- Press Release
- May 26, 2023
New Managing Partner Joins SpaceFund Investment Team
The fast-rising SpaceFund venture capital team announced its newest member today. James Mertz brings a highly successful career in family office, energy, and real estate investing to a team that has already shaken the space investment world with its early successes and thought-leading investment strategies. Mr. Mertz joins Meagan Crawford as a managing partner of the rapidly-growing “BlastOff” fund, where they oversee and manage the fund’s portfolio of leading-edge space technology companies.
“James Mertz is a perfect fit for SpaceFund. He is a quick study, has high integrity, is sharp, hard-working, and has a laser focus on the bottom line and creating value for our investors,” said SpaceFund co-founder and board chair, Rick Tumlinson. “Coming from outside of the space field, he helps us continue to balance our vision with even more rock-solid business acumen.”
Mertz brings SpaceFund over thirteen years of experience in various energy, investing, and venture roles, including as Managing Partner at Mertz Holdings, an active early-stage family office, and President of Mertz Energy, an independent E&P company. In addition, he is a founding partner of Townsend Mertz, a real estate investment firm, a Venture Advisor for Resonant Venture Partners, and an LP Advisor at FTW Ventures.
“I’m beyond excited to be part of the SpaceFund team,” said Mertz. “To be able to combine my experience and expertise in creating portfolio value with being part of the space revolution is a dream come true.”
SpaceFund is moving into a new phase of investing. With the success of its first “LaunchPad Fund,” whose investments in 14 companies have already doubled in value in the nine months since it closed in late 2020, the “BlastOff” Fund is the next step for the company.
Managed by Mertz and long-time space business expert Meagan Crawford, the larger fund will follow on early investments by the LaunchPad Fund and bring larger allocations to bear on new rising stars of an industry that is literally taking off. Mertz has been quietly working with the company as it planned and launched the fund, integrating with the team and adding his great expertise to its formation and launch while laying the foundations for its success.
“The combination of James and his history of success outside of the space field, with Meagan and her central place in the space technology industry is a killer app for SpaceFund,” said Tumlinson. “These two are destined to be the new dynamic duo of space investing.”
Over the last thirteen years, James has generated a 39% IRR and helped grow portfolio companies to unicorn status, one of which has exited. In addition, James sourced and managed multiple capital investments, helping diversify family holdings, including Resonant VC, Neurodyn Inc., Reach Production Solutions, and many others.
“I am here to support the SpaceFund mission of opening the High Frontier by both enabling the birth and success of new space companies and helping outside investors navigate what can be a confusing landscape of shiny objects,” said Mertz. “Coming from energy and real estate investing, I am not impressed by fancy animations and slide decks. Instead, show me the team, show me the financial statements, show me the path to profits.”
The addition of Mertz is part of an overall plan by Tumlinson that began with the rollout of SpaceFund, and is designed to build credibility through access to deal flow, placement of successful investments, and leadership by an innovative team of space investment thought leaders.
“We planned from the beginning to take a step by step approach to securing our place in space investing, building credibility, becoming thought leaders and slowly adding capabilities and five star personnel,” said Tumlinson. “Meagan is already known as the ‘startup whisperer.’ Bringing James on is the next part of that plan, and integrating his amazing and pragmatic expertise from outside the space field will propel us to even higher levels. So I suggest my friends in the space field step back, as this team is Blasting OFF.”
About James Mertz
James Mertz is a Texas native. He received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and received his MBA with highest Distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and IESE Barcelona. While at Michigan, Mr. Mertz studied in Bulgaria through the Fulbright Program and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.
Mr. Mertz is also co-Managing Partner of Townsend Mertz, a diversified real estate equity fund manager, and President and founder of Mertz Energy, where he manages a technical team to source and generate oil and gas projects. Prior to these activities, Mr. Mertz started and led the Oil & Gas Downhole and Subsea division for Amphenol, a $40 billion market cap manufacturing company.
Feel free to read more about James and connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.