Pathfinder #0022, featuring Andy Lapsa

Today’s episode takes us to the burbs of Seattle, where one startup aims to build an entirely new type of rocket. 

Our guest, Andy Lapsa, is the CEO and cofounder of Stoke Space. The startup, whose north star is building 100% reusable rockets, raised a $9.1M seed round in 2020, graduated from Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 batch, and then announced a $65M Series A in December. 

All the while, Stoke has been moving quickly to build a completely new kind of rocket. Over the course of our 70-minute conversation, we talk at length with Andy about Stoke’s technological strategy and long-term prospects. 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Spaced Ventures, which recently launched an effort to open an investment round into SpaceX. The space investment portal has received over $38M million in pledges from 2,150+ investors. 

A sneak peek into Pathfinder #0022

  • Andy and cofounder Tom Feldman spent ~18 years combined at Blue Origin
  • The three T’s—thesis, team, and track record—that they searched for after leaving Blue 
  • Why Stoke believes it’s tackling an “engineering challenge, not a science problem”
  • What Stoke’s doing differently, from thermal protection systems to starting with the second stage 
  • The interplay between speed, vertical integration, and tightly coupled systems
  • Stoke’s prospects in a post-Starship world

And there’s a whole lot more, from sustainability to Stoke’s test stand out in Moses Lake, WA—but we’ll leave it to you to find those gems yourself.

Where to get Pathfinder #0022