Exclusive interview for SPINOFF.COM with Mr. Ron Stahl, Quantum Space Products, CEO, about Mach Effect derived technologies, which can make space travel a safe, quick, convenient and affordable process
Quantum Space Products is working to develop technologies that represent a leap forward in the fields of communication, propulsion, and remote sensing by pushing the edges of commercialized materials science. From miniaturized UHF antenna 1/200th the size of existing systems to world-changing electronic propulsion systems, QSP is expanding the boundaries of scientific knowledge to develop the products today, that will be the enablers of tomorrow.
SOC: Dear Mr. Ron Stahl, we are so grateful for your generosity this day in spending time speaking with us and sharing your insights about your Mach Effect derived technologies. Our investors and we would like to learn more about a vast experience of academic endeavours and professional background.
Mr. Stahl: Quantum Space Products is a team of scientific specialists, engineers, and business people. This includes Ph.D.’s in Physics, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, people with hands-on experience with Mach Effect design, product management, and startup company experience, and other very valuable skills such as military procurement experience and advanced materials research management. You can learn much more about us on our web page under the 'Team' tab, but I can talk about myself a little more here.
First, I would like to give credit to the fact that the Mach Effect theory which our thruster is based upon came from the work of Dr. James F. Woodward at Cal State Fullerton. Dr. Woodward earned his Ph.D. in the history of gravity physics at the University of Denver in 1972, taught General Relativity at Cal State Fullerton for many years and to this day maintains a technical work group dedicated to Mach Effect Thruster research.
I was a part of that group for seven years and functioned in dozens of roles. My studies in the philosophy of science, philosophy of technology and epistemology are what enabled me to contribute to the research in order to improve the scientific test methods and protocols. My background in fabrication is what also allowed me to physically construct the series of test thrusters that eventually led the work at Fullerton away from the Mach Lorentz Thruster concept and back to the earlier, more fruitful Mach Effect Thruster line of work.
I have a deep understanding of the various approaches to this technology because I’ve spent years analyzing them to determine which work, which don’t and why. I’ve identified those with the highest potential for commercialization based upon thrust efficiency scaling, stability, robustness and commercial utility. Modest increases in Mach Effect Thruster performance is our baseline, but pathways to exponential increases open up some astonishing possibilities for what we can do. It’s really my role to keep us focused on scientific protocols and best practices, avoiding many of the pitfalls I’ve already seen, and navigate the development pathway to commercial products.
It was actually during my work in trying to optimize the various components of Mach Effect design that I discovered the unique material we will be using in not only our thruster but in our revolutionary antenna products as well. This discovery was a very pleasant surprise and is now resulting in a very lucrative, additional line of business. I’m quite excited about what else we will discover along the way as we really are pushing out the boundaries of applied physics here.
SOC: Considering your tremendous experience, we would like to know whether you had other projects? Could you please share the story of their creation and success.
Mr. Stahl: Several of our management team and advisors have previously brought products to market, which in many cases is why they are our advisors. QSP is new, however, and we won’t be filing for our first patents at least until June. When I first started gathering the team, I knew we needed world-class researchers and developers with very broad experience, not just in creating new technology, but who had been successful in bringing those technologies to market.
This is why we have such a great team gathered of both scientists and experienced entrepreneurs. We have Brian who has brought five products lines to market, Tobias who has started his own cutting-edge company, Nembo who has been involved in this research even longer than I have, Juan, who is bringing the very latest tools and skills to the team with his newly minted PhD, Eric who has been involved in the emergent technology field for most of a decade, Mohammed who has been responsible for some of the most detailed, refined and fruitful research in his field, David, who is specialized in testing products as they enter the market, and William who brings decades of expertise to all the power system development we do, albeit that stuff is often classified and we can’t talk about it. Principally though, the background and experience of Dr. John Magno are vital to us delivering products to the marketplace on time and on budget. John has done this repeatedly, with more than a score of patents and half dozen successful products lines in special materials, photonics, lasers, OLEDs, LEDs, and more. We’re relying on John to help bring our antennas to market with surprising speed, with several other products quickly after.
SOC: It is so interesting to know more about the process of your technology creation. Please tell on which stage of commercialization your technology currently is? Was your project funded by any state financing or grants? Has it already received any honors or awards?
Mr. Stahl: All of our work, both antenna and thruster, is properly considered in the development stage. There is always new research to do in order to improve existing products, but we’re very focused on developing and bringing our disruptive technologies to market as quickly as possible. Presently we have obtained a clear pathway to TRL 7 with our antennas and hope to see them flying on orbit before the end of this year. Our first thruster demonstration is anticipated for 2019.
We have consciously decided not to pursue government grant funding at this time, because of the potential downside to our intellectual property rights attached to such grants. We will be pursuing some government funds in the future, but those projects are based upon technologies owned by others that we intend to leverage, and turn into new products, and this doesn’t therefore compromise our long-term prospects through accepting such funding.
QSP is not publishing the details of our technology publicly, nor seeking any awards as this could adversely affect our first-to-market advantage, as well as our lead over the competition that is sure to follow. However, the academic team at Fullerton, which is not pursuing commercialization, and whose members we remain in contact with; have recently won a Phase II NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) award, which clearly demonstrates how seriously NASA and the US federal government consider this work. For NASA to award phase II grant funding is a big deal, and says a lot about the state of Mach Effect research.
SOC: In the formation of every scientific spinoff, one of the most important keys to success is the team. For many potential investors, the management team is the most important element in deciding whether to invest in it or not. Could you please share some information about the team members who supported you and the project? What are the key additions to the team needed in the short term?
Mr. Stahl: It has taken years to assemble the world-class team of managers and experts that we have, and I think we have the perfect balance of technical know-how and startup company frugality to speed through our first couple sets of business milestones.
We’re delighted to have Dr. John Magno leading our technical staff. John personally combines the depth of understanding of a true Ph.D. physicist, with the practical nuts and bolts attitude necessary to get things done. He understands the value in any intellectual property so can apply his vision of what can create financial rewards for the company, but he also understands that IPs hold little value until someone actually executes and delivers a product. This is something John has done many times over the years. John knows what it is like to work with highly confidential and classified projects, and brings his Six Sigma experience to the creation of production systems. His technical background is invaluable for us since we intend to build a company rather than just offer a product, and he is the guy we know can navigate from technical evaluation through the development and into production.
Steven Jorgenson brings an astonishing wealth of background to the management team, based upon many years of space advocacy and financing, as an entrepreneur, as an aerospace investor, and as an investment manager. Steven is regularly sought by various space organizations as a conference speaker and collaborative partner because of the breadth of his background, and he provides us with the industry-specific business perspective necessary to make good business decisions. It’s often astonishing to me how Steven seems to understand everything related to finance. He’s a creative thinker and able to pivot to the needs of the moment, but also a disciplined and experienced financier who understands what creates real long-term value. He has managed investor money successfully as Portfolio Manager for various funds for almost two decades, and from our many conversations, I know for a fact that he takes his responsibility to investors very, very seriously.
Bill Thornton is another great member of our core team. As Director of Air, Space and Information Operations for Air Force Material Command he had responsibility for multi-billion dollar budgets, and management of more than 80,000 military and civilian personnel. That’s very much like running one of the world’s largest corporations. Bill was also Commander of Edwards Air Force base with its 5,500 civil service, contractors, and military personnel. He was required to make earnings (reimbursable expenses) targets and compete with other test centers both inside DoD and commercially for business. That resulted in continuous improvements in process, financial tracking and project management. Bill is also an Air Force Test Pilot and former Test Wing Commander – so you know he’s no stranger to making decisions under stress.
In part, Bill is the result of some of the world’s best leadership and administrative training, but in part, he is also what comes from training in the cockpit as a test pilot and trainer of other test pilots. He’s accustomed to finding what is possible and what is not, and holding people’s feet to the fire to keep them centered and sensible. Bill is also an Adjunct Fellow with RAND Corp and was appointed by the U.S. President as a White House Fellow in 2002. The White House Fellow’s program identifies ~12 people mid-career people from around the country as having outstanding success in their career thus far and puts them into what is considered the nation’s premier leadership program. I learn from Bill every time we meet, and I suspect Steven and John do as well. We’re very fortunate to have him as a co-Founder, COO in charge of company operations, and Board Member. Someday I hope someone will write a book about Bills’ accomplishments since they’re too many to list here.
My own background is a bit uncommon, but the bottom line is that I’m a philosopher. My formal training in epistemology gives me a rare resource to draw upon for identifying how others in our field have gone wrong and how we can choose the best paths forward in emergent and disruptive technologies. My training in philosophy of science gives me insights into certain technical aspects of the work that often supplements the training our engineers received - which is why I was able to contribute to the improvements in methods and protocols at Cal State Fullerton. I’ve also acted as an expert consultant to other organizations, helping them to understand the potential feasibility of various advanced propulsion system concepts. My training in philosophy of technology is a very rare skill set and is the only formal training I can think of for anyone who wants to consider them self a 'futurist'. That training teaches us to understand not just how attitudes create opportunities, but how to make the best of the opportunities that arise through informed analysis and judgment of any technology that proposes to be disruptive.
I’m also very comfortable in the lab/workshop. I grew up in a very hands-on, heavy machinery/transportation family business from the time I was about nine years old, and I have a lot of experience in fabrication. I’ve expanded this over the years to include both very advanced, and oft-times arcane techniques we’ll be applying in creating prototypes. It’s not enough to have a great design—you also have to know what it takes to actually build that thing, and I do.
SOC: It is not a secret that the development of a new technology and its subsequent commercialization presupposes some problem and addresses unmet needs. Respectively, what problem did you intend to solve by creating your technology? What results did you plan to achieve?
Mr. Stahl: The biggest problem in the space industry is still propulsion. Traveling in space is not safe, quick, convenient nor affordable. The reason for this is that to move anything you need to push off of something else. Since there is nothing obvious in space to push off of, everyone currently carries propellant and pushes it out the back of a rocket to move forward, but carrying propellant faces an inevitable rule of diminishing returns. The faster or father you want to go, the larger the supply of propellant needed, and the more propellant you need just to move the propellant itself. We sidestep this enormous propellant problem by pushing off the gravity field of the universe - what Einstein calls 'the fabric of space-time'. We thus don’t require propellant. Eventually, our Mach Effect Thrusters should make traditional propellant based systems obsolete, and make space travel the safe, quick, convenient and affordable process that futurists have been dreaming about. They just didn’t have a technical pathway to achieve this until now.
We’ve also discovered that one of the proprietary materials we will be using to build practical Mach Effect technology, or what we can call 'gravinertial' technology; has some additional uses in many UHF antenna applications. So although we didn’t start out to address an antenna problem, we expect to have an antenna product within just a few months that can greatly reduce that size, power usage, and associated costs of many radar and communications systems. We believe this will result in a substantial expansion of what is possible in mobile communications systems such as are found in aircraft, drones, and spacecraft. This also creates an additional business line for our company. This is a very exciting use case discovery for our company and highlights the potential for many more additional discoveries and product spinoffs we’re likely to discover along the way to commercializing the Mach Effect.
SOC: The problem which you targeted to solve was actual before. Probably someone has already tried to solve it. Is it right? Understanding the unique selling points from the investor's side could make the technology № 1 for them. What are the unique selling points of your technology and fundamental difference from other technologies that tried to solve this problem before you?
Mr. Stahl: Certainly there have been many attempts to miniaturize antennas for both radar and communications and the Dielectric Resonator Antenna is amongst the best of these attempts. Fact is though, a DRA is only as good as the dielectric material used, and no one has ever fielded any antenna that is able to do what our antennas can do. If there’s an exception to this sweeping generalization, it is in some classified project the public has never known anything about, but given the response in the aerospace community to what we have to offer so far, I doubt there has ever been anything remotely like what we intend. We can take antennas that would normally be a meter long, and have them function better than any current solution, but which with our materials are just 5 mm long! This means we can build whole new applications for radar and communications which no one has previously thought possible. This will disrupt both the existing radar and communications industries, and also spur new growth.
QSP’s unique selling proposition with regard to the thruster is that we (1) have exclusive access to this same special material used in our antennas, which will enable us to scale the thrust efficiency of the Mach Effect Thruster perhaps exponentially, and (2) we have identified what we believe to be the best engineering pathways for achieving the best results. We should be able to take the tiny lab thrusts observed at the four research labs around the world and create several orders of magnitude more force with the same amount of electrical power.
If you compare this nascent technology against anything else in the current satellite propulsion field you can quickly see our clear advantages. The world’s best ion engines and Hall thrusters still need propellant, and often when a satellite reaches its forced retirement, it is because it ran out of propellant. That’s not something that can happen with our systems. Because we don’t use propellant, it also allows satellites that use our systems to do something unique – they can operate at a high level of thrust for extended periods of time. Traditionally you would have to choose either one or the other, but with METs you can get both.
We also have the potential of achieving what we call the 'one G solution', which is to say, we could accelerate a spacecraft at the equivalent of one Earth gee (9.8 m/s) for indefinite periods of time. A 'one G solution' craft would move faster and faster continuously the first half of the way toward its goal, then decelerate an one G the second half of the way. This is only feasible with a propellant-free propulsion system and would lead to the achievement of some astonishingly quick travel times. Apollo took four days to reach the Moon using its traditional boost and glide rocket method. A one G solution Mach Effect Thruster spacecraft should be able to make this same trip in five hours. The fastest rocket solution thus far proposed for astronauts to reach Mars entails a journey each way of at least seven months. We should be able to do this with METs in just two days. This is how we solve the propulsion problem.
SOC: In order to understand the peculiarities of this particular spinoff our investors always ask what is the investment structure of the company? Do you still own the controlling stake in your spinoff?
Mr. Stahl: Yes, the founders are anticipated to retain control of QSP through this funding round. We anticipate this will continue through future funding rounds as well since we will have early revenue stream potential from our antenna sales. We do expect another equity-based funding round after the current one, but we very well may be able to finance future capital needs beyond that point through profitable product sales. All of the IP we generate will be solely owned by our company, and since we’re a corporation, by our shareholders.
SOC: We wonder what is the actual addressable market currently for your invention and what are the current competitors there? Could you please share with us the results of the market studies, if there are any? What might be the barriers to entry?
Mr. Stahl: We expect our antenna technology to take a noticeable share of the $2 billion satellite antenna market, the $14 billion military radar market, and the $23 billion military communications market. Just how much of a share will depend on several different factors, but our product-specific analysis indicates we can achieve product sales of several million dollars quite quickly, and with plenty of additional upsides. There is a high likelihood that our antennas will even expand the market numbers directly through the creation of new applications. Just to be safe though, let’s be conservative and say we expect to see several million dollars of annualized antenna revenues alone by the end of 2019.
Our thruster product will be highly disruptive to the $21 billion satellite propulsion market, and will potentially create even larger additional markets. If you look at the level of interest and investment in space, and the potential use cases for a technology such as ours--it appears highly likely that a trillion+ dollar market will emerge if and when the problems surrounding current propulsion issues are addressed. It would be very difficult for existing companies to compete on a cost basis with the simple math of propellant-free technologies, and so we would anticipate a rush to copy or acquire our Mach Effect work as soon as it has been demonstrated at commercially viable levels. There are currently very high knowledge-related barriers to entry in that very few people in the world understand the physics and engineering necessary to work with the Mach Effect, and to our knowledge, no group other than Quantum Space Products has viable pathways to increasing the demonstrated thrust to commercially useful levels. Our proprietary materials and years of effort in working through the engineering challenges specific to this technology gives us a significant and perhaps enduring, lead on any competitors.
SOC: We always need to paint a clear picture to the potential investors of the market opportunity of the spinoff that is meaningfully large and growing. Why in your opinion your company might have a high growth potential? Could you tell us all current industries and fields of your technology/product application and where do you think it could be successfully applied in the future?
Mr. Stahl: It’s hard to quantify the eventual market potential represented here. Mach Effect Thrusters would be the world’s first gravinertial technology product, essentially opening up a whole new realm of innovation, much like the invention of the semiconductor opened up the computer industry--which eventually found its way into almost every other sector of the economy.
But we can paint an instructive picture by looking at some history. 150 years ago, physicist James Clerk Maxwell penned the equations that describe electricity and magnetism, which loosed scientists and engineers to master those natural forces. It was entrepreneurs like George Westinghouse who created world-changing, practical applications from those equations, and built their own business empires in the process. James Woodward’s equations on Mach Effect physics grant us similar mastery of the naturally entwined forces of gravity and inertia. Similar to the case with Westinghouse, we believe our company is uniquely poised to turn these insights into world changing technologies - beginning in satellite propulsion and antennas. As the technology is further developed we can see it being used far more extensively in other forms of transportation and potentially even in power generation systems. I don’t think it’s possible to predict how impactful it could be long-term any more than an engineer in 1950 could have predicted how prolific the newly invented semiconductor would become today.
We have already identified several multi-billion dollar markets, such as the satellite propulsion and communications sectors that we believe represent great near-term opportunities for our company for sales in the $10’s and quite likely $100’s of millions of dollars. We’re focused on achieving those types of near term revenues for our company, and its investors, but we very much recognize the multi-billion dollar sales potential of this in the years to come.
SOC: The potential investors will be curious whether you already have the first clients and signed contracts? What was the feedback from your partner's markers and customers?
Mr. Stahl: We anticipate our antenna technology to make the first entry into the marketplace within the next twelve months. We have already begun developing relationships with industry partners who are interested in both our antenna and thruster technologies. For example, we have the LOI’s from Lockheed Martin, Pumpkin Space Systems, SpaceQuest, and others who are eager to fly our actual hardware, and we are in active discussions with these companies and the US government agencies that are likely first customers.
Pumpkin has already validated our price point expectations for our prototype satellite antennas in the marketplace, and we will have much more clarity on our thruster price points and demand after our first demonstration and testing. In general, we are finding a very strong interest in the technology from prospective customers, but an unwillingness to talk about actual purchase amounts until there is a demonstrated product. This is one very good reason why we will be building antennas—we can get them to market quickly and develop an early revenue stream.
SOC: We both know that for you and the investor it is crucial to reach positive cash flow as soon as possible. Certainly, the market scaling cannot be achieved without proper distributors network and clients. Please tell us about your criteria of partners selection and which markets are open for spinoff activity.
Mr. Stahl: Pumpkin Space Systems has already expressed interest in selling our antennas to their customers. Additionally, we’re in direct discussions with Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Air Force Research Labs, NASA, and several other large customers for our products, many of which are also systems integrators for a much larger customer base. Sales channel distribution is certainly something we have been looking at and will pursue more vigorously once we have an initial production of prototypes available for demonstration.
SOC: It is very important to understand your particular vision about unique features of your company. Why do you consider the major market players might be interested in investing into a promotion of your technology/product on the addressable market?
Mr. Stahl: All of the major market players in aerospace have been looking for (or fearing!) a propellantless solution to space transportation for decades, but they haven’t found the correct path forward. They consider propellantless propulsion to be the 'Holy Grail' of space transport as it would solve many of the biggest technical challenges they face when designing systems that have anything to do with space. Several of these organizations have looked at propellantless propulsion in the past, such as NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project (BPPP) from 15 year ago, Lockheed Martin’s famous Skunkworks, Boeing’s famous Phantomworks, BAE’s project Greenglow, and numerous other efforts that have quietly explored the various concepts. They just never had the right combination of concept, materials, and engineering to make it work. Once we have demonstrated our MET at commercially useful levels of thrust, everyone involved in aerospace will be rushing to understand this technology and how to utilize it.
SOC: Now we would like to refer to the next very crucial and we would even say essential aspect for spinoff companies’ as the strategy of R&D, production, distribution and marketing processes. Do you have your own unique strategy? Which of these processes do you consider your spinoff is strong at?
Mr. Stahl: Since new technology is inherently unfamiliar, the best way to market it is to demonstrate it. We have enough experience with new technologies to understand that until it is actually working right in front of them, many customers will find some reason to continue purchasing an inferior and often even more expensive legacy product. This is why we have strategized to have an antenna prototype completed this year which we can demonstrate to customers, and why we have made plans to fly our first prototype antennas in-space as well, to demonstrate true TRL 7 status very quickly. We have a focused marketing plan to reach our likely customers and those who supply them. We expect a successful ME Thruster demonstration will garner a huge amount of media attention, and resulting customer interest from which we will have to choose our sales channels very carefully.
Since we are dealing with small components which we can produce at scales high enough to meet near-term demand, initial production will be conducted at our existing facilities at Kennedy Space Center’s Space Life Sciences Laboratories. This also allows us to keep much tighter control of our IP and production methods. Our team does have experience in scaling up production volumes in related industries when that time arrives. We have a strong network of contacts across the private space industry, throughout NASA, and within the U.S. military procurement chain, and we understand the sales channels involved with these customers.
SOC: As a rule, the majority of spinoffs outgrow into exits. How do you determine the market for your product/technology and estimate its volume and dynamics? What is your potential share on the market? How do you think what market cap your company plans to reach at the peak of its development and why? How long might this process take?
Mr. Stahl: The antenna market is easier to quantify than trying to predict what the ME Thruster market might become.
Sales of even a few hundred of our high-performance antennas per year will result in annual revenues of $5-10 million, and integration into a wider range of mobile platforms could represent revenue opportunities of several $100-million to our company. Even if you ignore the Mach Effect derived products we plan to offer, this traditional antenna technology alone offers an exponential return on investment.
The market limits for the ME Thruster are much harder to determine. We are targeting the $21 billion in-space satellite propulsion market first because it represents the lowest performance hurdle for us and offers very good margins. Not every satellite system would need our ME Thrusters, but we estimate a very rapid market share gain of up to 5%, and then continued gains over time as the technology is integrated into more designs. Our technology will also expand the range of what is possible for a satellite to actually do-–which will likely grow the overall market substantially. Looking beyond Earth orbit, the potential share of the deep space access market for a fully realized MET is essentially 100%. QSP would likely, and quickly, be the sole provider to this market for several years as competitors rush to catch up and navigate our IP filings. We do expect competitors will arise, so our strategy is to out-compete these challengers by offering higher performance and better value products as we work to continuously improve, refine, and expand our product offerings, while working with established strategic partners where appropriate. Since we’re currently only scratching the surface of the field of gravinertial engineering, we expect exponential growth for both our company and the industry for many years to come.
If I had to guess what this company would be worth in five years, I’d have to qualify the answer by saying that it depends on how much performance we can get from our ME Thrusters. If we struggle with that and only have the antenna sales to rely on, then I believe we have a multi-hundred-million dollar company. If the ME Thruster performs as we expect it to, then we have one of the most exciting multi-billion dollar companies of this era–-so yes, that’s a pretty wide spectrum. We’ll have a much clearer picture on this within the next 2 years.
SOC: For spinoff companies their intellectual property is a key to success. The investors pay particular attention to it. What key intellectual property does your company have (patents, patents pending, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, domain names)?
Mr. Stahl: We’ll be filing for about a dozen patents in the first year related to our antennas and other selected technologies. Certain aspects of our work are too sensitive to file publically reviewable patents for, as this would reveal trade secrets key to sustaining our competitive advantage.
We will instead be patenting methods of use and other aspects of our technologies which protect value without compromising our core advantages. Many of the patents we will be filing will be for components that we expect will displace many of today’s existing communications hardware and spacecraft component systems.
We expect our investors will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of intellectual properties QSP will file for and actively work to bring to market!
SOC: For both of us, as well as for thousands successful spinoffers, it's not a secret that a new technological breakthrough may become obsolete very fast. Respectively, patent validity period becomes shorter. It is interesting to know the perspectives and protection plan of your technological advancement and leadership in a medium- and long-term prospectives.
Mr. Stahl: We do indeed have a long-term plan for dealing with the evolution of our technology and staying one step (or ideally ten steps) ahead of our competitors. We’re already looking at some next generation improvements we will make to enhance our thruster technology in the future, and have a multi-faceted development plan for continual improvements well into the next decade. This extends to our antenna products as well as we have identified further advances and other enhancing technologies that could greatly expand the functionality and range of use even further. At our core, I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied to rest on our laurels, so expect us to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible for our technologies.
SOC: The investors will want to get a clear picture of how many rounds of investments have you completed? Are you seeking for the investments at the moment? What is the volume and time limits? What milestones will the financing get you to? What did you plan to use the invested funds for?
Mr. Stahl: This is our first funding round where we are seeking outside investors. We have been entirely self-financed prior to this point. We are currently opening the company to investors with an offering of up to $1 million, which we hope to close within the next two months. This new funding will allow us to greatly accelerate and finance our operations for a year, purchase the specialized equipment we need to create and test our core materials, pay salaries and rent, and reach several significant company milestones. These include the complete characterization of our trade secret materials, the filing of several patent applications, preliminary design work on the ME Thruster, and the completion of several working prototype antennas for use in demonstrations and early sales. A fully functional antenna is the primary milestone we expect to achieve before seeking any subsequent funding, and this also helps validate our ME Thruster technical pathway. To finish our ME Thruster prototype and address our future expansion needs we expect an additional funding round of $3-5 million in approximately 12 months - which depending on our product sales in about two years from now may be the last equity-based funding round we need to do.
SOC: Could you please describe your ideal investor? What aspects are important for you, for instance, is it experience, country, the amount of own private capital or maybe some personal qualities? Will existing investors participate in the round?
Mr. Stahl: Ideally, we’re looking for investors who will share our larger vision, which is 'to create space transportation that is safe, quick, convenient and affordable'. We also prefer seasoned investors who have a track record of integrity. We’re dedicated to seeing this technology and this company succeed, and want our investors to be on the same page as we are. Any investor who has been involved in related industries or technologies would be especially exciting for us from a strategic standpoint. We don’t have any specific restrictions on who can or cannot invest but do want to get to know our investors – especially at this early and important stage for our company.
SOC: And the last question, could you specify the most convenient way you would like to receive inquiries from potential investors? Should it be by e-mail or personal phone call?
Mr. Stahl: Email email@example.com is the best way to get your questions answered if they are short and don’t require a lot of conversation. We’re also available by phone or web-meeting with potential investors as needed. We love to tell our story, so feel free to engage with us!
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