Nine ventures join first SoCal-UK Space Accelerator

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul9,2024

TAMPA, Fla. — Mandala Space Ventures, a Californian venture studio and incubator, announced July 8 the nine United Kingdom-based startups participating in its UK Space Agency-funded accelerator program this fall.

The eight-week virtual course starts Sept. 3 and culminates with an in-person investor pitch day at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. 

The SoCal-UK Space Accelerator creates a “transatlantic portal for great ideas from the U.K.,” said Mandala founder and CEO Leon Alkalai, helping prepare them for venture capital and access to the U.S. market.

Mandala picked the U.K. cohort from a total of 42 proposals, added Alkalai, who founded Mandala three years ago after retiring as a Technical Fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Alongside networking opportunities with potential investors, he said the program aims to connect early-stage U.K. space ventures with mentors from JPL.

NameDescriptionAgtelligenceAgriculture-focused Earth observation analysis provider.AngokaMachine-to-machine communications software specialist.LodestarA developer of robotic actuators for in-orbit inspection and capture missions.LumiSoftware platform provider for orbit tracking and atmospheric turbulence monitoring.Second StarSatellite propulsion system manufacturer.Space SolarSpace-based solar power technology developer.Saif SystemsSoftware-based guardrail developer for autonomous artificial intelligence solutions in space.Universal Atmosphere Processing (UAP)A provider of gas capture technology that could support sustainable human habitats in space.  Frontier Space TechA miniaturized, autonomous laboratory developer for drug discovery in microgravity.SoCal-UK Space Accelerator participants would also have the opportunity to join a $50 million fund Mandala aims to raise. Source: Mandala Space Ventures

The SoCal-UK Space Accelerator is one of four accelerators the UK Space Agency announced in February as part of a pilot program with up to 500,000 British pounds ($641,000) of funding.

Mandala recently completed a similar accelerator program for the Canadian Space Agency.

Meanwhile, Alkalai said Mandala has started reaching out to potential investors to raise $50 million for its second investment fund.

Mandala raised $16 million in its first fund three years ago and invested it across 10 companies, including rocket motor manufacturer Adranos, which sold to U.S. defense contractor Anduril Industries last year.

Alkalai said Mandala is also invested in Lynk Global, which is in the middle of merging with publicly traded shell company Slam Corp in a deal valuing the direct-to-smartphone satellite operator at $800 million.

As part of the accelerator program, he said Mandala plans to introduce the SoCal-UK Space Accelerator cohort to the firm’s venture capital network in Southern California for possible investment ahead of a pitch day scheduled for Oct. 25.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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