NASA Looks To Raise Venture Fund

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is in the midst of an RFI for an In-Q-Tel style venture capital fund. NASA released a request for information last week for "Red Planet Capital", a venture capital fund that it is looking to establish to fund early-stage companies. According to the RFI, NASA is looking to attract and motivate private sector innovators and investors and leverage external venture capital in technology that would be likely to be of future use to NASA's mission. NASA named the CIA In-Q-Tel fund and Army/SoCom OnPoint funds as examples of similar programs. The new Red Planet Capital investment fund will be aimed at innovative, dual-use technologies that might be of use to NASA, although NASA said that the companies should not expect the government to be the primary customer of their technology. NASA said that it expects investment and operational funds available in 2006 to total $11M, with the fund growing approximately $20M per year. The agency is now looking for a firm that is willing to establish and operate the venture capital fund.