An interview with Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, co-founder of SpaceBase
Today we meet Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom! Emeline is, among others, a member of the Advisory Board of the Astropreneurs. She kindly accepted to be interviewed and we are happy to hear about her experiences.
Astropreneurs: Emeline, we know you have an extensive experience with entrepreneurship in the space sector. Could you tell our readers about your past experiences and about your current endeavors?
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom: Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to be given great opportunities at the right time and place. I have mostly been involved in birthing space and tech educational organizations and startup companies over the past three decades. I owe that mostly to ISU founder Peter Diamandis, who has recruited me several times to work on his startup companies. Working for ISU in its formative years started my program development and operations career for a startup organization. Working for Space Adventures for almost a decade pushed my boundaries—learning by doing was the mantra of the day and lean methodology (before it was mainstream) was how we survived. Singularity University (SU) was were I grew up. Learning to manage and scale a growing organization with Moonshot goals was both fulfilling and challenging at the same time. But throughout the different organizations I’ve been involved in, staying power always boils down to pursuing your true passion in life.
I resigned from SU at the beginning of 2017 to take my own passion for space and social impact to the next level and work on my personal mission—democratizing space for everyone by focusing on creating space ecosystems in emerging and developing countries. Having lived in both a developing world and in several of the richest and most advanced cities in the world, I was fortunate to have experienced the stark difference between those worlds. I also understand that to truly have a sustainable global space economy that can propel us to an abundant Star Trek future, we need to enable the rest of the world to access the same technology and opportunities and level the playing field for everyone. This is what I am focusing on today.
Video presentation for Space Tech Summit Jan 23-24, 2018
Astropreneurs: You recently moved to New Zealand to help create a new space entrepreneurial ecosystem there. How has the experience been so far?
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom: I am here in New Zealand together with two of my SpaceBase co-founders—fellows of the new Edmund Hillary Fellowship program. At SpaceBase, we hope to enable entrepreneurs to find space opportunities regardless of where they are in the world. We don’t want anyone to be left behind. We hope to co-create a global space economy one nation at a time starting in New Zealand.
So far we have been embraced with open arms and welcomed into the existing tech and entrepreneurial community here. Currently, we are working on two initial projects, a space directory for entrepreneurs in New Zealand, and a national NZ Space Challenge to catalyze space ideas, projects, and startups. Both are in progress. We kick-off both minimum viable products on February 1st.
Astropreneurs: What do you think are the key points to have a sustainable New Space entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom: We think that there is a holistic roadmap to create a sustainable space ecosystem. We start by capacity building: exposing people to the opportunity and giving them the education and training to help them start space companies. We then give them the tools and the training to accelerate and increase their probability of success. And lastly, we help them find the funding to build successful businesses.
We are fortunate that NZ has the fundamental elements to start this roadmap. A progressive government is helping entrepreneurs by creating the space policies and regulations to make businesses thrive. And there is an existing technical and entrepreneurial community to birth ideas and startups. It also helps that New Zealand’s isolation makes it favorable for more frequent launches. The presence of Rocket Lab fulfills the need for infrastructure and launch capabilities. This is a great advantage for a nation focused on growing its space industry.
Astropreneurs: Any recommendations to other astropreneurs out there? What do you think are the big challenges New Space entrepreneurs encounter nowadays?
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom: I think funding is still the biggest hurdle for space entrepreneurs everywhere. But this dilemma is getting easier. For one, exponential technologies have demonetized goods and services, which translates to cheaper and less expensive hardware for startups to prototype and test their ideas. Secondly, the existence of new ways to find funding—from traditional crowdfunding platforms to the rise of blockchain backed tokens and cryptocurrencies—can help ideas-stage entrepreneurs to find seed funding when angel investors and VCs may not support.
Lastly, the rise of big and bold Moonshot missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond— from big players like SpaceX, ULA, and Blue Origin—are creating new markets beyond launch capabilities and spacecraft. Everything in between—from components in the launch supply chain, to food production, life support systems, habitation, etc.—are potential new and niche markets for an astropreneur to leverage.
Astropreneurs: As you know, Astropreneurs.space is a project that was created during the International Space University (ISU) Space Studies Program 2017. How did your experiences at ISU over the years change you?
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom: I don’t think I would be where I am today without ISU. Every step of my career has been either influenced, supported, or enhanced by members of the ISU community. My roles in each of the organizations I have worked for (except one) where either obtained through an ISU connection or recommendation. ISU’s network is its strength and I can say that I have taken advantage of this to the fullest.
Astropreneurs: We’ve talked about the past and the present. Can you tell us some of your future plans?
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom: SpaceBase‘s contribution is to co-create a collaboration platform for entrepreneurs, which is open-sourced and multi-stakeholder. We are also building a funding platform for startups. We are looking at non-traditional funding mechanisms for entrepreneurs.
We hope the platforms we are building will become the one-stop shop for anybody wishing to break into the space industry. Eventually, we want to make these global. We hope to prototype this blueprint road map in New Zealand, but it doesn’t stop there. We hope that this roadmap can be ported and adapted by different nations who wish to develop their own sustainable space ecosystem. We are already looking at different countries to partner. I hope in the long run, this will lead us to more integrated collaboration between multi-stakeholders that will work collectively to bring humanity to the next step of our evolution: exploring off planet for resources and settlement.
You can know more about Emeline’s projects in the following links:
Or you can read her book:
Posted by Marta Lebron