Part 2 of the story of CisLunar Industries™

If you haven’t read it already, the story begins with Part 1: An Astropreneur’s Journey – Forged out of SSP17 
CisLunar Industries S.A.™ is on a mission to become a key player in the industrialization of cislunar space by deploying the first industrial scale metal processing capability for recycling space debris and refining Lunar and asteroidal material. With the acceleration of entrepreneurial space activity and a renewed focus on the Moon, we believe now is the ideal time to pursue this goal. This is our story.

A Decision Point: How Committed Are We?

It is often said that perseverance is one of the critical attributes that determines an entrepreneur’s success.  Without it, no startup can make it through the gauntlet of rejections, disappointments, and setbacks that must be overcome to reach success.  

From the outside, failing to make the top ten in the Space Exploration Masters competition probably looked like a major decision point. Was this just an entrepreneurial experiment to test an idea in a conveniently timed competition? Or, did we have the conviction to carry our idea forward as a true business endeavor? To us, the answer was never in doubt. We knew we had found a potentially lucrative gap in the space resources value chain, and by fulfilling this need, CisLunar Industries would become a major enabling factor in the industrialization of cislunar space.

Make Your Own Opportunities and Don’t be Afraid to Ask

Through our participation in the Space Exploration Masters competition, we discovered what Luxembourg is building with their SpaceResources.lu initiative. It seemed like a promising environment to build our company in, but we needed more information to be sure. The top five finalists in the competition were invited to Luxembourg to meet with the Ministry of Economy and tour a couple of the country’s main incubators. Though we did not make the cut, we figured there was no reason why we couldn’t arrange basically the same tour for ourselves. The NewSpace Europe conference, held in Luxembourg, was the perfect occasion to do just that. The key was using our network effectively. We were able to connect with the right person at the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy who graciously introduced us to the people we wanted to meet with and, just like that, we set up our own tour for the days leading up to the conference.

Luxembourg and NewSpace Europe Beckoned

Our upcoming trip to Luxembourg became the next big focal point for the team and galvanized our resolve. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we worked overtime to develop our idea as much as possible. We completed our first real pitch deck and designed and printed our first set of business cards. It is amazing how holding your first business card can make a business idea feel more tangible. If you are an entrepreneur just starting out, do this! It has a powerful positive psychological effect.  

First Business Card Arrives – Credit: Gary Calnan

Despite our widely dispersed team, we were able to gather most of the co-founders in Luxembourg for the main event, our first chance to physically come together since the end of the Space Studies Program (SSP).  While modern technology is amazing for enabling connectivity in a globally dispersed team, in a startup there is nothing that matches the energy and creativity created when a team comes together in the same location.

Partial Gathering of Co-Founders in Luxembourg – Credit: Gary Calnan

Yep, This is Definitely the Place to Be!

Our week in Luxembourg was another key decision point for our company. The Luxembourg government and startup community proved to be welcoming, open minded, flexible, and responsive, and we came away convinced that this is the place to build CisLunar Industries™. It was here in the days leading up to the conference that our ongoing relationship with the Paul Wurth InCub (incubator) and the Ministry of Economy began. The NewSpace Europe conference exceeded our expectations and only further solidified our conviction.

To Secure Your Commitment, Tell the World

In addition to checking out Luxembourg, this trip was also the first time we publicly presented our idea and company to the broader space community.  The NewSpace Europe conference proved to be the perfect venue to officially announce the launch of our company on social media and to everyone we met there. Of course, at this stage, CisLunar Industries™ was little more than a well thought out concept by our core team of true believers. Announcing our existence to our entire network was both exhilarating and a little terrifying. No matter what happened next, I knew we would all give this startup everything we had to give.

CisLunar Industries Launch Tweet – Credit: CisLunar Industries S.A.

Now the Real Work Begins

The week ended with a strengthened commitment to our startup and a growing conviction that Luxembourg was the best place to headquarter our company. We discovered clear synergies between our concept and the long history in metal processing at Paul Wurth making the Paul Wurth InCub an attractive incubator. The Ministry of Economy also proved to be very receptive to our concept, recognizing how well the Space Foundry™ fit into a gap in the space resources value chain. There is clearly funding and support available in Luxembourg if we can convince our prospective partners that our plan is achievable, we are the team to do it, and the timing is right. So of course, we decided to go for it! …. How hard could it be?

The story will continue in part 3 when we find out what it’s really like to build a business plan for a space startup aiming to credibly address a market that doesn’t yet exist…

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Posted by Gary Calnan