Chris Robson was a member of the first cohort of ISM CREATE students during his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta. He became a space enthusiast during his tenure as the first project manager of AlbertaSat, a team launching Alberta’s first cube satellite (CubeSat) called Ex-Alta1. His interest in space and his entrepreneurial spirit led him to start Promethean Labs during his masters but he departed the business in order to concentrate on his Master’s degree. In the last year of his Master’s, the ISM CREATE program funded Chris to attend the Small Satellite symposium in Toronto in 2018. There he reconnected with Kristen Cote, a friend and alumni of AlbertaSat, and discussed their mutual ideas related to deployable optics and hyperspectral imagery. James Slifierz, CEO of Skywatch, encouraged the pair to pursue their concept combining these two ideas.
Together, with Callie Lissinna from AlbertaSat’s Ex-Alta 2 CubeSat project, and Kurtis Broda from the University of Alberta’s Mechanical Engineering Masters Program, they formed Wyvern with the vision of bringing the Space Industry to Alberta and using hyperspectral imagery to build a sustainable future for humanity. Chris Robson and Kurtis Broda joined the team full-time with a GreenSTEM grant from the Government of Alberta. They were accepted into a 9-month program with Creative Destruction Labs (CDL), a nonprofit organization that provides an objectives-based program for seed-stage science and technology companies. CDL startups work with mentors to sharpen objectives, prioritize time and resources, raise capital, build networks and engage with experts.
The group has two advisory boards, one focused on the business and one providing guidance on the science and technology. Chris’ advice for success to young entrepreneurs is to ask for advice from multiple perspectives, but don’t be afraid to make decisions that may seem to go against some of the advice you receive. Leverage your network to find partners, mentors, advisors, investors, and customers. He says, “My special skill is convincing others to join my crazy adventures.” His enthusiasm and persistence are contagious and he has built a broad network of mentors and supporters. Chris is very optimistic about Wyvern’s future, envisioning a 100+ constellation of satellites delivering earth observation imagery that will support planet wide sustainability. He hopes to contribute the promise of space industry growth in Alberta and in Canada.
We look forward to future announcements from Wyvern and wish Chris and his team every success.