Looking the part: Launchpoint finds new home to showcase growing business
It has been a few years since Launchpoint Electric Propulsion Solutions struck out on its own, being spun out of the now-defunct Launchpoint Technologies, but now, the company is ready for takeoff.
Launchpoint EPS moved into its new facility at 320 Storke Rd. in early August, upping its presence in the region for the new hires it plans to make and showing its customers and the world that it is going to be a big player in its industry.
“We wanted to be a tier-one aerospace supplier of propulsion and power and now that we are one, it’s about really looking like that tier-one supplier,” Rob Reali, CEO of Launchpoint EPS, told the Business Times.
“Moving into this new space is a game changer. We have a chance to create our own culture as we look like that tier-one supplier and everyone on our staff has wholeheartedly embraced that philosophy.”
Launchpoint EPS develops electric engine systems for drones and is working toward electric engines that could propel flying passenger vehicles.
“We solve the problem for aircraft’s insatiable need for power and more power and more power,” Reali said.
This version of the company, which spun out in 2020, has grown to have 32 full-time employees with 17 job openings hoping to be filled by the end of next year, Reali said.
Revenue has also jumped with the company finishing with about $2.5 million in sales in 2022. It expects revenue to be at around $3.3 million in 2023, Reali said.
Being a tier-one supplier means that Launchpoint is working with companies that are “household names,” with Reali adding that, in the defense industry, Launchpoint works with two of the top five companies.
They are also working with several automotive companies and drone companies as well.
“I think in five years, we’ll be in production with some of these companies,” Reali said, adding that it takes time to design the precise technology that customers want.
“We actually have a pipeline of over 300 potential customers, but we’re active with 20 or 21 right now, of which seven or eight are generating revenues. We expect after 2026 or 2027 to be in production, which is a game changer for us.”
What Launchpoint’s electric motor product can do is give drones, for example, more power through its electric machine product that generates enough electricity to fly a 250-pound drone.
“This gets us into a range where we extend flight. A typical agricultural operation using all electric drones has a typical flight time of 8 to 12 minutes and we extended it to over an hour,” Reali said.
But it’s not just the drone industry Launchpoint wants to take flight in, there are also fighter jets and air taxis/air cars.
Reali said the key difference in Launchpoint’s products in the fighter jet industry as opposed to its competitors is that, aside from being smaller and more powerful, its motor does not need to be cooled with liquid.
“Having a cooling system is something else that weighs on the aircraft and takes up room and is another thing that could go wrong, but our product is air-cooled,” Reali said.
As for flying vehicles, that industry might still be decades of advancement away, but when it is ready, Launchpoint and its motor will be ready to find a way into those cars, giving the company three different verticals it is ready to launch into when it enters mass production.
“The crazy thing is that it is the same product that works exactly the same for all three markets,” Reali said.
“It’s amazing to have that, it keeps our product line simple and it allows us to simply work with our customers, take a look at their mission, whether that’s flying people or packages, manned or unmanned, and customize the propulsion system for maximal flight time and payload.”
An acquisition or two could also be in Launchpoint’s near future, thanks in part to the $8 million in venture capital it has raised since 2020.
But for now, the company is enjoying its new look and continuing to work with its customers every day as it prepares for a true takeoff in the near future.
Reali himself is no stranger to the startup game. Launchpoint is actually the fourth company he has been a part of during the startup phase.
In fact, his previous job was as chief operations officer of Santa Barbara-based TrueVision, a company that started with four employees and eventually grew to become a major eye-surgery device firm that was acquired by Alcon in 2019.
It doesn’t take much for Reali to look back at that time — in fact, his new office at Launchpoint’s headquarters is directly across his old office at TrueVision.
“All I’ve ever done is build companies,” Reali said.
“I have built four and it’s all that I know and it’s what gets me excited. Hopefully, it rubs off on everybody else because I’m absolutely passionate about this and Aerospace is so much fun.
“No two days are ever the same when you’re at a startup. I don’t think I could be a repetitive person, coming in and doing the same thing pushing the same paper every day. My challenges are different and I love that.”