Richard David - NewSpace Global

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Learn more about NewSpace Global on their website

Originally posted on SSI's first website in 2012:

On Monday October 22nd, the Student Spaceflight Initiative hosted Richard David, CEO and Co-founder of New Space Global, at Stanford. Mr. Richard eloquently discussed the burgeoning commercial space industry, known as New Space, his company’s role as the hub for financial information on New Space, and his belief of Stanford being, well, “the Stanford of New Space.”

Growing up with an uncle who worked on Apollo, Mr. David quickly developed a fascination with space, but like many others, was disappointed by the state of the aerospace industry in the 1990s and instead joined the finance world as a lawyer. His fascination with space and new technology was rekindled with SpaceShipOne’s successful attempt at the Ansari X-prize in 2004. Many regard that flight as the start of New Space, a term used to describe private for-profit companies who are making serious efforts to utilize outer space. Excited with the New Space movement, Mr. David left his job to start New Space Global (NSG), a financial tracking firm based in New York dedicated to monitoring the top companies in New Space and satisfying the demand for information on this budding field.

For Mr. David, the idea that New Space is the next big thing is a no brainer: 8 million people watched the Youtube video of the Red Bull Stratos launch, SpaceX became the first commercial company to resupply the International Space Station with the successful launch of its Dragon Capsule, and Blue Origin successfully tested their suborbital Crew Capsule escape system, all in the same month. “SpaceX,” he says, “has added over 1200 new jobs during one of the hardest economic climates in history” – a fact he states to the audience with enthusiasm. Coupled with the continued progress of companies like Virgin Galactic, XCOR, and Germany’s launch of human cancer cells on a Chinese launch last year, it’s clear that in-space manufacturing, microgravity research, and space tourism have huge market potential, with benefits and applications on Earth.

And based on NSG’s research New Space has been growing steadily since 2004; however, it hasn’t taken off like a “hockey stick.” The reason, in Mr. David’s opinion, is the absence of institutional investment due to a lack of understanding surrounding the market and that’s where NSG comes in. NSG’s fundamental goal is to educate investors, government agencies, companies, universities, students, and more on the economic potential of New Space so that they not only want to support the field, but know how to do so. The company aims to accomplish these using three products: its indices, monthly Thruster report, and New Space Watch website. NSG tracks over 300 companies around the world and based on a refined 50 question algorithm, creates a list of the top companies in New Space (the NSG 100, PTC, RE, and OTB) based on proprietary information collected from its vast network- telling both job seekers and investors where the action is happening. The purpose of the monthly Thruster magazine is to provide industry insight through interviews with company executives and articles from around the world reporting on major events in New Space. And for the most up-to-date information, there’s New Space Watch, an information hub on all aspects of New Space – and as Mr. David said it best, “you won’t find computer animations here, only photos of hardware and people because we want readers to understand that New Space is real.”

During his talk, Mr. David gave several pieces of advice to an audience of aspiring space entrepreneurs; build up to your big ideas incrementally, work with the Business school and the and most importantly learn salesmanship. Mr. David pointed out that Elon Musk has worked on several successful companies before founding SpaceX and his experience building top management teams is as important as technical excellence; while on launch day all eyes are on the engineers, getting to that point required relentless salesmanship from the executives at SpaceX. Mr. David also emphasized that given Stanford’s location and background, an interdisciplinary group connecting alumni, students, and this burgeoning industry can become the hub that this growing industry needs. As Mr. David put it, “About 550 people have been to space- that’s bull… What we need is, well, a Stanford of New Space- and you’ve already got the name.”