Cover photo

Picture yourself working in a space factory

Celebrating Varda's iconic launch and key takeaways.

gm creators!

Today is day 1️⃣3️⃣ of my 30 day writing challenge.

Yesterday, I did a deep dive on deep tech 😂 - it was helpful context for today's post. I've heard the phrase "deep tech" tossed around a lot in the tech space but wanted to understand more about the category.

To sum up deep tech companies, here are the 3 things you can remember:

  1. Long term impact and R&D

  2. Long horizon to reach market ready maturity

  3. Intensive capital investment

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Today's Takeaway💡

Yesterday, the world's first space factory started floating in space 🤯

Varda, a company started just a few years back in 2020, is on a mission to build products in space and bring them back to Earth. The company is just around 70 employees and the team was able to stay on timeline - only pushing back their first flight a quarter.

Yesterday, when I started taking notes for the post, I was planning to write a comprehensive deep dive on the company origins, business, model, etc. And then an hour into the research, I get a e-mail notification from Not Boring titled "Varda: The Space Drug Factory" 😂. I read through the whole post - which by the way took me 45 minutes to properly get through - and decided that it would be best if I write my three takeaways from Packy's post. It's a long read, but if you have the time I highly recommend it.

Below are 3 things I took away from my research on Varda and The Not Boring Post!

  1. Space Composability - it was cool to see composability in practice past crypto.

  2. Creators Matter - there's a flywheel of culture (books, TV, etc.) that inspire builders which in turn inspire more creators.

  3. Intersection of tech kingdoms - deep tech provides the unique opportunity to work at the frontier of multiple tech fields.

A Quick Overview

If you're like me and didn't really know much about Varda up until the last few days, I thought it might be helpful to provide some quick context.


  1. Delian Asparouhov - Partner at Founders Fund & the guy who had the original idea for Varda. He's been obsessed with space since a young age and finally used the cheap VC capital available in 2020 to get his idea off the ground.

  2. Will Bruey - CEO of Varda. Previously, he was at SpaceX and led the hardware engineering team on the Dragon. As Packy puts it, "there are very few people in the world who know [Earth] reentry like Will does"


About a month ago, Varda raised an additional $25 million in new capital that puts the valuation of the company around $500 million.

Tech Crunch

Early Revenue

Though the primary mission is to build a business model around producing goods in space and bringing them back to Earth, they are still a ways from that point.

In the mean time, they are focused on earning early revenue by partnering with the Department of Defense and allowing them to use Varda's re-entry vehicle (that hits mach-25+) for the purposes of hypersonic testing.

Space Composability

If you've been in the web3 space for even just a few months, there's a strong chance you've heard of the term "composability". It's one of the core advantages of building in crypto - developers can think of smart contracts as lego blocks and can create new functionality without having to start from scratch from every time.

I made this visual in 2021 to help people understand the impact of composability - it can add up quickly.


What was interesting for me as I read through Packy's post was a clear example of composability in a completely different tech space.

20+ years ago, Elon Musk started SpaceX to make the space economy cheaper by creating reusable rockets. And now, we're seeing the fruits of the team's labor very clearly:

SpaceX Website

By making their mission a reality, SpaceX now provides a new innovation canvas for the next generation of space developers. Varda is just the start. And government agencies are a given. What will be fun to track is the number of space companies that start popping up knowing they can focus on building something for/in space rather than getting to space itself.

If you're in crypto, the obvious example here is:

Ethereum:Uniswap :: SpaceX:Varda

ChatGPT gets it:

Creators Matter

As an aspiring writer myself, this section from Packy's post stood out to me more than anything:

In 2019, author/astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin wrote a book called The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility. Zubrin would know; he was partially responsible for the Revolution in Spaceflight. In 1996, he’d written The Case for Mars, which inspired a young Elon Musk to start SpaceX. The 2019 installment took stock of the near-term implications of that company’s impact, and the long-term possibilities as we bumped into the limits of physics. 

Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer and a huge proponent of Mars exploration. It's insane to me that his books not only inspired Elon Musk to start SpaceX 20 years ago, but also inspired Delian to start Varda 🤯

Also another thing to note, there's a "creator-builder" flywheel present:

  1. Zubrin wrote "The Case for Mars" --> Inspired Musk to start SpaceX

  2. Musk builds SpaceX --> Zubrin writes "The Case for Space"

  3. Delian reads The Case for Space --> Starts Varda

Tech Kingdoms Unite

I like to think of the different tech sectors as their own kingdoms. For example, crypto, AI, biotech, space, etc. are each their own kingdom. They have their own section of tech twitter, they have their own influencers, creators, builders, conferences, etc. Similar to how kingdoms and countries have their own leader, form of government, and culture.

Most people working in tech are typically operating, building, and creating within one kingdom. It's already hard for any valiant explorer to navigate their own kingdom. Most never are able to make it out to another.

However, it seems as though building in deep tech offers that unique experience more often than builders working on consumer/SaaS products. Varda, for example, is working at the frontier of both space and biotech. On the space side, they're pioneering the idea of space factories. And in biotech, they're working on producing materials in zero gravity conditions at scale.

I asked ChatGPT to give me more examples on deep tech companies that are working on the intersection of two kingdoms:

  1. Zymergen - AI & Biotech --> leverage machine learning to predict the behavior of biological materials

  2. Arquit - Quantum & Blockchain --> leverage quantum mechanics to deliver unhackable keys for encryption

  3. Rivada Networks - Communications & Blockchain --> open source network that dynamically routes wireless connection

Posts since my last e-mail ✍️

Saturday: "Picture yourself making unhinged designs" - I dive into one of my favorite follows on Twitter, Soren Iverson. 6 months ago he started posting unhinged product designs consistently and now he's building a whole brand (book, merch, contract work, templates, etc.)

Sunday: "Picture the NYT and Twitter in a boxing ring" - I dive into the implications Twitter's new announcement of a $5m creator fund. Key Takeaway: Twitter is moving away from being a public town square and heading towards becoming the de facto platform for [centralized] citizen journalism.

Monday: "Picture yourself solving a single problem for decades" - At a high level, there are 2 things to help filter whether any given technology falls under the deep tech category:

  1. The existence of a high level of information asymmetry

  2. The presence of a high level of capital intensity

That's all for today's post, hope you all have a great rest of the day!

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