International billionaires bankroll Puget Sound space industry

Once upon a time, Greater Seattle was, essentially, a one-horse region, with Boeing as the company that built the town.  Today, though we’ve moved past that era and the region has become incredibly industrially diverse, aerospace remains in our blood.  It’s just developing another form now.

Space-focused ventures, ranging from asteroid-mining technology to space-minded investment, have been cropping up in the Puget Sound region in the last few years, to the point that this year, a group began casually meeting, tentatively titled the Washington State Space Coalition, to lobby the state for economic support for their efforts. They want to turn Puget Sound into ground zero for the commercial space industry.

The group is bankrolled by tech investors like Jeff Bezos of Amazon or Google’s Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, and also through an international organization called Space Angels Network, which is an aerospace-focused angel investor organization based in Seattle and with international angels on their rolls.  At a recent panel discussion at the Museum of Flight, Space Angels’ managing director was the voice of economic reason as he sketched out the industry’s financial reality.  One point of that was exactly that the region’s background with Boeing and other aerospace firms means that the area has suppliers to assist ventures going to space.  There’s also the wealth of high-tech talent, a lot of capital, and an existing infrastructure, all of which Greater Seattle has in abundance.

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