In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.

At a glance

Founders: Max Daniels and William Hunter

Business: Astrix Astronautics

Founded: 2021

HQ: Auckland

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

As satellite providers enhance their satellite fleets, more and more satellites are needed to provide you with GPS, internet connectivity in remote locations, and accurate weather monitoring. But the satellite industry today has a bottleneck for power supplies, with current suppliers unable to adequately provide for the massive increase in satellite construction. With each satellite fleet costing billions of dollars, this bottleneck needs to be solved.

At Astrix we have developed a unique inflatable solar array for satellites, which dramatically increases the ease of generating power, reduces the cost of build and increases the functionality of satellites in space. Our patent pending deployment technology opens access to more accessible and cheaper solar cells. This removes the bottleneck and allows satellite providers to get much more value from their fleet.

But it doesn’t just stop with today’s satellites, our technology is groundbreaking in a wide range of applications. Ease of deployment of large structures in space leads to Astrix’s ultimate vision, to create tomorrow’s energy supply.

Solar farms on earth only generate power during a clear sky day and are constrained by land usage. Solar farms in space produce 13x more power, and this power is produced 24/7. This power can then be beamed to earth using ultra-large microwave antennas.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

Max and I met at the Auckland program for space systems, where we had to design a satellite mission to benefit humanity. We were informed about the limited amount of power satellites can generate. We thought ‘why does this have to be the case?’ and ended up designing an inflatable deployable solar array. We then entered the university’s 100K challenge, where we formed our early business model and won the new venture award.

We successfully demonstrated our technology in space aboard a Rocket Lab mission in 2022 and then brought our technology to conferences in the USA, Europe and Australia. We now have several MOUs with customers and are in talks with large international satellite manufacturers who believe our tech is a missing puzzle piece. We are raising our seed round which will fund demonstration missions in partnership with these companies, leading to contracts upon mission success.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

  • Startmate connected us with a good mentor for commercialisation, connected us with industry experts, and helped us understand more about our business.
  • We are based at Outset Ventures, they are very accommodating for startups and it is great to work within a community of people who are going through similar processes. It has also been fantastic to come across incredibly talented mentors through networking opportunities at Icehouse and Outset Ventures, who staunchly support our company because they believe in our vision.


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