Since mid March 2017, New Zealand has got a new Unicorn.
Do you know what a Unicorn is?
A unicorn, in the world of business, is a company, usually a start-up that does not have an established performance record, with a stock market valuation or estimated valuation of more than $1 billion (Check out CB Insights‘ latest list of Unicorn companies).
Did you know that on the Mahi Peninsula on the East Coast, a New Zealand start-up called RocketLab is planning to compete with NASA, ESA, China & India’s Space Programme? And the USd 12 billion SpaceX business by Elon Musk, Blue Origin by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, and Virgin Galactic, the Richard Branson, space venture.
Welcome to the vision of Peter Beck.
Peter and his team started a rocket launching company in 2006. RocketLab’s mission is to develop lightweight, cost-effective commercial rocket launch services. The Electron Program was founded on the premise that small payloads such as CubeSats require dedicated small launch vehicles and flexibility not currently offered by traditional rocket systems. Electron, RocketLab’s lightweight launch vehicle, is designed to service the small satellite market with dedicated, high-frequency launch opportunities. Electron is capable of delivering payloads of 150 kg to a 500 km Sun-synchronous orbit.
The Electron test program is scheduled to begin in early 2017, with commercial flights commencing later in the year at a starting price of US$4.9 million.
By now RocketLab is funded by top investors including Lockheed Martin, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners. The company’s NZ HQ is near Auckland’s Airport and they have built their first rocket launching pad on the Mahi Peninsula near the East Cape.
Peter once told me that one of the unique selling points of NZ for the space industry is the fact that we are so far, far away from everywhere. And that unlike the United States where there are about 20 rocket launch windows from the mainland per year, New Zealand can launch many more rockets due to our remote location and uncongested air space.
NZ is no longer at the end of the world, but leading in many ways.
To be successful in business these days, you need to innovate on multiple levels at the same time, 3-5 levels if possible. Based on the ten types of innovation, we have many cool innovators coming from NZ now. Aotearoa can compete again on the world stage.
It would be great to see more innovation coming from the sunny North as well. Please join us to foster these innovations. One way to do this is to join us in our monthly entrepreneurial sessions, check out Monthly entrepreneurial support