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SVB and The Space Economy

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

Rocket Lab, whose Electron launcher is seen here on its Virginia pad, is among the space companies that did business with Silicon Valley Bank. (Via, Image credit: NASA)

The news that Silicon Valley Bank failed on March 10 is creating a degree of uncertainty in the financial world this week, and across the startup ecosystem in particular. In recent years the rapidly growing space economy has been funded in part by Silicon Valley style venture capital investments. Now many in the space community are wondering how the collapse of such an influential institution might impact the industry — and humanity’s space exploration efforts in the coming months or years. For instance Space marketer Ksenia Ozkok asked how the aerospace sector has been affected in an Instagram post over the weekend.

Space News has been covering the development since Friday, with an article on how the space sector react[ed] to collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which they updated Monday when Space firms regain[ed] access to Silicon Valley Bank accounts. In short, this assessment of the situation stands out:

Overall, Silicon Valley Bank’s forced closure by the regulators won’t “affect the space ecosystem in the long run but it could heavily affect some startups’ cash flow in the near terms as they struggle to get their assets out,” Negar Feher, former Momentus Space vice president of business development, said by email.

This morning, offered a summary of ways the Silicon Valley Bank collapse ripples across the space industry, and draws a similarly even keeled conclusion.

Start up investments had been slowing in recent months already, even in the space sector, and perhaps this will slow them further in the short-term. Venture capitalists may be more conservative in the wake of this news. However, investors and investment firms will still want to put their money to work, and will still need promising startups to bet on. As always, a downturn in the market can mean new opportunities for those resilient and creative enough to weather the challenges. (Update: Founder and venture capitalit Leslie Feinzaig was highly impacted by the SVB failure, yet also concluded that the grittiest entrepreneurs will survive.)

In the context of ARES Learning, this week’s financial news does not change our commitment to preparing students for the growing space economy, and for humanity's rapidly approaching multiplanet future. We are also confident that continued funding of space infrastructure will be a lucrative “double bottom line” investment, supporting both financial gains and societal benefits.

Learn more about the ARES Learning approach in the book Space Education: Preparing Students for Humanity's Multi-Planet Future by our co-founder Dr. Mark Wagner, and explore a complete Space Education Curriculum developed for high schools - it's a free and open education resource available to students, teachers, and enthusiasts everywhere.

Educators, sign up for online professional development based on the book and curriculum. And be sure to register for the FREE online Space Education Summit on April 21, 2023.

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