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Singaporean startup Technology

Singaporean startup Karana raises $1.7 million to meat Replacements Made of jackfruit

Singaporeans have a growing appetite for fermented meat replacements. In fact, demand for goods from firms like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Quorn have increased throughout the pandemic, partially because consumers are creating more rigorous decisions, based on the Straits Time. Currently there is a new entrant to the marketplace. Headquartered in Singapore, Karana announced today it has raised $1.7 million in seed financing and intends to establish its first solution, a pork replacement made from jackfruit, this season.

Karana’s seed investors include Henry Soesanto, the CEO of Monde Nissin Group, which acquired Quorn Foods at 2015; agtech investment companies Big Idea Ventures and Germi8; and angel investors Kevin Poon and Gerald Li, equally Hong Kong entrepreneurs with expertise in the food and beverage market. Karana said the round also included involvement in the undisclosed leading Asia-based FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) distributor.

Karana’s jackfruit is sourced from Sri Lanka, in which jackfruit is currently a frequent meat substitute. What the processing system of Karana does is create a texture that pork shredded and minced closely, making it simpler to use in dishes such as bahn mi, char siu bao or dumplings.

Launched in 2018 from Dan Riegler and Blair Crichton, Karana turns organic jackfruit to a pork replacement using a proprietary mechanical technique that the company states doesn’t use any chemical processing. Before arriving in retail shops its pork substitute will be accessible restaurants this season.

Riegler and Crichton advised TechCrunch within an email that Karana uses jackfruit since it not only has a”naturally meaty feel,” but is an environmentally-friendly crop. It is typically increased intercropped (or with other produce, in the same area ), has a high yield and reduced water use. But roughly 60% of jackfruit harvested currently goes to waste, they included. “There is a great deal of space for additional commercialization, which means extra income streams for farmers”

Karana’s founders began with pork because it’s the most often consumed meat in Asia. Its seed financing is going to be utilized on development and research to establish the business and new products currently speaking to partners in other markets. Prospective Karana products will utilize different plants developed in Asia to create meat substitutes that are new.

“Karana is a whole-plant meat company, our focus is on leveraging what nature has given us and enhancing those amazing biodiverse ingredients to make delicious products. Later on, we will launch products utilizing other regional ingredients which will enable us to expand outside pork,” the creators said. “This is really a differentiator from other businesses which are by-and-large relying on commodity plants in forms that are processed.”

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fintech startup Technology

Fintech startup nCino Objectives ~$2B valuation in Forthcoming IPO

As IPO season proceeds , another venture-backed technology company is moving closer toward moving people. Last week nCino filed an updated S-1 filing, supplying a preliminary budget for its equity of $22 to $24 per share.

Really, nCino, a fintech startup that offers operating software to banks, intends to market 7. 625 million shares in its own debut, worth $167. 75 million to $183 million in these prices. Including shares offered to its underwriters, its haul grows to between $192.9 million and $210.5 million.

Discounting the extra shares, nCino is worth between $1. 96 billion to $2. 14 billion at its present budget.

The startup’s software is exactly what nCino calls a”bank operating system,” providing banking applications to assist financial entities with lending, customer resource management, account opening and more. It’s a space for invention, provided the sophistication and prosperity of the banking industry. Smaller startups are also working along related lines.

Normally at this stage in an IPO procedure we evaluate the debuting firm’s evaluation range with its closing private valuation. But it’s difficult to learn which nCino was worth. PitchBook and Crunchbase are bare regarding its last personal around, as are.

Notably, nCino has no preferred stock, therefore spelunking through different set of preferred equity sourced from S-1 data wasn’t possible. On the other hand, the company was healthful — and therefore, valuable — sufficient to raise more than $130 million over two rounds in 2018 and 2019, for example a $80 million round from last October led by Chip Mahan and T. Rowe Price.

No matter where nCino priced toward the end of its life as a private company, its own IPO is a probable win for both Salesforce and Insight Partners. The corporate venture arm of Salesforce and the well-known venture band own 13.2% and 46.6%, respectively, of nCino’s equity before IPO stocks are counted; expected ownership for the two groups falls into 12.1percent and 42.6%, respectively, if including expected IPO equity.

Based into Crunchbase data, Insight Partners led nCino’s Series C and B 2014 and 2015, while Salesforce Ventures directed its $51.5 million 2018 round; Salesforce also took part in several of the company’s early specimens, helping to explain its own double-digit stake in the firm.

What exactly?

Modern software companies, frequently referred to as SaaS firms, set new valuation documents this week to the public markets following earlier highs set in Q2. Their performance hints that nCino could find warm welcome from investors.

Does fact match with the valuation the above-detailed pricing suggests that nCino could achieve? Annualizing the company’s Q1 (the April 30, 2020 interval ) earnings results, nCino’s $178.9 million run rate will give it a sales multiple of 11x to 12x in its expected IPO prices, a somewhat modest effect by present standards.

Really, as nCino climbed about 50percent from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020, it feels light. The firm’s GAAP losses are slim in comparison to revenue as well for a SaaS company, although the company’s operating cash burn did rise from $4.6 million in its fiscal year ending January 31, 2019 to $9 million in its second financial year. Its numbers are mostly good, with some outcomes. Still, given its growth rate, an 11x-12x revenue multiple feels small; this figure rises, naturally, when we use a tracking earnings figure instead of our annualized number.

It would not be a shock, then, if nCino targets a higher cost interval for its stocks before it formally costs. The firm is anticipated to price next Tuesday and commerce the following day, the exact same time period as GoHealth. More when we have it.

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Connect startup Technology

K4Connect, a startup bringing tech to senior living centers, closes its $21M Series B

K4Connect, a startup focused on bringing new technologies such as voice help, house automation, electronic messaging and much more to older adults and people living with disabilities, has closed on $21 million in Series B financing. The B around had originally wrapped in October 2018, but had been extended with the latest inclusion of $7.7 million headed by Forte Ventures.

Others Participating in the round include existing investors Sierra Ventures, Intel Capital, AXA Venture Partners, the Ziegler Link•Age Fund, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest, Topmark Partners (previously Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners) and Traverse. As a result of the financing that is new, Forte Ventures’ Louis Rajczi will join the startup’s board. To date, K4Connect has raised $31 million in venture capital.

Image Credits: K4Connect

Especially, the additional funds were raised amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has been disproportionately impacting older adults in care centers, cutting off their communication from loved ones and interrupting their daily pursuits.

The K4Connect platform, which now serves over 800 continuing care, independent living and assisted living communities across the U.S., can help address many of the challenges these communities are now facing.

The startup was co-founded in 2013 from Scott Moody, the entrepreneur that the biometrics company AuthenTec offered to Apple, where it became the basis for Touch ID.

Now K4Connect’s CEO, Moody had moved to Raleigh, N.C. to retire, but soon realized he still had energy left to begin another provider. Originally, the focus of the startup had been on bringing smart home technologies together through what’s now K4Connect functioning system, FusionOS. However, the team had substituted in on a industry.

That changed when Moody met a man, Eric, that was an advocate for the homeless and living with MS. He advised the creator that when he wakes in the morning, he has the energy for about a thousand good steps through his afternoon — and the way he uses those measures defines the quality of his life. He said could help him make his life better.

Moody instantly pivoted the company to divert its focus on serving individuals in similar scenarios, which did not only include people living with disabilities but also the wider senior market.

Image Credits: K4Connect

Today, the FusionOS-powered platform incorporates a suite of solutions intended for residents in assisted or independent living facilities in addition to other maintenance facilities. This includes tools to stay connected to their own families through voice and video messaging, in addition to those for accessing a digital resident directory, playing games and remaining informed on the most recent public information — ranging from COVID-19 upgrades to daily meal menus to upgraded visitation policies, or anything else that the facility wants to broadcast.

For the facilities who purchase the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for their communities, there are other productivity tools that they can use, like those for event administration, resident surveys, resident and family administration, communications, prospect communications and more. Due the outbreak, K4Connect is even developing instead of having staff enter their rooms, an expanded chat service that will allow residents to movie call employees for their requests.

Another essential aspect to K4Connect’s solution is its smart home automation functionality.

The company provisions Alexa devices for residents, so that they don’t have to configure devices themselves — they simply plug them . Additionally, it supports home automation devices like lights that are smart, smart thermostats, motion sensors, sleep tracking devices and much more. 

This is all managed by means of the organization’s”K4Community” solution powered by the inherent FusionOS technology. This can be accessed by residents perhaps, on tablet computers or as an app in their smartphones through signage in the facility .

The SaaS solution is priced according to per-resident foundation and the cost is dependent upon which modules that the facility would like to use in their own setup. This can range from a few dollars per month each resident each month per resident, Moody includes service, also says.

Image Credits: K4Connect

As it turns out, K4Connect had a bit of a head start concerning working on options specifically designed to satisfy the needs of its communities amid the coronavirus outbreak, because of advice from its investors.

“Having investors like Intel and AXA did provide a larger perspective,” says Moody. “I figured, look, they’re really worried. They’re seeing this problem from a broader geographic perspective than we are,” he clarifies.

Moody already knew that even the flu affected elderly adults more than the overall populace. Due to the market of seniors of K4Connect, he multiplied what shareholders said could be the effects of coronavirus by a much bigger factor.

“We sort of saw it coming,” Moody admits. “Many people were not completely bought in yet at the end of February. But just at the start of March, we found something called’Project COVID 911.’ I simply thought it was likely to have a significant impact on the market, but more importantly, the people we serve. And we had to be in a position to respond and support,” he adds.

“When I was wrong, then we’re going to be more prepared. And if I had been right, then we would be in a scenario where we could really help serve people,” says Moody.

K4Connect corrected its roadmap to focus on particular locations, like communications, content delivery, and pre-provisioning that the Alexa Dot speakers, in order to limit time spent installing in residents’ rooms, among other things. Today, its solution offers features such as resident-to-resident video chat for people now stuck inside their rooms, tools for booking time slots at the dining room for centers restricting large groups, access to livestreamed articles — like those yoga classes you can not attend in person — and much more.

With the extra funding, K4Connect, currently a group of 57 full time, intends to further expand to the mature market, including not only those in centers and mature communities, but also people living in affordable housing on their own. The team is actively developing solutions for this market segment, Moody says.

We are incredibly fortunate within our investor relationships because they not only believe in our vision but equally value our mission,” Moody said, in a declaration about the new funding. “Forte Ventures is a prime example of that connection and we’re pleased to welcome them to the bench of our valued investors. With their support, and all of our investors, we’re continuing to accelerate to function as many older adults through technology as you can.”

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Categories
Secretive startup Technology

Secretive data startup Palantir has confidentially filed for an IPO

Secretive surveillance startup Palantir said late Monday it has confidentially filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. 

Its announcement for the secretive, government-friendly large data performance, co-founded by Peter Thiel, said little longer. “The public listing is expected to occur after the SEC completes its inspection process, subject to market and other conditions.” 

Palantir did not say when it plans to go public nor did it provide other details like the amount of shares it might possibly market or the share price range for its IPO. Confidential IPO filings allow companies to skip the IPO filing mechanisms that provide insights into their inner workings like risks and figures. Rather, Palantir can research the early stages of setting itself up for a public listing without the public scrutiny that includes the procedure. The plan has been utilized by businesses such as Spotify, Slack and Uber. However, a filing that is confidential does not always translate to an IPO. 

A Palantir spokesperson, when attained, declined to comment further.

Palantir is just one of the more secretive firms in Silicon Valley, a provider of big data and analytics technology, including to the U.S. government and intelligence community. Much of that work has drawn on controversies in privacy and civil liberties activists. By way of instance, investigations demonstrate that the company’s data mining software was utilized to create profiles of immigrants and consequently aid deportation attempts by the ICE.

Since the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the world, Palantir pitched its technologies to bring massive information to tracking efforts.  

Last week, Palantir filed its initial Form D in four decades indicating that it’s raising $961 million. According to the filing, $550 million has been raised and capital commitments for the rest of the allotment have been secured. 

With today’s news, the money raise appears complementary to the business’s ambitions to go people. 1 report estimates the company’s valuation hovers at $26 billion

Palantir’s filing is another example of the way the IPO market is warming up , despite the freeze COVID-19 put on numerous businesses. Last week, insurer Lemonade debuted on the public market to heat waters. Accolade, a health care benefits firm, similarly is sold more shares than anticipated.  

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Categories
company startup

Startup company plans balloon trips to the edge of space by 2021



Startup company plans balloon trips to the edge of space by 2021

This artist’s rendering shows Spaceship Neptune, a space-balloon designed by human flight company Space Perspective and UK design studio PriestmanGoode.




If you’re trying to avoid airborne viruses, heading to a near vacuum might not be the worst idea.

A Florida company is planning to fly passengers to the edge of space in a high-tech version of a hot air balloon, with a pilot and up to eight travelers riding in a pressurized capsule suspended from an enormous blimp.

Human space flight company Space Perspective has scheduled the test flight of its Spaceship Neptune for early 2021, from the auspicious surroundings of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

That test flight will be uncrewed and carrying research payloads, but Space Perspective hopes that in a few years it’ll also be taking space tourists on six-hour sightseeing jaunts, with a refreshment bar and social media capabilities to hand.

“We’re committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space — both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on Earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet,” said Space Perspective founder and co-CEO Jane Poynter in a release.

As well as Kennedy Space Center, Space Perspective intends to launch from Florida’s Cecil Spaceport and is planning additional launch sites around the world, including at Kodiak in Alaska. It’s already possible to reserve seats on Space Perspective‘s website and Anchorage Daily News reports that passengers can expect to pay around $125,000 for a ticket.

The six-hour trips will involve a two-hour gentle ascent above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere to 100,000 feet — an experience, Space Perspective says, only enjoyed so far by 20 people in human history.

There’ll be another leisurely two hours for passengers to enjoy the 360-degree views from the cabin before the spaceship makes its two-hour descent to the ocean, where it will splash down safely. Voyage to shore will be completed by ship.

The spaceship was designed in collaboration with UK design studio PriestmanGoode, which is also working on a passenger module concept for Elon Musk’s Hyperloop transport system.

“We looked at all the different elements that would make the experience not just memorable, but truly comfortable as well,” Nigel Goode, designer and cofounder of PriestmanGoode said in a release. “We wanted to make sure that passengers would be able to get 360-degree unobstructed views and that we created an efficient space that would enable them to move around during the journey.”

The capsule is five meters in diameter, while the polyethylene balloon above has a 100-meter diameter when fully inflated, about the length of a football field.



Startup company plans balloon trips to the edge of space by 2021

Human space flight company Space Perspective has scheduled the test flight of its Spaceship Neptune for early 2021.




Space Perspective claims that the process will be simple as boarding an airplane and that the capsule’s pressurized capsule offers what it describes as a “shirt-sleeves environment” (although with its plans to host weddings and other events, it could also be black-tie).

The lavatory, it claims, is “the loo with the best view in the known universe,” and is located in the center of the capsule in the splashdown cone.

Space Perspective’s co-founders Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum previously designed the air, food and water systems for the Biosphere 2 space base, in which they lived for two years.

“Our advanced space-balloon is designed to operate in the near vacuum found at the edge of space,” says Space Perspective’s website. “NASA has used similar balloons for decades for flying large research telescopes.”

As helium is in limited supply and needed for critical medical applications, Spaceship Neptune uses hydrogen. “The lift gas inside the balloon is lighter than air and allows Neptune to float on top of the Earth’s atmosphere like an ice cube on water,” Says Space Perspective.

Deadlines for space tourism projects have a tendency to slip years past their original targets, but optimism about demand for private space travel remains high. The stocks of Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic have almost doubled since March, despite it posting a net loss of $60 million for the first three months of the year.

Virgin Galactic announced in June that it had signed a deal with NASA to train private astronauts and coordinate potential trips to the International Space Station.

And at the end of May, Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first ever company to send humans into orbit aboard a privately owned spacecraft.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also has a rocket company called Blue Origin with ambitions to get tourists into space. In April, it was announced that it’s receiving a will receive $579 million injection from NASA to develop a lunar lander, which could carry astronauts to the moon in 2024.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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France-based startup

France-based startup ubble, which prompts users to capture a live video of their face and an official ID to verify identity, raises €10M seed round (Robin Wauters/Tech.eu)

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Crypto startup Technology

Crypto Startup School: The legal and fundraising implications of crypto tokens

Zoran Basich is the crypto editor for Andreessen Horowitz.

More posts by this contributor

Editor’s note: Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around the U.S. and overseas in a six-week course to learn how to build crypto companies. Andreessen Horowitz partnered with TechCrunch to release the online version of the course. 

The final week of a16z’s Crypto Startup School kicks off with former Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Brian Brooks discussing “Token Securities Frameworks and Launching a Network.” Brooks starts off calling crypto the “most perfect intersection of tech and finance,” but he cautions that crypto builders must navigate traditional financial-services regulatory structures.

This takes on special importance because tokens, the native assets of crypto networks, can be deemed securities by regulators, making them illegal to list on exchanges and subject to disclosures and other legal requirements.

Brooks explains the four-part Howey test, the Supreme Court ruling that has come to define when a given transaction is a securities transaction. Because crypto is still relatively new, however, the path to legality is still developing.

In the meantime, the crypto industry has created the Crypto Rating Council, a new tool to objectively rate tokens and gauge their risk of being deemed securities. Broadly, the tokens that carry the most risk of being labeled securities are those issued before a crypto network is fully decentralized, and while the actions of the management team remain critical to a network’s success. (Bitcoin, for example, is not a security, because it is completely decentralized and there is no core management team.)

Brooks introduces some promising new regulatory paths for crypto including membership models — similar to cooperatives or mutuals — in which token holders agree to only sell the token to other members of the network, avoiding a secondary sales market and thus steering clear of securities issues. While this model hasn’t been tested with the SEC, it has a long track record in other industries and bears further study.

In the final video of the program, former a16z partner and Mediachain co-founder Jesse Walden discusses “Fundraising and Deal Structure” for crypto startups. During early product development, crypto startups can raise traditional venture capital through equity, which allows for the most alignment between founders and investors.

Then, unlike a traditional startup, a crypto startup can invite its user base to participate in ownership and operation via the disbursement of tokens, once the core founding team has found product-market fit and established a viable network. This aligns incentives among the network, its users, the core team, and venture investors. Issuing tokens dilutes the stakes of the core team and early investors, but this is a desirable outcome because incentivizing more participants increases the chances that a network will grow. This leads to a larger pie overall for investors to share.

Walden also discusses Network Monetary Policy, citing Bitcoin, with its guaranteed limit of 21 million tokens, as having a fixed, deflationary supply policy. Other networks may be inflationary, with no ceiling on token amount, thereby perpetually diluting founders and early investors.

A perpetually dilutive system can nonetheless be productive for token holders due to staking, or the process of holders contributing to the operation of the network, which pays off in newly minted tokens for stakers and the retention of their ownership stakes.

See the videos from all six weeks of Crypto Startup School.

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Battlefield startup Technology

Startup Battlefield bonus: Application deadline extended one week

This one goes out to all the early-stage startup founders. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the state of the world, overworked — or procrastination is simply an intrinsic part of your DNA — it matters not. Here’s reason to smile. We’re giving you an extra week to apply to compete in Startup Battlefield during Disrupt 2020. Fill out your application before the new deadline expires on June 26 at 11: 59 pm (PT).

This is your moment to grab a double fistful of opportunity and step into a global spotlight. The virtual Disrupt 2020 represents our largest viewing audience and our biggest launch platform ever — more investors, more media and more, well, everything. If you’re chosen to compete in our premier pitch-off, you’ll go up against some of the best early-stage startups around the world.

Here’s what’s at stake: Massive exposure that can — whether you win the battle or not — change the trajectory of your startup, a launch article on TC.com, a 6 week mini-training program with TC editorial, all the perks of a Digital Disrupt Digital Pro pass (and then some) and a shot at $100,000, the Disrupt cup and all the bragging rights.

You’re eligible to apply if your company is early stage, has an MVP with a tech component (software, hardware or platform) and hasn’t received much, if any, major media coverage. Note: TechCrunch does not charge any application or participation fees or take any equity. We accept founders from all backgrounds, geographies and industries.

Veteran TechCrunch Battlefield editors (such a picky bunch) review every application and select startups that meet their discerning standards for innovation and growth potential. The virtual competition takes place during Disrupt 2020, which runs from Sept. 14 – 18.

Feel that flop sweat building up? Don’t stress. All competing founders receive weeks of free expert coaching from TechCrunch. Your pitch, demo and business model will shine like never before on game day.

Startup Battlefield consists of two rounds. Each team has six minutes to pitch and demo to our panel of TC editors, expert VCs and top entrepreneurs. Each team also faces a six-minute Q&A. Out of the original cohort, a handful of teams will move to the finals — on the last day of Disrupt — and pitch again to a new set of judges. They’ll choose one team to take home the title, the cup and the $100,000 prize.

Let’s take a peek at what other opportunities Battlefield competitors enjoy.

  • Exhibit in Digital Startup Alley and demo your product to hundreds of people
  • Network with CrunchMatch, our AI-powered platform. Use it to set up virtual 1:1 meetings with investors, media, potential customers or any other startup influencers
  • Exclusive access to Leading Voices Webinars: Hear top industry minds share their strategies for adapting and thriving during and after the pandemic
  • A launch article featuring your startup on TechCrunch.com
  • A YouTube video promoted on TechCrunch.com
  • Free subscription to Extra Crunch
  • Free passes to future TechCrunch events

You’ll also join the likes of Vurb, Dropbox, GetAround, Mint, Yammer, Fitbit and other members of the Startup Battlefield Alumni community. This impressive group, comprised (so far) of 902 companies, has collectively raised $9 billion and generated 115 exits.

Rejoice, you have one extra week to apply to compete in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020. The new deadline expires on June 26 at 11: 59 pm (PT). Don’t wait another minute. Make the most of this extended opportunity.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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Business space startup

This startup will send you to space in a balloon, for a price

  • A new startup called Space Perspective is planning to launch paying customers to space using a big balloon and a special observation capsule.
  • Tickets will cost around $125,000, the company says, but flights likely won’t begin for a few years.
  • Space tourism is a small but growing industry, with big dogs like Blue Origin and SpaceX pledging to send people to space for a price.

Ever wanted to travel to the edge of space but don’t trust explosive rocket technology? Well, you’re in luck! A new startup called Space Perspective wants to take (a lot) your money and send you toward the stars in a big ole’ balloon. Designed to be an alternative to the fledgling rocket-based space tourism industry, the company’s “Spaceship Neptune” capsules will be packed with paying customers and then carried aloft to a height of approximately 100,000 feet.

It’s just one of several entries into the burgeoning space tourism industry, but whether the startup can pull off what it’s promising is anyone’s guess.

According to the company, the trip to space (well, technically the edge of space), will be relatively brief. Two hours will be spent ascending to the intended altitude and then another two hours will be spent returning to Earth. A window of two hours in between ascent and descent will offer travelers some truly breathtaking views of their home planet.

When the trip is over the capsule will come to rest in the Atlantic Ocean, and passengers will be picked up by a ship of some kind and then brought back to shore. It all sounds a little bit odd but then again there’s really no rules when it comes to space tourism… at least not yet.

So, how much will the privilege of not even really making it to space set you back? A mere $125,000 per person. Okay, so it’s not cheap, but it will be a one-of-a-kind experience in an aircraft that doesn’t have to “blast off” from anywhere. The balloons will be deployed from Kennedy Space Center, according to the startup, but they’re still working out the details and finding their way through the FAA’s red tape.

Space Perspective is hardly the only company vying for a slice of the space tourism pie. Blue Origin and SpaceX, among others, have already announced plans to send paying customers into space for brief trips that will cost a whole heck of a lot of cash. In some cases, tickets have already been pre-sold for flights that might not take place for several more years, if they take place at all.

It probably goes without saying, but space tourism will cater to the super-rich, at least for now. Sending things to space is expensive, and raking in a sizable return on the initial investment of rockets (or space balloons) means charging very high prices. At least the rest of us will get to see some pretty cool Instagram selfies, right?

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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space startup

This startup will send you to space in a balloon, for a price

  • A new startup called Space Perspective is planning to launch paying customers to space using a big balloon and a special observation capsule.
  • Tickets will cost around $125,000, the company says, but flights likely won’t begin for a few years.
  • Space tourism is a small but growing industry, with big dogs like Blue Origin and SpaceX pledging to send people to space for a price.

Ever wanted to travel to the edge of space but don’t trust explosive rocket technology? Well, you’re in luck! A new startup called Space Perspective wants to take (a lot) your money and send you toward the stars in a big ole’ balloon. Designed to be an alternative to the fledgling rocket-based space tourism industry, the company’s “Spaceship Neptune” capsules will be packed with paying customers and then carried aloft to a height of approximately 100,000 feet.

It’s just one of several entries into the burgeoning space tourism industry, but whether the startup can pull off what it’s promising is anyone’s guess.

According to the company, the trip to space (well, technically the edge of space), will be relatively brief. Two hours will be spent ascending to the intended altitude and then another two hours will be spent returning to Earth. A window of two hours in between ascent and descent will offer travelers some truly breathtaking views of their home planet.

When the trip is over the capsule will come to rest in the Atlantic Ocean, and passengers will be picked up by a ship of some kind and then brought back to shore. It all sounds a little bit odd but then again there’s really no rules when it comes to space tourism… at least not yet.

So, how much will the privilege of not even really making it to space set you back? A mere $125,000 per person. Okay, so it’s not cheap, but it will be a one-of-a-kind experience in an aircraft that doesn’t have to “blast off” from anywhere. The balloons will be deployed from Kennedy Space Center, according to the startup, but they’re still working out the details and finding their way through the FAA’s red tape.

Space Perspective is hardly the only company vying for a slice of the space tourism pie. Blue Origin and SpaceX, among others, have already announced plans to send paying customers into space for brief trips that will cost a whole heck of a lot of cash. In some cases, tickets have already been pre-sold for flights that might not take place for several more years, if they take place at all.

It probably goes without saying, but space tourism will cater to the super-rich, at least for now. Sending things to space is expensive, and raking in a sizable return on the initial investment of rockets (or space balloons) means charging very high prices. At least the rest of us will get to see some pretty cool Instagram selfies, right?

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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