#Asia #Japan DJ Selects: Japan’s Airbnb for Satellites – InfoStellar

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The aerospace industry has been particularly resistant to disrupting in Japan. In the rest of the world, launch vehicle and spacecraft technology has made incredible gains over the past decade, but here in Japan its still mostly the same government contracts going to the same major contractors.

Naomi Kurahara of InfoStellar, has come up with an innovative way to leverage existing aerospace infrastructure and to collaborate globally by renting out unused satellite ground-sataion time, Airbnb style.

You see when an organization launches a satellite, they also build a ground station to communicate with it. The problem is, that as the satellite obits the Earthy, it’s only in communication range of the ground station for less than an hour a day. The rest of the time the ground station just sits there.

By renting out that unused time ground-station operators earn extra income, and the satellite operators are able to communicate with their satellites as often as they need.

It’s a great interview and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes for Startups

Why the Airbnb for satellites startup model makes sense
The demand-side problem
Why this market is much larger than it seems today
The key growth drivers in the satellite market
Why the Japanese aerospace industry can’t innovate
How to run a startup as an expectant mother
What challenges women scientists still face in Japan
How Japan could better support working moms

Links from the Founder

Learn about InfoStellar

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Transcript from Japan
Disrupting Japan, episode 56.

Welcome to Disrupting Japan – straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

Aerospace in Japan is particularly resistant to disruption. Over the past decade, the rest of the world has seen incredible gains in both launch vehicles and spacecrafts. But Japan has been moving slowly. Sometimes it seems as if she’s determined to stay the course with the same government contracts going to much the same corporate heavyweights year after year.

Naomi Kurahara of InfoStellar once had plans of changing the Japanese aerospace industry. But along the way she went out on her own with a plan that bypassed Japan’s major players and targeted the global market. You see, when an organization launches a satellite, they usually also build an antenna and a ground station to communicate with that satellite. The problem is that as the satellite orbits the Earth, it’s only communications range with the ground station for less than an hour a day. The rest of the time the ground station just sits there.

So, Naomi decided to pool all of the unused ground station time together and rent it out to satellite operators, Airbnb style. Everybody wins by sharing resources. The ground station operators get income by renting out their facilities and the satellite operators get to communicate with their satellites far more often.

But Naomi explains it better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.

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[Interview]

Tim: Cheers! I’m sitting here with Naomi Kurahara, the CEO and fearless founder of InfoStellar, so thanks for sitting down with me.

Naomi: Thank you for inviting me.

Tim: Now, InfoStellar is basically time-sharing for satellite ground station, or Airbnb for satellites, but it’s a complex idea so why don’t you explain a little bit about what InfoStellar does.

Naomi: Okay, the reason I started this business is the aerospace space has an issue for cost. Like satellite is expensive, and rocket is expensive, and ground station is expensive because, maybe, not many people are using.

Tim: Well, aerospace is incredibly expensive but actually I think before we get into InfoStellar’s business model, I think it’s going to be best if you explain what ground stations are and how th…

from Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan http://bit.ly/2EL51Zb

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