Aim for the Stars
“ The greatest human achievement since the taming of fire and the cultivation of food will be the permanent habitation of the stars ”
Many of us have dreamed of a bright future where humanity travels the solar system and beyond, inhabiting other planets and learning about the universe through scientific exploration. In fact, to assure the survival of humanity we will need to become an interplanetary species. In order to inspire and empower aspiring entrepreneurs to build innovations around this once-in-a-millennia opportunity, the Founder Institute is announcing the new "Star Fellow" program.
The Star Fellow program will provide fellowships, expert assistance, and investment opportunities to entrepreneurs planning to launch a startup focused on space or space-related technology. Starting on May 24th, 2017, the Founder Institute will offer free admission for the most qualified applicants working on a space-related business in any of our 150+ cities worldwide. These Founders will be supported by a specialized series of expert Mentors in the fields of space. They will also be supported by various commercial partners. Upon graduation from our program, they will be invited to pitch leading space investors, and they will join a series of Graduates already working in space.
The passion of entrepreneurs is needed in the realm of space, as this massive endeavor cannot be confined to governments and the military industrial complex. Pioneering entrepreneurs and visionaries have already proven the potential for private companies to achieve commercial success in the pursuit of space businesses. Whether it be Elon Musk with SpaceX or Will Marshall with Planet Labs, new and innovative space businesses are achieving success with funding, growth and impact.
Join us in the effort to commercialize space and space exploration.Apply to be a Star Fellow
To help launch 500 space and space-related technology companies by 2025, helping humanity to become a multi-planetary species.
Star Fellow MentorsMore Mentors
Managing Director, Silicon Valley Space Center
Sean is the Managing Director at Silicon Valley Space Center. He is a Senior Scientist and the author or co-author of 34 resear...
Co-Founder, Planet Labs
Will is a co-Founder of Planet Labs Inc where he leads science & development of advanced technologies and is responsible for th...
Founder & CEO, Viome
Naveen Jain is an entrepreneur and philanthropist driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges through innovation. He is the ...
Star Fellow InsightsMore Insights
Star Fellow PartnersMore Partners
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I participate in the program? Answer: To receive the Star Fellow distinction, apply to any Founder Institute program worldwide using this link and place the words, ‘Star Fellow,’ in the question about your passion. Also, please make sure to describe a space or space-related business that you are interested in pursuing in this field. If you are accepted into the program, then you will be a Star Fellow.
Question: How is the Star Fellow program different from the core Founder Institute program? Answer: Star Fellows participate in the core Founder Institute curriculum, since the steps needed to build an enduring business are largely similar no matter the industry. However, in order to assist with the unique challenges of developing a space-related business, Star Fellows will receive additional mentorship and support throughout the program, such as access to Star Fellow Mentors and other global Star Fellows. After the program, Star Fellows will also gain access to Investors and strategic partners to help their businesses grow.
Question: What are the additional benefits for Star Fellows? Answer: There are a variety of benefits to being a Star Fellow. First, you receive a free course fee to the Founder Institute program. Second, you will join a group of other Star Fellows from around the world with tools to share ideas, challenges and opportunities. Third, you will have access to specialized Mentors with domain experience in building successful space startups. Lastly, after the program you will have access to specialized partners that will help you with media, distribution and funding.
Question: When do I meet the Star Fellow Mentors? Answer: Star Fellows will meet normal business Mentors throughout the Founder Institute program. There is a roster of experienced Mentors for space-related businesses, which we call the Star Fellow Mentors, and your company idea will be sent to these Mentors about one third of the way through the program. Then, if there is match, the Founder Institute will help organize office hours and support from the Mentor that best matches your needs.
Question: Where are the Star Fellow Mentors and Investors located? Will I be meeting them in person? Answer: The Star Fellow Mentors and Investors are located all around the world. While some may be local, allowing you to meet face to face, you can expect to initially interact with Star Fellow Mentors and Investors through email, moving to phone calls or video chat later. You will have the opportunity to meet in person, if you are not local, at the semi-annual Founder Institute events.
Question: Will l have access to the Star Fellow Mentors even in the situation I am in the Founder Institute but am not be a Star Fellow? Answer: Star Fellow Mentors are interested in helping space and space-related businesses. It is possible that they will take an interest in your business if the business is neither space nor space-related, but the Founder Institute will not facilitate an introduction in that case.
Question: Will every session have a Mentor in the space or space-related field? Answer: No. Your local sessions will consist of Founders, CEOs, executives, and investors of fast-growth technology companies. Some may have experience in the space industry, but all will have experience in building technology companies.
Question: Will the core Founder Institute curriculum be valuable for my space-related company? Answer: Yes. In the earliest stages of developing a company, Founders face the same problems, need to make the same strategic decisions, and need to follow a similar company-building process, regardless of the industry. The Founder Institute curriculum is carefully crafted to help all launch stage companies succeed.
Question: How much does the program cost for a Star Fellow? Answer: The Founder Institute program is completely free for Star Fellows. The normal Course Fee to join the program varies by city, and you can learn more here.
Question: How many Star Fellows will there will be in each class? Answer: Founder Institute semesters typically have between 20 and 35 enrolled Founders, and we anticipate that a semester may have between 1 and 3 Star Fellows. Some semesters may not have any Star Fellows, since the popularity of space as an industry varies around the world.
Question: Are any of the space-related webinars hosted by the Founder Institute mandatory for Star Fellows? Answer: No. We encourage Founders to attend as many targeted industry events as possible, and the Star Fellow webinars will provide invaluable advice to space entrepreneurs.Apply to be a Star Fellow
Connect with FI about Star Fellow
The Founder Institute is looking for partners and organizations eager to help with the commercialization of space. If you are interested in helping with the Star Fellow program, or if you have quesitons, please contact us below.