On October 21, 2004, Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne reached the edge of space, an altitude of 100km, becoming the first privately built spacecraft to perform this feat, twice within two weeks.
In so doing, they won the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE, ushering in a new era of commercial space exploration and applications.
It was the inaugural incentive prize competition of the XPRIZE Foundation, which has gone on to create an incredible array of incentive prizes to solve the world's Grand Challenges ocean health, literacy, space exploration, among many others.
In 2011, City Light Capital partnered with XPRIZE to envision a platform that would make the power of incentive challenges available to anyone. The result was the spin-off of HeroX in 2013.
HeroX was co-founded in 2013 by XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, challenge designer Emily Fowler and entrepreneur Christian Cotichini as a means to democratize the innovation model of XPRIZE.
HeroX exists to enable anyone, anywhere in the world, to create a challenge that addresses any problem or opportunity, build a community around that challenge and activate the circumstances that can lead to a breakthrough innovation.
The Ansari XPRIZE was inspired by the 1927 Orteig Prize, in which Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis. The $25,000 prize had been offered by hotelier Raymond Orteig to spur tourism. Lindbergh's flight lead to a boom in air travel the world over.
A similar challenge had launched 200 years earlier with the 1716 Longitude Prize, which sought a technology to more accurately measure longitude at sea. Nearly 60 years later, a British clockmaker named John Harrison invented the chronometer, which spurred Trans-Atlantic migration on a massive scale.
In 1795, Napoleon offered a 12,000 franc prize for a better method of preserving food, which was often spoiled by the time it reached the front lines of his armies. The breakthrough innovation to Napoleon's prize led to the creation of the canning industry.
HeroX incentive prize challenges are designed to do the same to harness the collective mind power of a community to innovate upon any problem or opportunity. Anyone can change the world. HeroX can help.
The only question is, "What do you want to solve?"
Dr. Peter Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight and the $10 million Progressive Automotive XPRIZE for 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent cars, XPRIZE is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.
Diamandis is also an international leader in the commercial space arena, having founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League and Space Adventures.
As co-Founder & Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley based institution partnered with NASA, Google, Autodesk and Nokia, Diamandis counsels the world's top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.
Dr. Diamandis attended MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. Diamandis' personal motto is: "The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!"
Barry Thompson is the Managing Director of FTL Holding, a management company specializing in merging disruptive business strategy, technical innovation, and corporate activism. FTL Holding's current portfolio includes 11 companies in the Green Tech, High Tech, and Advanced Materials markets. An entrepreneur and innovator, Mr. Thompson has spent the last two decades disrupting markets by pushing the boundaries of what is possible; with experience ranging from Wall Street to the US Military, and Information Technology to Waste Management.
A self-taught technologist, he began his career as a consultant, designing Information Technology solutions beginning with embedded robotics and imaging, to traditional enterprise systems. Some of his clients included MCI, American Mobile Satellite, The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other military, government and private organizations. In 1995, he moved to Wall Street, leading the adoption of new transformative technologies in the financial services industry while working for firms such as AIG, NatWest, Lehman, and UBS, where he was Head of North American Architecture and Head of Diligence Services. Mr. Thompson co-founded Tervela in 2004, a high performance data and transactions infrastructure company, where he twice served as CEO and is currently a board member. Mr. Thompson also serves as a Trustee, Board Member, and Treasurer of the XPRIZE Foundation.
Josh Cohen is the Managing Partner of City Light Capital, a firm that he co-founded in 2004. He is also the Chief Investment Officer for Tyden Ventures, a single family office based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is currently on the Boards of LicenseStream, HeroX and Impact Directly and is an Observer to the Boards of 2U and Straighter Line.
Josh is a frequent speaker on the topics of impact investing, direct investing and measurable impact. He is a mentor or an advisor to many young entrepreneurs through the Kairos Society, Redwoods Initiative and Family Office Association.
Josh had previous venture capital experience working with a family office in St. Louis and a private debt fund. Prior to joining the venture community, Josh was the Director of Business Development for Mobility Electronics (NASDAQ: IGOI). He began his career as an investment banker in the technology group of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown in San Francisco.
In 1999, he created Developing Minds, a nonprofit organization that created the Time Raiser™, a time-based auction model used to recruit and reward volunteers. He is currently an advisor to several other nonprofits including the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, QuestBridge, and Shalom Learning.
Josh graduated from the University of Michigan. He is also a very proud Dad.
Stewart A. Satter is CEO of Consumer Testing Laboratories and its affiliated companies, a group of independent, internationally recognized product testing laboratories. Satter, a pivotal advisor to City Light Capital and founding investor in HeroX, desired to catalyze the creation of a team that could dream up big solutions to problems.
In 2004, Mr. Satter generously donated seed money for the launch of the Stewart Satter Program in Social Entrepreneurship at NYU Stern, which educates students of the value in pursuing businesses that are both profitable and socially responsible.
Mr. Satter also helped found the Social Entrepreneurship Track within Stern's very popular Maximum Business Exposure Business Plan Competition. Held from 2004 2010, the competition encouraged new ventures that pursued the “double bottom line” of sustainability and social impact and awarded prize money totaling $100,000 annually.
Mr. Satter is a member of the NYU Stern Board of Overseers, and a 2005 recipient of the NYU Stern Nichols Award, in recognition of his integrity, enterprise and service to the community.