As the world's leading SpaceTech focused venture fund, we often get asked about what we look for in early-stage companies - because space and drone enabled businesses must be fundamentally different from start-ups in other sectors, right? In our experience, having now seen a large number of investment opportunities over the last year, such an assumption doesn’t hold. In fact, the fundamental judgments we make on whether a satellite or drone enabled business is interesting to us or not, are the very same as any other tech sector – put simply, is this product/service solving a significant problem for potential customers? What’s the evidence that someone needs and wants that product/service? Is this the right team to execute on the market opportunity?
UK venture capital firm MMC Ventures has gone to the significant effort of mapping out the UK AI landscape and as I was reading their report (they have updated it since), the paragraph further below stood out to me the most. Start-ups that bring deep domain expertise, develop proprietary datasets and analytics, and focus on setting up the business to scale to a range of verticals over time (and hire the best people!), have an opportunity to build a robust and defensible position amongst the competition. We see plenty of businesses that have one or two of these elements, but crucially the businesses we have invested in to date, we believe, have the ability and opportunity to exploit all of these elements. We’re looking forward to continuing to find the best-of-breed start-ups that can demonstrate to us their potential to win out in an increasingly competitive spacetech and dronetech market.
the strongest AI companies can develop a competitive moat by: bringing deep domain expertise to bear in a complex domain; developing proprietary algorithms; creating a network effect around data by leveraging non-public data sets; and by securing adequate capital to build a high quality machine learning team and go-to-market resources.