So Jeff Bezos really is headed to space. When Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr told us in November that Bezos might fund an office for Kleiner Perkins on Mars, we took it as a joke. Did Bezos at least talk about it with Kleiner, maybe even ask for funding? We checked in with Doerr, who tells us, nope, he has no idea what Bezos is up to. (Glad to see that Doerr’s feet are planted firmly on the ground, despite his success with Google.)

Here’s what Bezos told the folks in the Texas town where he’s planning to launch.

Meanwhile, here’s the other space development where venture capitalists are active: San Francisco’s ProtoStar said today it has raised initial funding from New Enterprise Associates and SpaceVest, for a “direct-to-home” satellite provider, focused on the Asian market. Though the announcement didn’t provide any figures. Press release in extended entry.

ProtoStar Closes on Initial Funding From New Enterprise Associates and SpaceVest.

New Direct-to-Home (DTH) Satellite Provider to Support Asia�s Expanding Market Demand

San Francisco, Calif. � March 14, 2005 – ProtoStar, a Bermuda corporation with principal U.S. operations in San Francisco, California, has secured initial equity funding from leading private equity investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and SpaceVest.

ProtoStar was formed to acquire and operate high-power geostationary satellites optimized for direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television and broadband Internet access services in the Asia-Pacific region. ProtoStar�s planned footprint will reach over 3 billion people in India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and South East Asia. The company�s system will enable in-country partners to offer subscribers a technically advanced, reliable, cost effective satellite television package, providing a robust subscriber experience. A first satellite is planned for launch in mid 2006.

Philip Father, ProtoStar�s CEO, described the company�s business model as timely. �Much like we saw in North America and Europe, Asian markets are deregulating in order to meet market requirements for DTH services. ProtoStar is well positioned to offer optimized DTH capacity to its operator customers, meeting critical broadcast needs. We�re extremely pleased to have the support of two of the most respected VC firms in the industry – NEA and SpaceVest.�

�ProtoStar is in a unique position to serve a significantly untapped market,� said Peter Barris, NEA managing general partner and newly appointed ProtoStar board member. �In addition to a proven business model and demand driven market opportunity, ProtoStar has a seasoned management team and solid advisory board dedicated to meeting customer needs.�

John Higginbotham, chairman of SpaceVest, and recently appointed chairman of ProtoStar�s board of directors, said: �We are confident that ProtoStar will provide a new level of economic efficiency and service to its Asian customers. SpaceVest is delighted to contribute its market leadership in support of this refreshing business model for the satellite broadcasting industry.�

About ProtoStar

ProtoStar with operational headquarters in San Francisco, California was formed to acquire and operate high-power geostationary satellites optimized for DTH satellite television and broadband Internet access services in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm is led by seasoned veterans from the satellite, direct-to-home television, telecommunications and infrastructure finance industries. For more information, visit

About NEA

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs create and build major new enterprises that use technology to improve the way we live, work and play. Since its founding in 1978, the firm has followed the same basic principles: support their entrepreneurs, provide an excellent return to their limited partners and practice their profession with high standards and respect. Practicing classic venture capital for over 25 years, NEA focuses on early stage investments, playing an active role in assisting management to build companies of lasting value. With $6 billion under management, NEA’s experienced management team has invested in over 500 companies, of which more than 149 have gone public and more than 195 have been acquired. NEA has offices in Reston, Virginia, Menlo Park, California and Baltimore, Maryland. For additional information, visit

About SpaceVest

SpaceVest is a leading venture capital firm that invests in companies leveraging advanced technologies with sound business models to provide compelling value propositions for customers in high growth markets. The firm is a recognized leader in emerging markets such as space and defense technologies, wireless communications, geospatial applications, and advanced materials. SpaceVest currently manages approximately $270 million for global institutional partners. For more information, visit

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