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SpaceX has grown from nascent dreams of the final frontier into the world’s premier commercial space launch company, with dozens of successful missions that have continually become more and more ambitious. Now, there’s a budding ecosystem of SpaceX alumni who have left the mothership to build their own companies, taking the culture and values they learned and applying it to problems they saw at the front lines of space innovation.

On today’s episode of the “Securities” podcast, host Danny Crichton interviews two of those alumni, Laura Crabtree, the co-founder and CEO of Epsilon3, and Will Bruey, the co-founder and CEO of Varda Space. Laura and Will shared a cube at SpaceX, and are now building software and hardware startups, respectively.

We discuss how SpaceX’s culture shaped their perspectives as entrepreneurs, why they chose different problem areas of space to tackle, how the 2022 financial markets impact their approach to growth, and how they think about company building and the Los Angeles / Southern California hard tech ecosystem.

Recommended reading for this episode: Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX 

News: Startup Epislon3 hopes to expand Pentagon reach with launch ‘software service’

Epsilon3’s space industry OS powers more than launches as it brings in $15M in new funding

Varda Space Industries closes $42M Series A for off-planet manufacturing

The need for vaporware skepticism