formerly Bessemer, now at Bloomberg Beta) for being some of the first investors in the world to see that commercial space had an offshoot called “newspace” that might have venture return potential.

With some of the Rocket Lab team at Space Symposium in 2015. Shaun DeMello, Naomi Altman, Peter Beck, Brad Schneider, and Catherine Moreau-Hammond, and me.
The 2015 world premiere of Peter’s Electron rocket and electric turbopump-driven engine at the Space Symposium. While there were empty seats back in this 2015 press briefing, Rocket Lab’s events are now standing room only.
Bessemer’s David Cowan and I with Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck two years before their first launch.

2015: The decision to invest in Spire (Small software-powered satellites)

Just 6 months later, in the summer of 2015, the Bessemer space team of David Cowan, Josh Benamram and I invested in Spire, alongside Mike Collett of Promus Ventures and others. Spire listens to the sounds of Earth. More specifically, Spire has developed a constellation of small satellites, each the size of a shoebox or “3U” in space jargon, to gather intelligence about Earth by using radio frequency (RF) signals.

What lies ahead

Today is deep validation that “software beyond the screen” is the next phase of technology development. Let’s hope software continues to be more ubiquitous in the real world!



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Ubiquity Ventures

Ubiquity Ventures

Ubiquity Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on “software beyond the screen” — turning real world physical problems into software problems.