BOULDER — During Colorado’s 19th century gold rush, it wasn’t just prospectors who were looking to strike it rich.
It was also the men and women who sold those prospectors their picks, shovels and pans. And often, those general-store operators ended up far more successful than the average miner.
That’s precisely the approach that Boulder-based small-satellite manufacturer Blue Canyon Technologies Inc. is bringing to the aerospace industry. The company doesn’t embark on any space missions of its own, but it will gladly supply materials for other firms that do.
“That’s how we see ourselves,” BCT’s director of advanced development Dan Hegel told BizWest. “We’re not trying to corner the market on imaging or radio signal triangulation or weather measurement. We’re the supplier that enables all of those operations.”
This strategy has proved quite successful for BCT, which was founded in 2008 and got its initial boost from a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Air Force.
“Some [larger aerospace firms] may view us as a threat,” Hegel said. “But really, we’re here to help enable their missions. If they come to us with a mission that requires one small spacecraft or 10 spacecrafts, we’re able to manufacture them cheaper and faster, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”
BCT’s clients include NASA, various government defense and military organizations, aerospace firms, and other private companies, such as weather monitoring and modeling operations.
The company has grown from four employees to 170 in the past decade.
“We’ve had steady, exponential growth — almost doubling every year in terms of people and revenue,” Hegel said.
The company expects