Correction: PierSight Space is based in Ahmedabad, India.

PARIS – Techstars brought 12 startup to Los Angeles Sept. 11 to join the 2023 Techstars Space Accelerator.

It’s Techstars’ first in-person Space Accelerator since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Techstars to conduct accelerators virtually in 2020 and 2021. Techstars ran a combined Aerospace and Defense Accelerator in Los Angeles in 2022.

Hitting the Road

Unlike in 2019 when Techstars Accelerator companies spent 12 weeks in Los Angeles, the 2023 class will travel. Entrepreneurs will spend time in Los Angeles, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

“LA is still an incredibly strong hub for our companies to build relationships,” Matt Kozlov, Techstars Los Angeles managing director, told SpaceNews. “But when we ran the program virtually, we found that we were able to bring in remarkable mentors and leaders from other locations. And we found they tended to be clustered in Colorado and D.C.”

Los Angeles, Colorado and Washington, D.C. are primary hubs of U.S. leadership in commercial, civil and military aerospace and defense activity and investment, Kozlov said.

“If I can help these 12 companies build relationships with people in those three key cities, the program will be even better,” Kozlov said.

Ian McCubbin, Jet Propulsion Lab systems engineer and Techstars Accelerator mentor, said the program is “opening my eyes to new ways of thinking about space” and ideas “that are going to revolutionize the space business.”

Australia to Delaware

The 2023 Techstars Space Accelerator includes 11 U.S. and one Australian company.

  • Aperion Space is a Huntington Beach, California, startup developing a fully reusable, medium-to-heavy class launch vehicle.
  • closedloop, a San Ramon, California, firm that offers an operating system designed to simplify robotics development and maintenance for mission-critical applications.
  • Esper Satellite Imagery is an Australian company building hyperspectral sensors to reveal Earth’s geology.
  • San Francisco-based Gate Space, promises a Jetpack that “transforms immobile satellites into highly maneuverable, refuelable space assets.”
  • iMetalX of Sausalito, California, intends to offer in-space servicing, space behavior monitoring and active debris removal for satellite operators, insurance providers, payload installers and government agencies.
  • Chicago-based Iris Light Technologies, plans to work with chip designers that need integrated light sources.
  • Little Place Labs of Houston “builds space-edge AI solutions to provide satellite analytics to end-users in less than 7 minutes.”
  • Denver-based Locus Lock Inc. provides global navigation satellite receivers to provide “secured-centimeter resolution” data for industrial and consumer products.
  • Washington-based Magma Space promises to improve satellite pointing with “ultra-stable” attitude determination and control subsystems.
  • O Analytics, a Fairmont, West Virginia, startup focused on detecting and characterizing space objects.
  • PierSight Space of India is developing inexpensive, application-specific, backpack-sized satellite constellations to gather datasets including synthetic aperture radar and automated identification system.
  • Westwood Aerogel of Berkeley, California, provides “affordable aerogel-based thermal barriers, called ZeroTherm” to electric vehicle manufacturers “for increasing efficiency and thermal runaway protection within battery packs.”

2019 Class

Techstars points to the success of its 2019 Space Accelerator. Participants in that class included Orbit Fab, Pixxel, Zeno Power Systems, Morpheus Space, Hydrosat and Solestial, companies that have attracted significant revenue and partnerships.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...