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My turn for the "I want a rocket company" quarterly thread..... but different(ish)

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HHaase

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We've all heard it before, yadda yadda yadda, rockets fun, money from hobby, ad nauseum.... I've even put some advice in on a few. You know the drill. Let's get down to details. I've got some stones to throw if you need any.

I'm in a position where I'd like to acquire a pre-existing rocketry manufacturing company. I've actually tried a couple of times in the shadows but haven't made the dots connect yet for what I felt was THE company for me. I tried to make a run on SEMROC, but couldn't quite get things together to make an offer. The Launch Pad is another that just didn't quite come together right. I wish I had spotted a couple other opportunities before they got snapped up.

I've got a very interested business partner, I'm already a business owner, and I'd like to expand my holdings. Anybody out there looking to pass on the business to a fresh homestead?

-Hans
 

neil_w

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Dunno if you're interested in reviving a defunct company or not, but if so:
1) You should see if you can track down the Q-modeling guys. That's a company a lot of folks would like to see back in business.
2) 3D-rocketry seems to have shut down fairly recently.
 

HHaase

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Dunno if you're interested in reviving a defunct company or not, but if so:
1) You should see if you can track down the Q-modeling guys. That's a company a lot of folks would like to see back in business.
2) 3D-rocketry seems to have shut down fairly recently.
Resurrecting a company isn't something I'd be against, but restoring a defunct company is a much different situation than keeping an existing company going. This was a core reason I didn't feel comfortable meeting the asking price on TLP.

-Hans
 

dr wogz

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Another defunct one was Thrustline of about 15 yrs ago.. He had some cool kits..

Giant Leap? I feel they'e been off & on over the past few years..

as for TLP., despite being "dated", they apparently have a large following, and I get the impression as soon as the first kit is announced, it'll be snapped up in a heart-beat..
 

cerving

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Good luck. It's a lot of work... and don't expect to make much money, especially once the gov't gets their share. You have to REALLY want to do it... most of the hobby rocketry companies that go away do so because the owner either gets burnt out or they don't have the ability to keep it fresh enough to make it viable over time.
 

HHaase

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I think 15 years defunct is a bit too much, particularly for companies that revolve around clones of old Estes/Centuri kits. If it was something that had recently shut down I'd be more agreeable. Otherwise it'll be nearly as much work as starting from scratch. And for this reason I don't think I'd actively pursue Thrustline, Q-Modelling, FSI, or similar enterprises.

Cris, I completely agree, and my expectations are tempered accordingly. I'm not looking to go in blind, and I'll be picky until I find the right fit that I think I'll enjoy, and that I think will succeed.
 

Cape Byron

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Good luck. It's a lot of work... and don't expect to make much money, especially once the gov't gets their share. You have to REALLY want to do it... most of the hobby rocketry companies that go away do so because the owner either gets burnt out or they don't have the ability to keep it fresh enough to make it viable over time.
Agree with Cris here, it is a lot of work. Even getting one kit to market is a slog, especially if you're a one man operation. You do it because you love it. You do it because you think you have something 'different' to offer. You do it because it's fun. But you don't do it for money. If I wanted money I'd be a picker. I've done it before and I made a lot more than I will ever make (or lose) selling rocket kits.

It's a passion project, like building cafe racers or hot rods or, Hell, even organic farming. It's hard, but every item you sell carries your sweat and passion with it. When someone wants to share that, by buying your goods, it's a fantastic feeling.

Yes, I have built cafe racers, and I made a loss on every one, but my God, it was a great ride.

Pun intended, BTW. 😁

Hans, I appreciate what you want to do and I appreciate everyone in this little industry of ours. Passion is an amazing force. I wish you every success with your project.
 
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OZRoc

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Hi Hans,
Eric from Badazz Rocketry has apparently dropped his involvement altogether.
I have acquired the domain but am quite willing to hand it over to anyone willing to take it on and prosper.
If you can find him and get an agreement it might be worth your while.
Cheers,
Mark
 

K'Tesh

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Binder Design was up for sale a few years ago, when nobody was able to come up an offer for it that Mike thought was good enough, he opted to keep it.
 

PayLoad

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Why would you go into business in rockets? 7000 NAR members, 1000 vendors, a bit crowded. There is a reason why rocket businesses close.
 

HHaase

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Binder Design was up for sale a few years ago, when nobody was able to come up an offer for it that Mike thought was good enough, he opted to keep it.
This one had not escaped my search. It's very much in line with what I had been envisioning. The size of the company is just about right, it's operating without any major issues, has a good reputation, he's got great products, pricing is within reach (though at about my upper limit). About the only thing that makes Binder not a great match for me is that I don't think I've flown and built enough HPR rockets.

I do have a couple leads that have come my way via this thread, but keep 'em coming!
 

HHaase

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Why would you go into business in rockets? 7000 NAR members, 1000 vendors, a bit crowded. There is a reason why rocket businesses close.
Every business market is saturated. I'm good at finding the gaps that aren't being filled or areas where there are customer service issues that I can improve on.

There may be 1,000 vendors in a list somewhere but It's not just a monolithic block of kit makers. There's a huge variety in what they offer, how big and small they are, how well they are managed, and how many are actually operational. You'd be surprised at how shallow some areas are in the industry. What I'm looking for in this thread are the guys who are ready to move on for whatever reason, but have a solid framework already in place, and aren't a lineup of Estes clones. Trust me, they're out there, and we're already talking.
 

Mike t

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Maybe a 1000 vendors???
How do I get on the mailing list?
Anyway, I thank all who work at providing their products and service!
 

RocketRev

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I wish somebody would bring back "RocketFlite" rocket motors. They were incredibly popular here in the mid-west. The owner was trying to get back into the business but had had serious trouble with his first partner and was "gun shy" of getting a new partner if you know what I mean. That business would go like hotcakes if somebody would get it up and running again. They only did 29mm and 38 mm single use black power motors, but they were real crowd pleasers. And their silver streak propellant was one of the best sparky motors to ever get flown.
 

prfesser

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I wish somebody would bring back "RocketFlite" rocket motors. They were incredibly popular here in the mid-west. The owner was trying to get back into the business but had had serious trouble with his first partner and was "gun shy" of getting a new partner if you know what I mean. That business would go like hotcakes if somebody would get it up and running again. They only did 29mm and 38 mm single use black power motors, but they were real crowd pleasers. And their silver streak propellant was one of the best sparky motors to ever get flown.
The major issue with Silver Streaks is that most of them had more than 62.5 g of propellant, which means "LEUP" or similar. Today rocketeers are so used to no longer needing a permit or a storage magazine for HP rockets that......I think there would be a narrow but deep market for RocketFlite.

I like 'em, but not enough to deal with BATFE issues.

Best -- Terry
 

dhbarr

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The major issue with Silver Streaks is that most of them had more than 62.5 g of propellant, which means "LEUP" or similar. Today rocketeers are so used to no longer needing a permit or a storage magazine for HP rockets that......I think there would be a narrow but deep market for RocketFlite.

I like 'em, but not enough to deal with BATFE issues.
Really wish someone would make a pintled 24mm SU that's right up to the 62.5g limit.
 

RocketRev

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I hadn't thought of that Terry. That is too bad. Oh well, they were great motors. Lots of fun. I remember drag races with 20+ Loc Mini-mags all flying on the Silver Streaks. As has been said many times before, "Those were the days."
 

Mike Haberer

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Red Arrow / Shirley's hot rockets still available?

(Or is that topic /persons still verboten?!)
Sheri sold her Hot Rockets stuff to Red Arrow many, many years ago. Red Arrow went out of business many years ago.

I still have a SHR Saturn 1B and Mercury Atlas to build (although I need some parts that I either mutilated or lost as I've had the kits in a state of disassembly for over a decade).
 

shockie

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The major issue with Silver Streaks is that most of them had more than 62.5 g of propellant, which means "LEUP" or similar. Today rocketeers are so used to no longer needing a permit or a storage magazine for HP rockets that......I think there would be a narrow but deep market for RocketFlite.

I like 'em, but not enough to deal with BATFE issues.

Best -- Terry
The major issue with Silver Streaks is that most of them had more than 62.5 g of propellant, which means "LEUP" or similar. Today rocketeers are so used to no longer needing a permit or a storage magazine for HP rockets that......I think there would be a narrow but deep market for RocketFlite.

I like 'em, but not enough to deal with BATFE issues.

Best -- Terry
hey prfesser......just out of curiosity if a person was to create a BP rocket motor right at the limit of 62.5g and it ran at a chamber pressure of say 500 psi , which might increase the Isp to say 110-120 what kind of total impulse might be possible? A full F ?
 

dr wogz

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Sheri sold her Hot Rockets stuff to Red Arrow many, many years ago. Red Arrow went out of business many years ago.

I still have a SHR Saturn 1B and Mercury Atlas to build (although I need some parts that I either mutilated or lost as I've had the kits in a state of disassembly for over a decade).
I know the story of both of them very well!!

Pitty he Arrow screwed SHR (and all his motor order) customers.. but if he is still around, and someone has the $$$ to buy it all form him & make a go of it..
 

jqavins

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I think 15 years defunct is a bit too much, particularly for companies that revolve around clones of old Estes/Centuri kits. If it was something that had recently shut down I'd be more agreeable. Otherwise it'll be nearly as much work as starting from scratch. And for this reason I don't think I'd actively pursue Thrustline, Q-Modelling, FSI, or similar enterprises.
It seems to me, as a dedicated non entrepreneur, that one advantage to buying a defunct company of almost any age is that it could come with the IP as well as the name and remaining material assets. That would let you get something out to the market faster than developing and testing the heck out of a design yourself

You do it because you think you have something 'different' to offer.
That leads into a question I like to ask of anybody looking to start (acquiring is close enough in this case) a company. Why? What is it that you have to offer that's different from what everybody else is offering? Sure, my tendency to ask "Why are you doing this" probably stems from my gut reaction of "Why the hell would you do this?!" yet I think it's a valid question all the same.
[E]very item you sell carries your sweat...
Eeeww! 😁
 

Sooner Boomer

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Why would you go into business in rockets? 7000 NAR members, 1000 vendors, a bit crowded. There is a reason why rocket businesses close.
You think that's bad, you should look at the market for guitar effects pedals! A bazillion brands that do essentially the same thing, with essentially the same schematic and parts. Except *mine* give you that sweet, sweet tone that Jimi, Stevie, and Jaco all had.
 

KennB

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Take a look at Road Runner motors. They were a great mid-power composite motor out of Texas, I believe. Very reliable and a nice, different sound.
The demand was there but the founder ceased production.
 

jqavins

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On the subject of motors, if that might be a way you'd like to go, I have two thoughts.

Many folks here miss the old Estes and Centuri B14s. Especially the B14-0 to lift multistage small rockets that are over the launch weight limit for a C6. I know you can't build a business on one product, yet perhaps it's a starting point for other ideas.

Also desired by many folks here are the Klima motors from Germany. Rumor had it that Quest was looking at becoming the North American distributor or reseller for them, but it never happened before Aerotech bought Quest. Perhaps it never would have for other reasons (like transport and importation of propellants.) One possibility might be to license the "formula" from Klima and produce them locally.

Either the B14 or the Klima motors would offer a high thrust option in 18 mm, direct stagable engines, and that would be awesome.

(I, for one, have a mostly build project that I've had to shelve after realizing that there's no 18 mm booster engine that can safely lift it. It'll need to be redesigned and rebuilt for a 24 mm D12-0 booster engine. A B14-0 or D9-0 would get it going just fine.)
 

HHaase

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It seems to me, as a dedicated non entrepreneur, that one advantage to buying a defunct company of almost any age is that it could come with the IP as well as the name and remaining material assets. That would let you get something out to the market faster than developing and testing the heck out of a design yourself
It all depends on the cost of the IP, which really isn't worth as much as people think it is. I can tell you with confidence that a bank won't lend you a dime unless there's inventory and existing cashflow involved. Logos, names, designs.... unless you're actively bringing in profit, they just hold no value. It can be a difficult thing for the selling party to grasp and it's why I declined a couple opportunities. I'm not ready to spend six figures on $15k worth of body tubes and nose cones just because the designs are included. If the name/rights was cheap enough I'd consider some of the old defunct companies. But that's not what I'm focused on.

That being said.... there are opportunities out there. I just can't discuss at the moment what I mean by that.
 

prfesser

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hey prfesser......just out of curiosity if a person was to create a BP rocket motor right at the limit of 62.5g and it ran at a chamber pressure of say 500 psi , which might increase the Isp to say 110-120 what kind of total impulse might be possible? A full F ?
I think so.

In Amateur Rocket Motor Construction David Sleeter has a design for an E25 motor with 37 Ns and 57 g of propellant. Isp delivered was 66 seconds. His propellant was close to that of commercial BP, so if Goex Meal D was used in this motor, and at a somewhat-higher pressure, it should give at least a mid-F.
 

boatgeek

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That leads into a question I like to ask of anybody looking to start (acquiring is close enough in this case) a company. Why? What is it that you have to offer that's different from what everybody else is offering? Sure, my tendency to ask "Why are you doing this" probably stems from my gut reaction of "Why the hell would you do this?!" yet I think it's a valid question all the same.
The first question a political candidate gets asked is "why are you running for this seat?" One of the first questions a consultant asks when deciding whether to sign up with a candidate is "why you and not someone else?"

Those questions are both pretty relevant to starting a new business. I briefly thought of starting a small kit business but I couldn't really get past both of those. I would have had weird stuff that I liked (Charizards and batwings and tuna fins), but I couldn't really see that it had the addressable market needed to sustain even a hobby sideline business. The one with the large potential addressable market was waaaaay too much work.
 

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