Innovation continues to soar in the aerospace industry. Silicon Valley and various regions across California have a reputation of nurturing cutting-edge startups. Despite a year that has hit the aerospace industry hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous startups begun in 2020 have showcased resilience and creativity, pushing boundaries with their technology. Aerospace startups in California are crafting a future where air mobility is feasible, space exploration is intensified and renewable energy solutions are realized. In this article, we put a spotlight on some of the most promising aerospace startups in California that were founded in 2020.
We’ve gathered information about a diverse group of startups, each one standing out with their innovative concepts and technologies—from all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, hydrogen-powered aviation, space manufacturing, space debris removal to the development of autonomous driving platforms for Ground Support Equipment (GSE). These companies have not only dared to dream big, but have also plunged into turning these dreams into reality. Discover and celebrate with us these startups at the forefront of air and space technology.
This piece will enumerate each company by order of appearance: Archer, Universal Hydrogen, Varda, Venus Aerospace, Turion Space, Buoyant Aero, StarNav, AeroVect, JetZero, AllClear and FlightLine Technologies. Information about the location, company industry, founders, and a short description of each startup is presented, allowing us to appreciate their incredible efforts in revolutionizing their sectors.
San Francisco-based Archer is an aerospace company setting a breakthrough in urban air mobility. Founded by Adam Goldstein and Brett Adcock, Archer constructs an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft intended to augment mobility within cities. Supporting the sustainable air mobility movement, it manufactures a fully-electric aircraft capable of accommodating four passengers.
Located in Hawthorne, Universal Hydrogen is an innovative aerospace startup committed to making hydrogen aviation a reality. Founded in 2020 by Jason Chua, John-Paul Clarke, Jon Gordon, and Paul Eremenko, they are developing new technologies for hydrogen distribution and propulsion.
Varda is a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in manufacturing products in space for terrestrial applications. Founded in 2020 by Delian Asparouhov and Trae Stephens, they aim to derive benefits from low-gravity space manufacturing using asteroid-mined source materials.
Owned by Andrew Duggleby and Sarah Duggleby, Venus Aerospace is a California-based startup pushing the boundaries of high-speed transportation.
Turion Space, based in Irvine, offers unique solutions to space debris problems. Founded by Patryk Wiatr, Ryan Westerdahl, and Tyler James Pierce, they build “Droid” spacecraft designed to remove orbital debris and service operational satellites.
Buoyant Aero, based in San Francisco, develops unmanned airships to transport middle-mile air freights with half the cost of a small plane. The startup was founded by Benjamin Claman and Joseph Figura in 2020.
Based in Riverside, StarNav is a satellite receiver developer that provides accurate and reliable positioning data. This startup aims to enhance the safety operation of vehicles during complete Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) denial.
AeroVect, founded by Eugenio Donati and Raymond Wang, is a San Francisco-based startup developing autonomous driving platforms for Ground Support Equipment. Their technology paves the way to safer, efficient, and reliable airport operations.
Located in Long Beach, JetZero is an aerospace company that designs and manufactures zero-emissions jet aircraft. Founded by Mark Page and Tom O’Leary, JetZero is actively collaborating with NASA on sustainable aircraft ideas that will soon make zero-emission flights possible.
Based in El Segundo, the aerospace startup AllClear was also founded in 2020.
FlightLine Technologies, located in Roseville, is a software platform dedicated for owner-flown Cirrus aircraft. Founded by Donny Malinoff, they aim to make aircraft ownership simpler, transparent, and flexible through their innovative software and data tools.