A team from Santa Barbara has announced the formation of LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions “LaunchPoint EPS”, combining a team of experienced and high-achieving engineers and business executives.
LaunchPoint EPS has spun off from the larger Goleta-based technology incubator and think tank, LaunchPoint Technologies, a technology firm in leading engineering designs. From the firms’ press release: “LaunchPoint EPS will specialize in supplying cutting edge modeling and design software, hardware in the form of electric motors, hybrid gensets and controllers, and control software for the world’s fast-growing electric-and hybrid-electric-powered aircraft sector.”
The release also specified that their launch will include flight applications under development by companies such as major automotive companies, as well as Uber, air taxi affiliates, and the U.S. military. These partners would cover a range of aerial technologies from on demand air taxis and cargo transportation eVTOL aircraft.
Robert Reali will serve as LaunchPoint EPS’ Chief Executive Officer. Reali was previously chief operations officer for Santa Barbara-based startup TrueVision, a company that he grew from four employees to a major eye-surgery device firm that was acquired by Alcon (a division of Novartis) in 2019.
LaunchPoint EPS brings with them IP acquired from LaunchPoint Technologies related to electric motors, hybrid-electric gensets, and their controller business including patents. Additionally, the processes, contracts, product orders, inventory, facilities, and key personnel will also continue on with the mission.
“The new company is focused on serving the surging urban air mobility market which has increased the demand for our power-dense electric motors and control software by the world’s largest players in this space,” said Reali. “The main reason for the spinout from LaunchPoint Technologies is to focus on shipping the products we invented. However, we will also continue the tradition of developing innovative new products to address market needs.”
Additional early stage team members include LaunchPoint Technologies co-founders UCSB Professor Emeritus Dr. Brad Paden and brother, Dave Paden; part of the LaunchPoint EPS management team serving as Chief Scientist and VP of Manufacturing, respectively. Next, former CEO and now LaunchPoint EPS Chief Technology Officer Mike Ricci, and Engineering Director Brian J. Clark will also serve on the management team. Chris Grieco, previously Executive Vice President of bulk energy storage company Gravity Power, LLC, will serve as LaunchPoint EPS’ Vice President for Global Business Development and Sales.
Why it’s important: LaunchPoint EPS is an addition to the growing field of electric aviation propulsion suppliers, a growing pool of technology developers outside of the larger aerospace firms. This increased breadth of industry should bolster competition and allow for a greater diversity in solutions to electric aviation propulsion requirements. Monitor the initial progress of LaunchPoint EPS and their ability to secure crucial partnerships with larger aerial mobility players as signals of progress in the future.