There are multiple strategic and financial issues impacting private and public equity and debt capital investments across the rapidly evolving smallsat industry. Our panel will discuss the investment community’s approach to the opportunities and challenges in the pursuit of appropriate returns on invested capital.
A corporate partner and satellite practice co-head, Steve Kaufman uses industry knowledge and versatility to negotiate and close many types of deals globally.
For 18 of his 30 years at the firm, Steve served as outside general counsel for satellite clients, leading strategic joint ventures, “bet-the-company” contracts, financings, and M&A.
What Steve does best: understanding complex business issues and translating them into legal documents. If a client can describe something, Steve can draft it. Working from complicated to simple, he has many times reduced a lengthy contract into a few pages of bullet points, showing the client what it needs and how to obtain it. He has even written a business and financing model for parties in the form of an agreement. Many clients comment that the business guidance from Steve is as valuable as the legal advice.
Steve relies on his familiarity with issues common to satellite and communications companies to give him an edge in negotiations. This experience produces extra benefits when Steve deals with specialized satellite contract terms, targeted warranties, creative covenants, use of insurance to close gaps, license and spectrum issues, and even finance and accounting matters. According to Chambers Steve Kaufman is “a real authority and somebody who will always know the answer.”
In advising clients, Steve emphasizes practicality, striving to achieve the client’s business objectives for the transaction, whether economic, risk reduction, regulatory/compliance, or transaction speed. This carries over into deal management as well as negotiations, where he willingly takes the lead. Steve and satellite practice co-head Randy Segal are regulars at the satellite conferences, making connections among clients and even adverse parties. He is listed in Chambers, Super Lawyers, and Legal 500.Christian Dommell
Christian Dommell is the Principal Strategist for Space & Connectivity at Boeing HorizonX. Christian works across Boeing, customers, non-traditional partners, and startups to identify and test new technologies and business models bridging land, air, sea, and space.
Previously, Christian led small satellite strategy and new business in Boeing Phantom Works, culminating in the acquisition and integration of Millennium Space Systems in 2018. He has experience as a lead systems engineer for advanced development programs, with domain expertise in remote sensing, communications, agile software and systems engineering, and lightweight structures. An advocate and resource for improved STEAM education, Christian uses his personal passion for space and exploration to inspire thousands of students to ask questions, solve problems and think creatively.Shahin Farshchi
Shahin empowers visionary founders aiming to accelerate humanity and
build a fantastic future through feats of engineering. He built brain-machine interfaces for his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, hybrids at General Motors, founded a wireless vital sign monitoring company, and as a
Partner at Lux has funded chip (Nervana), rocket (Relativity), satellite
(Planet), robotics (Covariant.ai), and driverless car (Zoox) companies. Lux is a $2.4B VC that invests in tomorrow’s transformational companies
across healthcare and technology.
Tom Gillespie serves as a Partner on In-Q-Tel’s Investment Team and as Investment Lead for In-Q-Tel’s Field Technologies Practice, where he is responsible for identifying technologies that address challenges faced by the Intelligence Community. He is the Investment Team partner associated with IQT’s commercial space initiative, CosmiQ Works, and he has led a number of IQT’s investments in commercial space ventures, including launch vehicles, small satellite constellations, and space situational awareness. In addition, he has led IQT investments in the areas of robotics, materials, power sources, and autonomous systems, as well as several analytics investments.
Prior to IQT, Gillespie was a Strategy Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, serving clients in the financial services, aerospace, and government (national security and defense) sectors. Previously, he co-founded LaunchFuel, a venture commercialization firm that created, developed, and advised early-stage technology businesses; Gillespie also directed numerous business and technology strategy projects with Global 2000 clients for AT&T Solutions. Earlier experience includes positions in international privatization and the United States Congress, where he focused on financial services, telecommunications, space, and foreign affairs issue areas.
Gillespie earned a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.Tess Hatch
Tess is an investor at Bessemer Venture Partners primarily focused on frontier tech, specifically commercial space, drones, and autonomous vehicles. She currently serves as board director for Phantom Auto and board observer for Impossible Aerospace, Iris Automation, Rocket Lab, Spire, Velo3D, and others. Previously, she was a mission manager at SpaceX where she worked with the government on integrating its payloads with the Falcon9 rocket. Tess earned a Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Stanford. She is passionate about space exploration and imagines a future where we all travel to space. She hopes to make the trip herself soon.John Stack
John Stack, Managing Director, Head of Aerospace & Defense Investment Banking (US), has 25 years’ global strategy, business development and M&A experience focusing on publicly-held and private companies.
Mr. Stack previously was VP, Strategy & Business Development and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Cessna Aircraft Company, where he led the Columbia Aircraft acquisition. Prior to that, he was Director, Strategy Development & International at Textron, where he helped reshape the company’s business portfolio and worked with company presidents on strategic plans, operational challenges and growth. During his career, he has led project, M&A and joint venture teams in more than 15 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and he lived in Switzerland for more than four years.
Mr. Stack holds a degree in Business Administration from Bryant University and an MBA from Fordham University. He is a commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He also is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and proficient in French.