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CORPORATESTRATEGY


Whynowisthetime toinvest inspace


VIEWFROMTHEC-SUITE


ISRAELI TECHNOLOGIST LIOR HERMAN BELIEVES THE MIDDLE EAST COULD PROSPER AS A NEW SPACE HUB. ALEX IRWIN-HUNT REPORTS


trum, fromcloud computing to analytics with a stint at Facebook too. But nowMrHermanis turning his attention


L


to anewfrontier: space.“We are at the historical crossroads,” he tells fDi. “After 70 years of devel- oping the aerospace industry, we have finally reached this technological tipping point.” Together with his founding team—Einat


Berkovich, Yaron Sagi and Udi Danhirsh—Mr Hermanis raising a $110mventure capital fund, Type5, to invest in space technology start- ups. Their hunch is that the current regulatory environment, helped by cheaper computing power, is ripe for discoveries of new propulsion, communication and networking technologies. Mr Herman likens the space industry today


to the early internet,where a platformset up in the 1990s led to amarket of applications fromsearch engines to social media.“We can finally start to commercialise space in a private way,” he claims, pointing to pioneering compa- nies such as ElonMusk’s rocket company SpaceX creating a platform on which other aer- ospace start-ups can build.


Fundverticals The Type5 ‘new space’ fund, named after Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev’s scale of civilisation’s advancement through energy usage, views “space tech as a whole industry”. Mr Herman says the fund will focus on five ver- ticals: quantum computing for new networks; power sourcing for space manufacturing; next- generation medical devices; space IT infra- structure; and robotics.


WESHOULDLOOKAT THE SPACE INDUSTRY WITH OPENARMS. I THINK IT WILL GENERATEABRIGHTER FUTURE FOR HUMANITY


June/July 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com


ior Herman personifies an optimistic technology advocate. He has spent years working in start-ups across the tech spec-


“Medical and energy advancements for the


new space economyare exciting because they will literally change howwe live,” explains Mr Herman, who points to the potential of fully remote and autonomous healthcare systems to help us live healthier and longer lives. “The core of Type5 is a dual-usage strategy,


looking at companies that have both implica- tions on Earth and space today,” he adds. Start- ups Mr Herman is already looking at include one that has developed a new oxygen reactor and another developing radiation-protective equipment that could be used in both space and nuclear facilities on Earth.


Spacehubdream While Mr Herman is convinced that space pre- sents a huge opportunity for innovation and job creation, he contends that his peers in Israel need some convincing. “I see howthe Israeli high-tech ecosystemis naturally afraid of space, seeing it as something very far out, expensive and worth avoiding,” he says. But he believes that Israel’s start-up ecosys-


temhas “matured enough to start tackling big- ger problems”, especially those presented by the inhospitable environment found in space. “Those roots from the ‘start-up nation’ can


start looking at those problems in a similar effi- ciency. If we begin to solve themfor the benefit of big platformdistributors like SpaceX, BlueOrigin and governments, these start-ups could become ‘unicorns’ in the process of solv- ing those problems,” explains Mr Herman. Across the Middle East, Mr Herman hopes


there will bemore collaboration between countries in the new space economy, especially following the recent peace agreement signed between Israel and the UAE. “We need to look at the Middle East as an


industrial zone that can benefit from each nation’s land availability, technology, security and economic capabilities,” he adds. As the new space frontier continues to develop, Mr Herman is in the process of creating a global ecosystemof citiesmaking advancements in space technology. “Weshould look at the space industry with


open arms. I think it will generate a brighter future for humanity,” he concludes.■


11


CURRICULUMVITAE LIOR HERMAN


2021 Type5 Co-founder


Previously Facebook, digital products specialist


GLOBALOUTLOOK


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