STAGE 4 2021

Apply to Moonshot

We are accepting applications from startups for our 2021 investment accelerator. It will take place from March–June 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will be semi-remote. Please see below for more details.

Applications for our 2021 accelerator have now closed.

We will now process all applications to select the top 15 to progress to 1:1 interviews.

Space startups are usually misunderstood and there are very few who really know how to support them effectively.

Businesses that  leverage frontier locations are often underestimated and seen as too risky by everyone else, but that’s often not the case and Moonshot wants to help you realise your incredible idea for the benefit of our world.

We live and breathe space and deep-tech. We’ve built a program with access to key facilities, and have assembled an amazing community of experts from across the globe who want to invest both time and money to help you on your journey.

We’re currently taking applications for our Stage 4 investment accelerator for space startups. In 2018 we invested in our first 4 frontier-enabled startups in a partnership with a local fund, and it was a huge success. We’ve since raised our own fund, and we’re looking to accelerate the next 5 frontier-enabled businesses in 2021. We’re offering $40,000 AUD to each successful applicant as a part of a 3-month tailored accelerator specifically for space tech startups, starting in March 2021.

🔍 What are the details?

Moonshot was founded in 2016 after an impromptu conversation with Buzz Aldrin… in an elevator! We spoke about space entrepreneurship, and the structural barriers that are preventing incredible teams from executing remarkable ideas about how we can use frontier locations to build a better world.

Space is hard, but there’s a lot we can do today to make it easier. We set out to create a platform for frontier-enabled startups to thrive within – a pipeline of innovation, all the way from bringing together amazing people who are yet to have a remarkable idea, to scaling a valuable business that solves a great problem.

The two goals of Moonshot are to establish a series of programs that cultivate great startup teams throughout their journey (we call this the Space Elevator model), and to grow a thriving space-enabled ecosystem (we call this Nexus).

The reason we hear why most startups come to us is for our program, more than our capital. It’s a 3-month full-time accelerator for frontier-enabled businesses, and it provides you with a structure to more rapidly and effectively grow your business as well as provide you with a lifetime-membership within the most valuable space-tech startup network on the planet.

We’ve designed our program from the ground up to support space-tech. In fact, we work hard to tailor our offering to more specifically address the core needs of our eventual cohort – whether a startup is looking to launch a payload into orbit, or get access to new geo-spatial intelligence customers.

It’s a mentor-driven program. Unlike most accelerators, our mentors are aligned with you as they’re also the investors that have pooled their capital to form our fund, and they are active participants throughout the selection process, as well as acting as a core resource for you throughout the accelerator. The leaders of our community are the passionate mentors and investors of our accelerator – a rising tide lifts all boats.

The best part about joining Moonshot is that after the program you will continue to get all of the perks! You’ll be a part of the Moonshot community for life. One day, we hope, you’ll be able to share your success with the next generation of founders as a mentor, yourself.

What is a space startup?

This is a lot broader than you might initially expect. We’re interested to work with companies well beyond the aerospace industry.

An obvious space startup is one building infrastructure to support activity in outer space. This might include a ground-station-as-a-service startup for supporting telecommunications constellations. Perhaps it’s a robotics startup that can automate physical processes on a space station.

We also want to support startups that better enable space infrastructure to be built, which might involve novel manufacturing processes or a marketplace for selling existing space assets between multiple parties.

We believe that most of the startups are going to be those that leverage infrastructure in frontier locations. These span every industry and sector. A startup might use machine learning to process satellite data that can help farmers grow crops more efficiently. A pharmaceutical startup might be developing a novel cancer medicine that can only be manufactured in the absence of gravity, such as a space station in orbit.

The possibilities are endless, and we are looking forward to receiving a pile of amazing applications at a time where Nokia are building 4G coverage on the moon, Toyota are building a Lunar Rover, and Microsoft are using AR to help astronauts. If you’re in doubt, put in an application or reach out to us to ask!

This cohort we’ll be selecting 5 startups to receive investment and participate in our accelerator. We know that we’re going to get more applications from remarkable startups than we can accept, so if you apply and you’re not successful, don’t think that we think you’re not good enough! It’s just a reflection that we need to work harder to increase our bandwidth.

Our selection process is a democratic one, decided collectively by the input from each of our mentors. Each mentor brings a slightly different perspective when assessing your applications and your interview performance. depending on their own experience and connections. Throughout the process, mentors will be judging applicants based on key criteria, of which you can get to know at a high level at the bottom of this page.

Troy McCann – Founder and CEO
Email: troy@moonshotspace.co
Twitter: @troy_mccann
LinkedIn: Troy McCann
Nexus: Troy McCann

Tristonne Forbes – Head of Programs
Email: tristonne@moonshtospace.co
Twitter: @tristonne
LinkedIn: Tristonne Forbes
Nexus: Tristonne Forbes

This accelerator is a mentor-driven program, though. Our mentors include leading space entrepreneurs and leaders from across the globe, including Flavia Tata Nardini of Fleet Space, Adam Gilmour of Gilmour Space, Amir Blachman who is the Chief Business Officer at Axiom Space, and Dr. Andrew Aldrin.

We’re highly selective when it comes to our mentors, inviting only the best people who we know will provide founders with the resources they need to be remarkable.

It can sometimes be daunting for founders to find their feet in an accelerator. To make this process easier, and to provide you with a basic level of consistency throughout the program, we’ll pair you up with one mentor for you to meet with on at least a weekly basis. This mentor is your Champion and will look after you for the duration of the accelerator, in addition to the core team and other mentors you develop rapport with.

You can see all of our mentors listed here.

We’re offering investments at a fixed AU$40,000 for 4% equity in your company.

If you’ve already raised more than AU$250,000 of capital with this company previously, then we will invest at the terms of your most recent capital raise.

Notes:

  • This doesn’t mean we believe your company is currently worth $1m. We believe that the value of a company is the total sum of future cash flows, and we don’t have a crystal ball to know what this is for a given early-stage startup. But we can help teams prove it to be greater than zero.
  • We intend for the money to be the least valuable part of the Moonshot experience.
  • We’re not investing using SAFE notes or convertible debt. This may change in the future, but for many space companies we’ve seen these dynamic contracts cause unnecessary challenges for space startups raising larger rounds in the future. We want to help reduce unnecessary uncertainty.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we’ve designed our program to be conducted remotely. However, to get the most from your experience we hope that you’ll be able to spend the duration of the program living in Sydney, Australia. We will be responsibly maximizing the amount of face-to-face time we can, and by being close to us we will be able to better help you get access to strategic resources and facilities.

In particular, the week before the official program starts is Immersion Week. It’s a retreat to the outskirts of Sydney where we’ll all get to know each other and “break the ice”, and to set the stage for the next 12 weeks.

Please note that this means you will need to follow current instructions on travel intro or within Australia and the state of NSW. We will try to provide what assistance we can, as necessary. See below links for more information:

  • January 19 – AMA session hosted by Moonshot CEO, Troy McCann. Click here to register.
  • February 11, 23:59 AEST – Applications close.
  • February 13-18 – The mentors will review all online applications and shortlist the top 15.
  • February 22 – Online speed-interviews. Each team will spend 10 minutes with each mentor.
  • February 23 – Final interviews with the top ranked teams will be organised.
  • February 25 – Final 1-hour interview between each top team and Moonshot.
  • March 15 – Immersion Week and accelerator start.

Join the thread on our discussion forum for discussing all of your questions. Click through to see the recording of our AMA session from January 19.

  • Ask us any questions you have on our web forum (click here). We’ll share the most frequent questions and answers on this page.
  • You can find an example of the application questions at the end of this page, or by clicking here.

Strap in and get ready to accelerate your startup to reach escape velocity.


Evaluation Criteria

Below are the key areas that our mentors will be judging applicants by when reviewing applications and interviewing founders. When applying, make sure you perform well in each of the following areas.:

Green Lights

This is a founder and team:

  • doing their life’s work
  • open to feedback
  • with a demonstrated ability and drive to execute

Red Flags

The founder and/or team :

  • Involved in several projects
  • more interested in being right than learning
  • has not been able to build the business

Green Lights

The team is able to articulate:

  • what their business does
  • the opportunity or problem it addresses
  • key differentiation
  • Iterative learning and/or working prototype

Red Flags

The team is unclear on:

  • who their idea/tech is for
  • the potential customer pain or gain
  • how product development or improvement will continue

Green Lights

  • There is a growing or large addressable market.
  • Current and future customers are identified.
  • The business plan includes customer acquisition and a commercialisation strategy.

Red Flags

  • Enthusiasm instead of data drives customer and competitor landscape.
  • Optimism underpins the plan to scale.
  • The business has had no traction and is 3+ years old.

Green Lights

The team has developed and is protecting their intellectual property.

Red Flags

Multiple parties have contributed to product development and the team confirms they are all on friendly terms.

Green Lights

The key risks in the business, such as the regulatory and legal environment, are thoughtfully considered.

Red Flags

The team is ignorant or dismissive of the external operating landscape.

Green Lights

  • Current financials and projections are solid.
  • The cap table is in reasonable shape and the business has enough money to operate.

Red Flags

  • High burn rate with no metrics to monitor financial performance
  • Random advisors or former co-founders have equity
  • The business is insolvent


Application Questions

Below is a list of the questions we ask in the application form.

  1. Company name
  2. Company URL
  3. If you have a product demo, please provide a link here.
  4. Describe your company in 50 characters or less.
  5. What is your company building? What does it do?
  6. What category best applies to your company?
    (Robotics, Launch, Machine Learning, Extended Reality, Energy, Medicine, etc.)
  7. Where are you located now? Where will you be based after the program?
    The program will be run remotely due to the ongoing pandemic, but if the pandemic eases, it may be helpful for you to be with us in Sydney (Australia) for in-person events and access to strategic facilities.

  1. What is the primary email address for us to contact you with?
  2. What is your personal Zoom Personal Meeting Room URL?
    Instructions: https://bit.ly/3f2SaS4
  3. Phone number
    (include any area code, eg. +65)

  1. Email addresses of every founder
    (i.e. anyone with >= 10% equity)
  2. LinkedIn URL of each founder
  3. Pitch video
    Please share an unlisted link to a pitch video of < 3-minute duration
  4. How many founders are on the team?
  5. Do any of your founders identify as a woman?
  6. How did you meet your co-founders?
  7. Can all founders attend the entirety of the program?
  8. How many employees do you have?

  1. How long have each of you been working on this? How much of this has been full-time?
  2. How far along are you and are people using your product?
  3. Do you have revenue?
  4. If you’ve applied for our Stage 4 program before, has anything changed since that application? If you applied with a different idea, why did you pivot and what have you learned?
  5. What progress have you made in the last six months?
  6. What steps have you taken to validate your market?

  1. Describe the problem that you’re solving
  2. Why did you start this company? What excites you about this business? Do you have domain expertise in the area? How do you know people need what you’re building?
  3. What’s new about what you’re building? What do people use currently since your produce doesn’t exist yet?
  4. Who are your competitors today, and in the future? Do you have non-obvious competitors?
  5. What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don’t get?
  6. Why is your team the best to be solving this problem?
  7. What is your business model? How do (or will) you make money? How much could you make? Give your best estimate.
  8. How will you get customers? What are the barriers that you’ll need to overcome to get them?

  1. Have you attended a Moonshot event or program before? Has this been a deciding factor in you submitting this application?
  2. What is the most important thing you need Moonshot to help you achieve in 2021?
    Be clear and concise. We will be fine-tuning our program and our network to specifically address this for you.
  3. If you have already participated in an incubator or accelerator program outside of Moonshot, please tell us about it.
  4. If accepted, will you work full time on this startup with no other external obligations?

  1. Have you incorporated any legal entity yet?
    g. an LLC in the USA or a Pty. Ltd. In Australia.
  2. Have you taken any investment yet? If so, what were the terms, your latest valuation (including any discount) and the amount raised.
    If you have raised more than $250,000 AUD equivalent, Moonshot will match this valuation if you are accepted into the program.
  3. What is your burn rate?
    If you include $40k of investment by Moonshot, when will you run out of money?
  4. If you haven’t formed a company yet, describe the planned equity ownership breakdown between all the proposed stockholders.
  5. Please provide any other relevant information about the structure of your company.

  1. Are any of the founders covered by non-compete or intellectual property agreements that overlap with your project? If so, please explain.
  2. Is there any reason to suspect that there might ever be a dispute about the ownership of the intellectual property being held solely by this company?
  3. Is there anything else that we should know about the company?
    eg. ongoing lawsuits, have any co-founders left the team, etc.

  1. If you have any other ideas you considered applying with, please list them.
    We are investing in great teams who happen to have a company we find interesting, and often, startups pivot direction. Your response to this question could change the perception of your entire application above.
  2. Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.
    (related to your project)

  1. How did you hear about Moonshot?
  2. What convinced you to apply?
  3. If you were referred to this application by a Moonshot mentor or someone else, who was it?