Starburst Launches Early-Stage Fund

Starburst Ventures is launching a new early-stage fund, the company announced yesterday. The company’s new venture arm is focusing its first investments in pre-seed and seed stage startups in aerospace, defense, and aviation.

Starburst 101: Starburst began its accelerator program in 2015. The face of the aerospace industry has changed a lot since then, and the program has changed with it.

“In those years, we had the burning desire to invest in some of the best founders we were working with,” Benjamin Zeitoun, an investor at Starburst, told Payload. Zeitoun is leading the new fund alongside François Chopard, Starburst founder. 

Starburst now has accelerators across the globe for startups in stages up to their Series B. More than 120 startups have gone through these accelerators to date, and the top 10 fundraisers of that group have raised a combined $600M, Zeitoun said.

Seeding new talent: The timing, Zeitoun said, couldn’t be better to start an early-stage fund in the aerospace and defense sector. The aerospace industry is at the “beginning of the growth curve” commercially. And the founder pool is brimming with talent as alums from the first generation of “new space” companies branch out to start their own companies, taking with them all the lessons learned from the major players in commercial space.

“We’ve built our expertise. We’ve seen what a company looks like from seed to IPO. And that [makes now] a fabulous time to launch a fund,” Zeitoun said.

Starburst is not revealing the total size of the fund. Zeitoun said that the company aims to make 7-10 investments per year, and that the check size could fall anywhere between zero and $1M depending on the maturity and experience of the startup.

So far, Starburst Ventures has invested in five early-stage startups, and Zeitoun said it is closing on its sixth deal. Three of the companies are still in stealth. The two that aren’t:

  1. Outpost, a sustainable satellite company that Zeitoun called “the SpaceX of satellites”
  2. Strong Compute, which is helping machine learning developers to speed up their training processes
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