By Jessie Scanlon In January 2011, Fred Villagomez, the head mechanical technician at a Mountain View-based satellite imaging startup, drove east, looping down and around the San Francisco Bay toward Fremont. His destination: an auto plant called NUMMI, a failed joint venture between General Motors and Toyota, whose assets were about to be auctioned off. […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Dan Berkenstock is an entrepreneur and engineer from Chicago, who fell into a classic tale of Silicon Valley innovation while taking a graduate entrepreneurship course at Stanford. That class led him and some others to found Skybox Imaging, of which Berkenstock is now executive vice president and chief product officer.
Skybox's mission is simple, if bold: they're working to design and launch small satellites that "hitchhike" to space in an effort to revolutionize the satellite imaging business. In 2013, SkySat-1, the first such satellite, was launched and is now beaming back images that are high-enough resolution to show the real-time state of global commerce. The idea: to "revolutionize the ways that consumers, businesses, and governments make decisions in their day-to-day lives."
In a previous life, Berkenstock worked in the Advanced Supercomputing Division at NASA's Ames Research Center, and also worked as a counterproliferation analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he focused on trying to find and thwart potential potential smugglers of nuclear technologies. He is currently on leave from the Ph.D. program in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University.