Mandala Space Ventures Announces UK Startups for Space Accelerator Program

11th Jul 2024
Mandala Space Ventures Announces UK Startups for Space Accelerator Program

Well-known Californian venture studio and incubator Mandala Space Ventures has announced the selection of nine UK-based startups for its accelerator program, which will be funded by the UK Space Agency this autumn.

Program Duration and Format

The eight-week virtual program will commence on September 3, 2024, and culminate in an in-person investor pitch day at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. 

Leon Alkalai, the founder and CEO of Mandala Space Ventures, highlighted the program’s goal to create a “transatlantic portal for great ideas from the U.K.” The initiative is designed to prime these startups for venture capital opportunities and facilitate their entry into the U.S. market.

Selection Process

Nine startups were chosen from a competitive pool of 42 proposals. Alkalai, who founded Mandala Space Ventures three years ago after retiring as a Technical Fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), highlighted the high quality of the applicants.

Program Features

Participants in the program will gain networking opportunities with potential investors and mentors from JPL, encouraging connections to advance their ventures.

The accelerator is specifically tailored to support early-stage U.K. space ventures, providing guidance, resources, and exposure to the U.S. space industry.

UK Space Agency Pilot Program

The SoCal-UK Space Accelerator is one of four accelerators announced by the UK Space Agency in February as part of a pilot program with funding up to £500,000 ($641,000).

Mandala recently completed a similar accelerator program for the Canadian Space Agency. Additionally, Alkalai mentioned that Mandala is seeking potential investors to raise $50 million for its second investment fund.

Mandala’s Investment History

Mandala secured $16 million for its initial fund three years ago and has since invested in 10 enterprises, such as rocket motor manufacturer Adranos, which was acquired last year by Anduril Industries, a U.S. defense contractor. 

Another significant investment is Lynk Global, which is currently undergoing a merger with Slam Corp, a publicly traded shell company, in a transaction that values Lynk Global at $800 million. As part of the accelerator program, Mandala plans to connect the SoCal-UK Space Accelerator cohort with its venture capital network in Southern California, aiming for further investment prospects. A pitch day is set for October 25, 2024.

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