Local Business Leaders to Judge Startups Poised to Profit from Outer Space

Three St. Louis business leaders have been selected to judge space-focused business pitches at the next Regional NewSpace Business Plan Competition



The Center for Space Commerce and Finance announced today that it has selected the judges for the St. Louis Newspace Business Plan Competition. The competition will be held on May 26th, from 10 AM to 12 PM, in conjunction with the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The winner will advance to the National NewSpace Business Plan Competition, held in November, and receive a $2,500 cash prize, courtesy of the Heinlein Prize Trust.


Meet the judges at the St. Louis NewSpace Business Plan Competition:


Mark D. Allen

Throughout his career, Mark has driven education, entrepreneurship, enterprise growth, and economic development. Mark crafted programs to create and build professional development education for businesses, delivering Kauffman FastTrac® programs to over 900 adult learners, and conducting education programs for 1,900 participants at all learning levels. He facilitated thought growth in clients and students, helping entrepreneurs to develop a strategic direction for success, leading to 195 new business startups. Mark has created, founded and served as CEO for a holding company employing over 300 associates, driving revenues of $100M, and building operating profits that exceeded $5M annually. Mark currently serves as the Managing Director for WRS Solutions, a business development agency with offices in Kansas City.


Ken Herold

Ken created one of the first CADD and 3D graphic Building Information Management BIM systems for the architectural industry. As the Chief Knowledge Officer for HOK, he delivered creative solutions using Biomimicry, Blue Ocean, and other advanced creative concepts. Ken was the founding Executive Director of the BuildingSMART Alliance. Ken teaches innovation in the schools of Engineering and Business at Saint Louis University. Ken helps companies and over 65+ startups with ideation, business modeling, and the application of design thinking to the definition of new technologies, products and/or services along with leading the delivery of a technology MVP.


Dan Reus

Dan Reus helps innovators find their audiences and their potential by simplifying innovation, exploring “outside the box” ideas, developing ecosystems of stakeholders, managing change, and providing incentives to accelerate innovation. He produces innovation programs, writes, speaks, consults and spends time connecting ambitious researchers, hackers, students, entrepreneurs, inventors and early adopters to each other and the resources they need to succeed. Dan started Openly Disruptive after 15 years of creating experiential learning, marketing and entertainment programs for dozens of Fortune 100 firms, startups and nonprofit organizations. He believes strongly that “The future will be what we make it.”


“We chose St. Louis for our regional event due to the variety of entrepreneurship activities in the area. We are excited to have local expertise pushing the edge of space commerce forward, and grateful to our sponsor Heinlein for making this happen.” said Joel Vinas, Executive Director of the Center for Space Commerce and Finance, the organization that manages the NewSpace Business Competition.


The event simulates the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions. Finalists will have 7 minutes to make their pitch, followed by 7 minutes of probing questions from the panel of judges. Ultimately, the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most likely invest their money.


Interested investors, media, students, and anyone who would like to be in the audience, are encouraged to sign up to attend the International Space Development Conference. Take advantage of this this limited-time discount through Groupon.


To learn more about this and upcoming competitions across the world, sign up for the NewSpace Business Plan Competition newsletter.



About NewSpace Business Plan Competition

Since 2006, the NewSpace BPC has awarded over $300,000 in cash prizes to space-enabling startups. Now a program of the Center for Space Commerce and Finance, the NewSpace BPC is expanding its reach, hosting regional competitions and raising investor awareness towards space-related startups. Chosen competitors advance to the National event, attend a private, 2-day, Boot Camp session, and make a final pitch to investors at the annual New Worlds Conference where winners are announced. For more information visit www.NewSpaceBPC.com.



About the National Space Society

The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded as the National Space Institute (1974) and L5 Society (1975), which merged to form NSS in 1987, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen’s voice on space. NSS has over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. Learn more: nss.org



About the Heinlein Prize Trust

The Heinlein Prize Trust honors the memory of Robert A. Heinlein, a renowned American author. The purpose of the Heinlein Prize is to encourage and reward progress in commercial space activities that advances Robert and his wife Virginia’s dream of humanity’s future in space. Efforts include: The Heinlein Prize for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities, The Microgravity Research Competition, The Heinlein Commercial Space Activity Prize, and The “Flight Into the Future” international contests. Find out more: www.heinleinprize.com

More News from The Center for Space Commerce and Finance

State of “The Center” as We Fight The Coronavirus

State of “The Center” as We Fight The Coronavirus

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Center for Space Commerce and Finance: This have been a difficult time for all of us. I hope all you reading this are safe, well, and hanging in there as best you can. I want to begin by taking a brief step back, then continue...