How 4 Students Got a Satellite Startup Off the Ground and $500 Million From Google


Nearly seven years before Google agreed to buy his company Skybox for $500 million in cash, Dan Berkenstock had his eyes on a more modest goal: winning a $20 million prize in a Google competition.

In late 2007, Google announced the Lunar X Prize, which promised $20 million or more to the first privately funded teams that could land a rover on the moon, take some high-resolution pictures and videos and transmit them back to earth. The lofty goal of the competition was to reignite the space race for a new generation of engineers and entrepreneurs

Berkenstock, then three years into a PhD engineering program at Stanford, worked to assemble a group of students and investors to beat out the competition. “They spent about a year on it getting everything lined up,” Juan Alonso, an associate professor of aeronautics at Stanford who became his academic advisor for a time, recalled to Mashable. “Dan always had a very entrepreneurial spirit to him. I remember him being very entrepreneurial, well put together and not afraid to take risks.” …

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Via: Mashable: Business

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