If you're reading this, you probably have the sneaking suspicion that something big is on the horizon. You may even have glimpsed a harbinger of this coming change: small, low‐Earth orbit (LEO) satellites swooping across the sky, parts of the rapidly growing satellite constellations powering the global economy to a greater extent each day.

We use the term Space Economy to encompass every business that relies on orbital access to deliver its value, from Planet Labs,* a company imaging every inch of the ground from space on a daily basis, to Pokémon GO, a hit mobile game that works using GPS signals from satellites.

(An asterisk will mark the first appearance of any company Space Capital has previously invested in.)

For all the media coverage of SpaceX* and its iconoclastic founder, Elon Musk, commercial launch services are just the beginning of the story. The Space Economy is much more than rockets and satellite hardware. Space‐based technologies are next‐generation digital infrastructure, the “invisible backbone” of the largest global industries. Most people have yet to grasp the genuine, world‐changing business implications of lower‐cost orbital access. CNBC has called space “Wall Street's next trillion‐dollar industry.”1 Bank of America predicts that “the growing space economy will more than triple in size in the next decade to become a $1.4 trillion market.”2 Morgan Stanley expects a space‐based business to create the world's first trillionaire.3

Humanity has ...

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