Earlier this month, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) named J. Brant Arseneau as a Space Ambassador. Through the ambassador program, the CSA provides public access to space experts across the country, by connecting space enthusiasts and advocates to inspire the next generation of Canadians. The program aims to increase the number of Canadian space experts and real world space missions brought into classrooms and youth organizations.

Mr. Arseneau dreamed of being an astronaut at an early age after seeing the last of the Apollo missions, which inspired him to build a space capsule out of a washing machine tub in his backyard in Saint John, New Brunswick. Knowing the washtub was not going to space, he soon discovered that a good education could create a path to the stars. Showing little interest in school, his mother bought him books about space which motivated him to read and overcome early academic challenges. This enabled him to study electrical engineering to help him qualify to be an astronaut. However, after receiving a rejection letter from the CSA in the early 1990s, Arseneau turned to finance. He spent nearly 25 years in capital markets, specializing in electronic trading, at JPMorgan in New York earlier in his career, and most recently as Chief Information Officer at the Bank of Montreal.

After learning about the growing commercialization of the space industry along with a movement called NewSpace, he decided to chase his life-long dream and took the risk of a dramatic career move into the space industry. Not knowing where he could add the most value, he reached out to fellow Canadian, celebrated astronaut CDR Chris Hadfield for guidance. Arseneau was hoping to leave finance and connect to a great opportunity to help build some incredible space hardware, but the counsel he received came unexpectedly.

“The space industry is filled with a lot of incredibly talented engineers and scientists, and even though Brant is educated as an engineer, I believe the industry can benefit more from his decades of business and finance expertise,” said CDR Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space. “As an ambassador for the CSA, Brant can help Canadians and the rest of the world get excited about space, while also helping space companies with the challenges they face with finance and capital which are so crucial to their success.”

With that advice, and help from another early advisor, Dylan Taylor, renowned space investor and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, Arseneau began to architect a group of companies that would support the space industry with end-to-end financial products. The plan was to support space companies from early to late stage, with private equity to public credit, for investment capital to working capital. With his Spaced Ventures partner, Aaron Burnett, Arseneau is building a group of companies that currently includes the advisory group, 9Point8 Capital; a public capital raising platform, Spaced Ventures; a venture fund, Gravity Management; and a soon to be launched incubator and hatchery.

“Capital is starting to flow into the space industry, but it has taken some time to get to this stage. Brant’s plans of a dedicated, end-to-end, financial partner for space companies is a much needed and overdue part of the ecosystem,” said Dylan Taylor. “I’m very excited that as a Space Ambassador, Brant will advocate for how important space is in achieving our global priorities, while also providing crucial financial support to the industry to ultimately democratize space.”

Thirty years after being turned down as an astronaut applicant by the CSA, now being appointed as one of their ambassadors comes with great pride.

“I’m proud to be finally entering the CSA family as an ambassador and I look forward to educating the public on space and helping space companies grow,” said J. Brant Arseneau. “I’m not building a group of financial companies because I necessarily love finance — I’m building them because I love space and because I believe that a lot of humanity’s goals can be achieved with the help of a space economy and its unique perspective of earth. I hope to add as much value as possible by inspiring our youth to dream big and help them build our future.”

Connect with a Canadian Space Ambassador today, to speak at your space-themed events.

About 9Point8 Capital 

9Point8 Capital is an advisory firm dedicated to the space industry, which addresses the need for specialized partners that deeply understand both finance and the industry of space. Based in New York, Brownsville and Toronto, the company aims to be the space industry’s premier global financial partner. The company is strongly committed to building long-lasting client relationships by generating value for their individual, institutional and corporate clients. Learn more at 9Point8.net.