A Denver startup company that makes small satellites has signed a $60 million launch agreement with a new rocket company to get six satellite missions to orbit by 2022.
York Space Systems will be the first payload aboard a rocket made by Tucson-based Vector Space Systems, a company founded by veterans of SpaceX and other space businesses and that’s developing small, affordable rockets for the growing market of small satellites.
The launch contract with Vector covers six launches between 2019 and 2022 and can be extended to add 14 more missions, the companies said.
Vector is among a small number of rocket startups catering to makers of satellites that are far smaller than what aerospace companies have traditionally made.
It hasn’t yet launched a mission into orbit.
Vector Space Systems is making rockets to launch satellites that weigh no more than 62 pounds. It’s been testing engines ahead of a orbital test launch from a Kodiak Island, Alaska launch site. It has completed an in-atmosphere test launch.
“Since our launch earlier this year, Vector has made it a priority to engage with partners who share our mission of making space more accessible to a new generation of innovators, and York Space Systems is a shining example of this type of partner,” said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector Space Systems.
“The car is going to become another node in the internet of things,” said Kamyar Moinzadeh, chief executive of Airbiquity, a Seattle software and engineering company specializing in vehicle tracking and telematics.
There are already plenty of examples of car communications, whether it’s General Motors’ 20-year-old OnStar system or Tesla’s expanding ability to monitor its vehicles remotely and even download entirely new software operating systems.
The first generation of connected systems like G.M.’s OnStar were focused on helping drivers when they were lost or their cars broke down, and the second generation has been about connecting the dashboard to smartphones for streaming live traffic information or audio services like Pandora, said Mr. Moinzadeh at Airbiquity.
The next generation, he said, will focus on managing our entire digital lives, aided by semiautonomous systems that assume more responsibility for actual driving tasks.
“Once we get to the world of autonomous driving, these cars are not going to be about horsepower but about the in-vehicle experience and how it’s connected to your lifestyle,” Mr. Moinzadeh said. “The car will talk to all your connected things, whether it’s your refrigerator or your home security system.”
“It’s about time for Spotify’s successor to be born,” says Bob Moczydlowsky. “A decade is a long time for any kind of platform.” Moczydlowsky is currently in charge of Techstars Music, a new program announced last week from major startup incubator Techstars. Yes, Silicon Valley is growing impatient—again.
The new Techstars program—whose applications are open now and which formally kicks off in February 2017—is on the lookout for unique, emerging startups that offer crucial new innovations in the way people buy, listen to, or otherwise experience audio.
The program is not the only one out there. In the UK, startup accelerator programs like Abbey Road Red and Marathon Labs are currently scoping out viable new music businesses, and the Nashville-based Project Music has already funded more than a dozen music startups in the US.
“Music is under-invested in for a reason: It’s a tough category to make money in,” Moczydlowsky tells Quartz. “And there are a lot of music startups that are very similar. [But] we’re not looking for those companies.”
Instead, Moczydlowsky—formerly Twitter’s head of music—and his team are seeking startups that are working on some sort of “interesting problem.” Examples of such problems, he says, could include audio in the virtual-reality space, music in the gaming industry, and social music sharing, all of which are areas currently being ignored by most major music companies.
Techstars has selected the first class for its new, New York-based internet of things accelerator.For the accelerator, the first class is the culmination of a year of work putting the pieces together for the new initiative. One of the big four accounting and consulting firms, PWC,was the first company to sign on to the Techstars vision. Since the first agreement last October with PWC, General Electric, Verizon, Bosch and SAP have all come on board. General Electric has been pushing hard to remake itself as a more innovative company; while Bosch is making similar efforts. For its part, SAP has announced its own partnership with Bosch, and is aggressively pushing into the Internet of Things to counter moves made by its arch-nemesis, Cisco. Without further ado, here are the inaugural companies in Techstars’ latest accelerator class”
The Washington Technology Industry Association’s apprenticeship program just got a big boost from the federal government and a nod to take what it’s doing in Washington state nationwide.
The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded WTIA’s Apprenti apprenticeship program at $7.5 million contract to expand nationwide.
The local industry association launched its apprenticeship program late last year with the goal of training 600 job candidates– including at least 300 women, people of color and veterans – to fill roles at talent-starved technology companies. Originally funded by a $3.5 million federal job-training grant and recent $200,000 investment from JP Morgan Chase, the goal is to train individuals for roles that don’t typically require a college degree, including database administrators and project managers, and find candidates who can complete training programs already offered by technology companies.
Now the Department of Labor wants Apprenti to be the national model and help bridge the skills and diversity gap in the technology field across the nation. Congress set a goal of doubling and diversifying registered apprenticeship programs nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast a surge of over 1.3 million new computer programming and computer support specialist jobs by 2022. Less than 20 percent of the tech workforce is female, less than 3 percent is Hispanic or African American, and there are an even smaller number of veterans.
The funding from the feds is a slice of a $90 million funding pie that was set aside to expand job opportunities by collaborating with industry partners and develop registered apprenticeship programs in a number of industries.
“Millions of dollars being invested at the federal level in the Apprenti program validates the effectiveness of the registered apprenticeship model we have created for the tech industry. We will work tirelessly to expand this model on a national scale to bring new job opportunities to the underrepresented while delivering the tech skills our country needs,” Jennifer Carlson, executive director of Apprenti, said in a statement.