GOLDEN, Colo., -- August 28, 2007 -- The Eighth Continent Project, the world's most comprehensive program to integrate space technology and resources into the global economy, was launched here today at the Colorado School of Mines Center for Space Resources.
"For the first time, government, industry and academia have joined forces with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to forge the next frontier in commercializing space technology and resources," said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. "With our region's unique cluster of businesses, IT infrastructure, research institutions and aerospace workforce, the Eighth Continent Project will position Colorado at the vortex of 'Space 2.0.'"
"'Space 1.0' was astronauts, rocket ships and billion-dollar government projects. 'Space 2.0' is venture-backed entrepreneurs starting new companies with new technologies," said Burke Fort, Eighth Continent Project director. "Eighth Continent will bridge the gap between existing technologies and their commercialization through the industry's first research hub, incubator, venture fund and international chamber of commerce."
Initial founding partners and sponsors include: DigitalGlobe, the Keiretsu Forum, CTEK, Broadreach, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, Townsend & Townsend & Crew, the Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Deming Center.
"DigitalGlobe was one of the world's first 'Space 2.0' companies that now provides spatial content to thousands of businesses and mass consumer markets," said Chuck Herring, director of corporate communications for DigitalGlobe. "With the Eighth Continent Project, the time has come to bring space down to earth, and to incubate and fund the industries of the future."
"Angel investors around the world are sharing ideas and content, and we're always looking for dealflow into new markets," said Steve Murchie, Denver chapter president of the Keiretsu Forum, one of the largest angel investor networks in the world. "Space commerce, once the realm of big government, is now being driven by entrepreneurs. We want to help the market define new valuation criteria, develop dealflow pipelines, and bring new technology to the marketplace through Eighth Continent."
"More entrepreneurs are getting involved and taking risks in space commerce," said Darin Gibby, managing partner of the Denver office of the intellectual property law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew. "As with any industry that evolves and matures, the level of legal protection for intellectual property increases as well. We see the Eighth Continent Project as a prime driver of a dynamic, new marketplace that will require innovative legal solutions."
"The immediate terrestrial application of space technologies, and their longer-term space applications, can make for a compelling long-term investment with short-term and significant revenue streams," said Gary Held, CTEK president. "The Eighth Continent Project is a 'first of its kind' and CTEK is thrilled to be a founding partner and to bring our angel and venture investing, technology transfer, and incubator experience to bear."
"With our workforce, research community and entrepreneurial culture, we believe Colorado can be the next Silicon Valley of space commerce," said Dr. Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Colorado School of Mines Center for Space Resources, where Eighth Continent will be headquartered. "With our expertise in mining, renewable energy, engineering, math, computer sciences, robotics, and materials research, it makes sense to base our efforts at the School of Mines."
"With entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Paul Allen and Richard Branson now doing what only NASA would dare, it's time for the "Web 2.0" entrepreneurial community to start defining and driving "Space 2.0," said Fort.
About the Eighth Continent
Based out of Golden, Colorado, the Colorado School of Mines' Eighth Continent Project is the world's most comprehensive effort to integrate space technology and resources into the global economy. Eighth Continent provides the infrastructure and resources to solve a wide range of challenges from global warming to renewable energy development. Located in Colorado, home of the most concentrated entrepreneurial, investor and aerospace talent in the world, Eighth Continent brings space down to earth with the industry's first trade association, incubator, venture fund and research hub, all working together to develop the next generation of space business ventures.
Founded in 1874, Colorado School of Mines was established to serve the needs of the local mining industry. Today, the School has an international reputation for excellence in both engineering education and the applied sciences with special expertise in the development and stewardship of the Earth's resources.
Contact: Karen Gilbert, 303-273-3541 Karen.Gilbert@is.mines.edu