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Aaron Kemmer

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Serial entrepreneur Aaron Kemmer’s resume looks like the curriculum vitae of a person devoted to making the world a little bit more like a movie. The business manager, program developer, and entrepreneur from Mountain View, CA is the co-founder of sci-fi-reminiscent space 3D printer company Made in Space and anything-delivery/personal assistant service Magic. Kemmer’s long-held aspirations towards space put him on the path towards the first endeavor, connecting him with the likeminded individuals who would create Made in Space. At a space conference, Kemmer, who studied Leadership Development at the University of Florida, struck up a conversation with Mike Snyder, who was delivering a lecture on lunar mineral rights. As the two youngest attendees at the conference, Kemmer and Snyder hit it off, bonding over their mutual dreams of going to space.

It was later, however, during their time in Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program, that the pair would find their contribution towards space exploration. Teaming with future co-founders Jason Dunn and Mike Chen, they spent ten weeks trying to discover their first actionable step towards getting into space. When astronaut and founding partner Dan Barry mentioned that 3D printers would be useful in space, the group realized they’d found a project with the possibility to make real things happen. They’d build a means of manufacturing on-site in space, circumventing the cost and time necessary to launch necessary tools and materials. They founded Made in Space in August 2010 with the intention of enabling hardware manufacturing in space in order to support the dream of a multi-planetary humanity.

The company created their 3D Printing Lab at the NASA Ames Research Center in spring 2011. They were awarded a sub-orbital flight that summer, and spent July through September preparing. Kemmer served as lead logistical program manger during that time, doing hands-on zero-gravity testing across 400 parabolas. Their concept proved fruitful, successfully 3D printing in zero-gravity environments, and Made in Space was awarded a Phase 1 SBIR with NASA for the design of a 3D printer to be tested on the International Space Station in 2012. They were awarded Phase 2 in 2013, to build and flight qualify an additive manufacturing facility for the International Space Station. Phase 3 was awarded in February 2013, and the company’s Zero-G printer was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the International Space Station on September 21, 2014. On November 24, 2014, the printer successfully executed its first project, the first part ever manufactured in space.

Magic, on the other hand, was a far less intentional inspiration. Co-founded with fellow Made in Space founder Mike Chen, along with Ben Godlove, Nic Novak, Michael Rubin, and David Merriman, Magic was born out of a simple quest for dinner in a hurry. Mike Chen was hungry, and he wanted to find something fast and convenient to satisfy his stomach. He dreamed of a service that would eliminate the need for people to spend time figuring out the how to get what they want. On February 20, 2015, Chen built a simple website outlining Magic’s convenience-creation mission. Users were invited to send in their requests using a short-code telephone number, and the Magic team would personally answer with a price. They’d then get the user whatever they were after, as soon as possible.

The idea took off with unexpected velocity, and the six responders on the original Magic team were quickly overwhelmed. By the first week of March, the service had a waitlist of around 40,000 people. The rapidly growing weekend project was fostered by the Y Combinator startup accelerator program, where its founders had originally been working on a start-up called Bettir. After graduating from Y Combinator in late March 2015, it raised $12 million from Sequoia Capital at a $40 million valuation. Magic continues to evolve its mission to get you “anything you want as long as it’s not illegal,” launching Magic+ in January 2016.

In addition to serving as Chairman of Made in Space and Co-founder of Magic, Kemmer has worked with and advised numerous start-ups, including Heritage Cross, SUpost, Movis, and YouTip. His paper “3D Printing in Space: Enabling New Markets and Accelerating the Growth of Orbital Infrastructure,” was featured at NASA’s the Space Studies Institute’s 14th Space Manufacturing Conference in October 2010. Along with his fellow Made in Space Co-founders, he was listed amongst Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 in Manufacturing for 2015. Made in Space has received numerous other accolades, including ranking amongst FastCompany’s 2014 list of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space.

Companies and Investments

Magic – Plus Labs (Co-Founder), Made in Space, Inc. (Co-Founder, Chairman, Former CEO)

Lessons Learned

You can imagine something like the Wright Brothers flight. They learned a lot when they flew that first time, then they iterated their design. That's where we're at, in the learning and iterating phase. (Aaron Kemmer on constantly learning, iterating, and evolving, in an article from NBC News)

There's a lot of other people our age that come here to do startups and making the next app or whatever but we want to inspire others to do something that's actually impactful and will effect resources and discoveries. It's not Made in Space's printer or NASA's printer—it's everyone's printer. (Aaron Kemmer on creating products with real-world impact and aiming your vision beyond yourself, in an article by FastCoLabs)

Companies have to be willing to help NASA toward their goals, but also work on our own. NASA has to be willing to take risks—the right ones I can see paying off. Once you start to give new solutions a try and take those risks, you can see examples start to yield impressive results. (Aaron Kemmer on taking risks in order to create big innovation, in Content Magazine)

Inspiring Quotes

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.

Rumi

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am always doing things I can’t do. That’s how I get to do them.

Pablo Picasso

Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Mark Twain

When I was 5, my mother said that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.

John Lennon

Aaron Kemmer's Quotes

Theres always hundreds of reasons you shouldnt do something. You only need one reason to forget them all: because you want to.

Aaron Kemmer

A sense of purpose is always better than a sense of anything else.

Aaron Kemmer

To be greater than I am, I need to push beyond where Ive been. The push is daily, momentum is hard to start but easier to keep. Come join.

Aaron Kemmer

Theres a time for everything. That time is now.

Aaron Kemmer

BIG is where less competition is. BIG is where the most reward is. BIG is what gives the motivation to succeed.

Aaron Kemmer

Influential Books

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