“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”– Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, CEO, Chairman Apple Inc.
The third on-week of the On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM) Accelerator proved to be incredibly informative thanks to each of the subject matter experts who donated their time to speak with the cohort. The week kicked off with a briefing about business development by Adam Velie, Opportunity Pipeline Manager at Booz Allen Hamilton, the Corporate Sponsor for the OSAM Accelerator. When asked why he thinks that past performance is the most important part of business development, Adam stated, “Any mistake you make in a proposal can be fixed in the next proposal. Screw up pricing? Fix it next time. Poor technical volume? Fix it next time. The only thing that can’t be fixed is when a company fails to deliver on existing contracts. The negative feedback and reputation damage cannot be fixed in the next bid. The negative feedback and reputation damage stays with the company for the long term…it will be an anchor around the neck of all future bids.” The OSAM cohort then had the opportunity to hear a briefing about what Microsoft is doing in space from Gregg Walsh, Business Development Manager for the Defense Space Business at Microsoft. Gregg has served as a Sherpa for the Catalyst Accelerator since the very beginning and has made a great impact on the program. He offered a few pieces of advice to the small business community by stating, “1. Success is built on partnerships. No one does this alone. Building your networks and collaboration is the best way to achieve success. 2. Don’t forget to spend as much time shaping with partners as you do the government. 3. Don’t just fish in the SBIRs pond, the big fish aren’t there”.
The Catalyst Accelerator then hosted a virtual alumni networking luncheon. This was an opportunity for all the Catalyst Accelerator alumni companies to collaborate with one another, meet the incredible companies within the OSAM cohort, and talk about various lessons learned. Each of the companies introduced themselves and exchanged contact information to foster further connections. Shane Deichman served as a Sherpa during the Data Fusion cohort. Ironically, he now works as a Strategist for the company that he was a Sherpa for, Caliola Engineering! When the alumni companies were asked to name one thing that they know now that they wish you knew during accelerator, several of them had great responses. Tim McNally from Corlina Incorporated mentioned, “The Catalyst Accelerator was like going to school but it’s what you do with that education afterwards that counts. You are learning all the time.” Piggybacking off that statement, Cameo Lance from Rhea Space Activity explained the important of studying with your fellow cohort companies because it’s better than studying alone. “Go to your fellow cohort companies and Sherpas during your time in the Accelerator and solidify those connections while you’re there”, she explained.
The week wrapped up with briefings from a few additional subject matter experts including Bo Naasz, an Aerospace Engineer at NASA. Bo gave a wonderful overview on how NASA is related to the OSAM initiative. Thank you to each of the speakers who donated their time to speak during the third on-week of the On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing Accelerator.