SAN FRANCISCO – German propulsion startup Morpheus Space has opened a Los Angeles office and named a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and fighter pilot as its chief revenue officer.
David Kalinske, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after serving as commanding officer of a fighter squadron and an aide to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, joined Morpheus in January. Since leaving the military after 20 years of active duty, Kalinske has worked for Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs and Singapore-based electronics contract manufacturer Flex.
“It was a very natural fit for me to go from aerospace to the commercial space industry,” Kalinske told SpaceNews. “When I heard about the [Morpheus] technology and that In-Q-Tel and Airbus Ventures were primary investors, it became an attractive offering.”
Morpheus Space did not reveal the amount of funding it raised in its initial investment round in 2020, but the company published a list of backers including Airbus Ventures of Menlo Park, California, In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. intelligence community, Pallas Ventures and Techstars Ventures.
With that funding, Morpheus opened a U.S. office in Los Angeles where its co-founders traveled in 2019 to join the first cohort of the Los Angeles-based Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator.
Through the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, Morpheus co-founders Daniel Bock and István Lőrincz became familiar with Los Angeles space companies and local financiers. Knowing financiers “is quite important because it’s capital intensive to start a hardware company,” said Lőrincz, Morpheus Space president. “It’s a good thing to be close to investors who are open to innovation.”
In addition, Los Angeles is home to a cross-section of the space companies large and small as well as a “huge talent pool that you can tap into,” Lőrincz added.
As Morpheus chief revenue officer, Kalinske is likely to draw on his experience in government contracting, but will cast a wide net.
“We’re going after everyone, commercial entities as well as government contracts,” Kalinske said. “It’s no holds barred.”