Agile Space Industries wins the money race for venture capital – the Durango Herald

Spacecraft thruster maker wins $ 2.1 million in investment competition

Agile Space Industries is developing its A110 thrusters at its design and test site adjacent to Durango-La Plata County Airport. The A110 thruster was chosen for use on the Griffin Lander. The lunar lander will have 12 A110 thrusters that it will use to guide it to the south pole of the moon.

Agile Space Industries, the maker of Durango’s thrusters, spacecraft maneuvering engines, walked away from an investment competition as the primary recipient of venture capital funding, bringing home investments of $ 2, $ 1 million.

Most of those investments, $ 1.8 million, came from Denver’s investment management firm Greenline Ventures, which focuses on investing in underserved businesses and communities, often overlooked by capital investors. -traditional risk.

Funding for the investment came on Friday in Grand Junction during the Greater Colorado Pitch Series, which brought together 100 startups and startups to make online presentations to private equity firms.

Of the 100 participants, Agile Space Industries beat its closest rival in attracting capital. Agile CEO Jeffrey Max said the company that received the second highest funding attracted around $ 250,000 in investment.

“It’s almost Christmas for us because we hadn’t planned to participate in this event. We decided to do it at the last minute, ”said Max. “Making a video at the last minute and uploading it, and taking the win like we did was a great validation for the company and the team. It was great.”

In addition to the Greenline Ventures funds, AGI also received investments of $ 250,000 from the Greater Colorado Venture Fund and $ 50,000 from the First Southwest Bank Fund.

Max said the $ 2.1 million capital would fund the expansion of Agile’s rocket engine testing facility, located next to Durango-La Plata County Airport, and the purchase of equipment, mainly 3D printers capable of printing thrusters using exotic metal alloys.

Agile Space Industries has expertise in the use of 3D printing in the design, development and manufacture of thrusters.

Daudi Barnes, right, founder and president of Agile Space Industries, works with employees in 2018 at the Agile facility near Durango-La Plata County Airport. Barnes, who worked on engine design on the Space Shuttle, funded Agile in Durango in 2009 as he sought to stay in the spacecraft design industry while escaping congestion, Southern California traffic and urban lifestyle.

The use of 3D printing reduces the time required to develop thrusters and makes it easier and cheaper to design and test upgrades to small engines used to maneuver spacecraft.

“Basically, we’re going to use the capital for infrastructure and equipment here in Durango to expand the operation, which means more jobs, more opportunities, more growth here, locally, in Durango,” said declared Max.

Initially, Greenline Ventures was supposed to invest $ 1 million in Agile Space Industries, but intrigued by Agile’s presentation video for the competition, Max said Greenline had further researched Agile and decided to increase the investment to $ 1. , $ 8 million.

“Greenline contacted us to get an even more complete view of the business. Many of the companies they invest with are smaller companies with less experienced management teams. When they see the experience that we have, and that we have been selected for a Moonshot by NASA, they know it’s the real deal. It’s legitimate, ”said Max.

Agile Space Industries recently completed a critical design review of the 12 thrusters that Agile is developing for the Griffin Lander, which is expected to deliver the VIPER, or Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, to the Moon’s South Pole to search for water. in the form of ice.

The VIPER is now expected to land on the South Pole of the Moon in December 2022.

Max said the critical design review conducted by Astrobotic, maker of the Griffin Lander, showed that the thrusters Agile is developing for the Griffin Lunar Lander exceeded small engine specifications, and they arrived on schedule and on budget, which Agile is particularly keen to achieve as it builds its name as a quality manufacturer for the growing space industry.

“We can show that this approach to design, testing, development and manufacturing really works, and we have a major program from NASA that we can refer to and how we delivered superior performance on time and within budget, ”he said.

amongjo@durangoherald.com


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