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Techstars selects 12 companies for its fall space accelerator

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Techstars has chosen 12 companies to join its aerospace accelerator, a 13-week program which runs in partnership with the U.S. Space Force and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The new cohort includes 11 American companies and one from Australia. Matt Kozlov, Techstars managing director, told TechCrunch that he has a particular feeling about this new cohort. He described it as, “Hell yes.”

“I got this feeling when I was running my first space cohort, which was in 2019,” he said. “Seven out of the ten companies have [since] raised between $10-$80 million dollars.” (Companies in that inaugural cohort include Pixxel, Orbit Fab and Hydrosat.)

“In the new cohort, I’m ‘hell yes’ on all twelve.”

Kozlov, who has run 12 Techstar programs so far in his role as managing director, said the application rate to the space accelerator is on the scale of Harvard’s -- which admits just 3.4% of applicants.

“The companies that applied to this year’s space program are exceptional, and I think that speaks to the track record of the companies that have already gone through the program,” he said.

He added that around 70% of the companies will end up on a contract with a government agency within six months of the end of the cohort, and many will go on to win multimillion-dollar contracts within two years. Much of that progress is a result of the relationships the companies form during the accelerator, he said.

The companies in the new cohort include:

  • Apeiron Space Co., a company developing a fully reusable medium-to-heavy lift launch vehicle

  • Closedloop, which is designing a single operating system for mission-critical applications

  • Esper Satellite Imagery, a company that aims to build and launch hyperspectral sensors

  • GATE Space, a startup creating a “jetpack” that turns immobile satellites into maneuverable spacecraft

  • iMetalX, a company developing products for in-space servicing and space domain awareness

  • Iris Light Technologies, a startup that’s developed a novel class of inks for photonic and printed electronics chips

  • Little Place Labs, a company building space-based edge computing solutions to quickly deliver satellite analytics

  • Locus Lock, Inc., which is delivering a next-gen GPS/GNSS receiver that allows for centimeter-resolution location data

  • Magma Space, developer of a plug-and-play attitude determination and control subsystems

  • PierSight Space, a startup developing a high-revisit constellation for maritime domain awareness

  • O Analytics, developing technology for satellite fleet custody maintenance, space traffic management, intelligence gathering and collision avoidance

  • Westwood Aerogel, which is developing affordable aerogel-based thermal barriers for EV manufacturers