'Billionaires in Space' Is Boring; 2022 Will See Entire Industries Go Galactic

Van Espahbodi
As co-founder and managing partner of Starburst, Van Espahbodi is championing today’s aerospace renaissance, uniting early-stage technology innovators with private investment to modernize infrastructure in mobility, communications and intelligence. Van launched Starburst in the US in 2015, operating globally today with offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, San Francisco, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi and Montreal. His team works alongside 500+ technology startups developing new aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, drones, sensors, autonomy, robotics and much more.
'Billionaires in Space' Is Boring; 2022 Will See Entire Industries Go Galactic
GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota

This last year was a watershed for the commercial space economy. An incredible amount of capital was invested in the new aerospace economy, surpassing the likes of legacy space heavyweights Boeing and Airbus. The year saw incredible financial exits from California-based companies Momentus, Planet, Rocket Lab and Astra, among others (Long Beach-based Virgin Orbit is set to go public in 2022). And it captured the public’s attention with billionaires floating in microgravity.


The ensuing media made instant celebrities of space-tech leaders and spurred investors across industries to begin considering how research and development in space could benefit them and their companies.

Commercial space players, now beholden to the public following the SPAC craze, will do their best to keep their promises and survive in a Wild West marketplace where only the best survive.

In 2022, space will bring yet unimagined benefits back to Earth and dramatically reshape other industries. In recent years, aerospace research has brought us civilization defining technologies like Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and GPS. 2022 will open a new chapter of consumer connectivity, introducing a DirectTV-meets-high-speed internet that will remove the physical barriers of work, inviting entrepreneurship by anyone, regardless of where they live. The boundaries of biotech and fiber-optic manufacturing will expand as manufacturing in space industrializes. And a new level of data analytics, once available only to powerful governments, will allow scientists and entrepreneurs to better observe Earth and unlock value for companies and individuals around the world.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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