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Committed to Building the Future


Total Posts: 1

Joined 2013-01-11


Dear Arnold

Found your site while thinking about the barriers that I face in building a business and thought about you and what you have done to build your success.  I have an interesting perspective on you as I met you when I was 16 years old when you were working on the movie “Stay Hungry”.  I was one of the kids that met you when you guys were filming some of the water skiing scenes outside of Birmingham Alabama.  To be honest we were more interested in Sally Fields and her glorious attributes! 

In my life I have a total commitment to the proposition that the economic development of space is the key to our future here on the Earth. The problem is that there is huge step that you have to get over in order to make true breakthroughs.  I have spent the last 25 years in developing my intellectual property (I have two patents).  I have written a mildly successful book (Moonrush), and have contributed to many others.  I have worked directly with department of defense think tanks and am well respected in my field.  I am not one of these blue sky thinkers that think that I can start a company mining the Moon though I do write about this.  The burning question is, how do we minimize the financial risk of an enterprise to the point where the risk/reward factor is attractive to the investment community.

The problem is this.  If I have a space business that can be very profitable yet requires substantial capital to build the manufacturing and engineering groups, on the order of $50 million dollars, how do we go from where we are now, which is a very small company, to convince an investor to take that kind of risk.  Much of the advice that I am getting at this time is to scale back and find a small space project, requiring only single digit millions which is easier to risk finance.  I understand and agree with this premise yet making a commercial space business profitable with only this level of funding is incredibly difficult.

We have customers for the larger systems that require the larger investment that would not be there for the smaller systems.  I am extremely well connected in the NASA and DoD worlds and know what they want and I know that I have the right products to address that market.  However, this puts me into a vicious circle which is that If I can get the money I have the customers, but the customers (which are both commercial and government customers), require that I have the money before they can commit to being a customer. 

I have been working to break this circle for over a decade.  We had it cracked once with an individual investor that was a billionaire from the telecommunications industry.  However, after our project was well on the way to working, with signed customers and support from European and American companies, he was arrested for being the largest tax cheat in U.S. history.

I know that when you came over here to the U.S. you had your brains and your brawn and a commitment to being successful.  Yours is a great bootstrapping story.  The difficulty today is that the investment community is very reticent to invest in anything right now and it looks like the difficult environment will continue for quite some time.  I know what when you started in the 70’s the investment environment was not good but it improved obviously during the Reagan era in the 1980’s. 

I have been committed to this for a long time.  I left my home in Alabama in 1981, drove to California, got a job in the computer industry and lived in my car for six months until I could afford a place to live.  I was very successful in that industry but my heart and brain has always been focused on space.  I left a successful career in computers at 27 years old to go back to school and obtain my engineering physics degree.  During that time I was able to work on a lot of space projects and built and flew payloads on the Space Shuttle and raised $6.5 million to build and fly a satellite as a student project.  I know what it takes to make something successful. 

There are days I want to give up on this dream that I know will work because I have not been able to break the vicious circle.  When I design things I first do them in my head and then when they are built they are very close to what I thought about.  I can see in my head when something will work and I know that my space business will work.  I guess I am writing this to your forum as much as catharsis as it is to find a solution.  I know that one is out there and I would love to hear your thoughts (I have been watching your videos) on what it takes to break through what seems to be an insurmountable barrier.