My favourite moonshot startups

Photo by Edvin Richardson on

I for one am not for listicles. But I couldn’t resist this time. This is a list of startups attempting to do some really outlandish stuff – rethinking solutions ground-up or challenging industries/ideas that haven’t changed for decades. Thinking of calling them ‘Musk-type Startups’ (better name suggestions welcome).

Here we go…

1. Spinlaunch, USA

Their thesis is that rockets are an inefficient way to send things into space (burning fuel, high cost etc). Using centrifugal force is a better way. So spin stuff at a fast enough pace to reach escape velocity & launch into space.

2. Boom, USA

Air travel hasn’t seen major innovation (regards to speed) in decades. Boom wants to bring supersonic flight to civil aviation. Few of the longest routes in the world will be cut short by ~50% with Boom (LA – Sydney from 14:30h to 8h).

3. Zoox, USA

Everyone is trying to build self-drive cars by adding software over existing cars. Zoox believes autonomous cars need to be built ground-up for new capabilities (eg: their car drives either way since there is no driver). Acquired by Amazon in Jun 2020.

4. Culdesac, USA

They’re building what they call a 5-minute city, from scratch. All needs (grocery, coworking, cafe, etc) will be a 5 minute walk from home. No cars in the city. Only walking, e-bikes and light rail.

5. Heliogen, USA

They use 100s of computer-controlled mirrors to amplify sunlight to generate heat in range of 1000c to 1500c. This can be used to make cement, steel, etc or to produce hydrogen which can be used for transport, homes, etc

6. CubeSat, Israel

Satellites are too big and costly. CubeSat wants to build satellites that will fit on your palm using smartphone tech. They’ll be at a price that schools and individual hobbyists can buy. Best part – it’s being built by a 19y old.

I published this post first as a Twitter thread here.