Epsilon3’s space industry OS powers more than launches as it brings in $15 million in new funding – TechCrunch

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The space industry is evolving, as are the tools it uses; Epsilon3 is a startup trying to make launches, satellite design, rocket manufacturing and other complex processes easier and more collaborative. The company found its tools had uses beyond space, and growing traction across the board led to a new $15 million investment.

Not too long ago, Epsilon3 raised its $2.8 million funding round, having been founded in early 2021 by SpaceX veteran Laura Crabtree, Epirus’ Max Mednik and former Googler Aaron Sullivan. The idea is simple but difficult to realize: to manufacture an operating system for the modern space industry.

Companies working to create new satellites, rocket parts, etc. often use software from a long time ago because, like the use of “flight-tested” hardware, the industry is in some ways very technologically conservative. If it’s not broken, don’t update it. But while it worked to a point, these legacy tools fall short of the needs of fast-moving startups, and that’s who Epsilon3 is for.

To be clear, this is not an alternative to Windows or macOS, but rather suites of software tools that have been used for decades to design, approve, implement and track things like iterative part design. . It tends to involve a lot of data, multiple parties checking everything multiple times, and ultimately a kind of stew of interconnected (or totally disconnected) platforms old and new.

Since January, the company has seen growth not just in the space industry, but in adjacent and even completely unrelated sectors, suggesting that there is a real thirst for improvement here.

On the space side, the company noted (with some surprise) that the software has been involved in a lot of recent orbital activity. “We’ve looked at launches year-to-date, and 20% of those teams are using Epsilon3,” Mednik said. Considering the company only started operations last year and got its seed in January, that’s impressive.

But you might be wondering why something suitable for building satellites is good for fintech or other enterprise-type customers.

“It was really surprising for us – basically they’re both complicated,” Mednik explained. “It comes down to the fact that even business workflows and processes often involve multiple departments, multiple people giving approvals, data exchanges between multiple people, and multiple stages that work goes through. There are written procedures for these things, and when they are safety or mission critical, they should be followed closely, as with compliance. And they often use tools like a wiki or a confluence or even just a Google Doc; that’s exactly the kind of thing Epsilon3 can help with – it’s not just about testing a new engine, but getting a new vendor up and running.

“We are still very focused on the space industry and adjacent space – launch, satellite operations, testing – and also on what adjacent industries might also need, like automotive, fusion, energies renewables and E-VTOL,” said Crabtree. “But if other companies like fintech want to come forward and use our software, that’s fine.”

They pointed out that their non-space customers are still very much in the minority, as tools continue to be built with launch, orbit and aerospace in mind.

A screenshot of the Epsilon3 interface. Picture credits: Epsilon3

They recently added a few features – one in particular that was highly requested is the ability to pull live data from other databases that cannot be integrated otherwise. Thus, a standards or inventory database can be sent whenever needed to tell a person or workflow if they have enough stock to cover a manufacturing plan. Epsilon3 also works offline now, syncing when you have a connection again – useful when testing in the New Mexico desert. And data from another source (like a satellite) can now trigger workflows within the operating system, “if this then that” style.

Features are mostly driven by feedback, Crabtree said: “We listen to what our customers want – we have a very long list of requests, but we also have our own vision for the product.”

Although the company has targeted startups and small businesses, this is just the start of its ambitions.

“We have just started supporting our first government client, the 45th in Cape Town,” said Crabtree (i.e. 45th Space Wing in Cape Canaveral). “We would like to expand to some of the primes and also other startups – we were formulated to support startups.”

The $15 million in funding should help speed things up. The round was led by Lux Capital, with participation from Moore Strategic Ventures, Y Combinator (of which Epsilon3 is a graduate) and MaC Venture Capital.

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