Frequently Asked Questions

Is SCALE restricted to startups in Southern California?

SCALE is funded by the Department of Commerce, and one of the program goals is to drive startup formation, company growth, and economic opportunity in the SoCal region, including across Los Angeles, El Segundo, and Orange Country. Founders in other regions are welcome to apply, but will need to commit to relocating to or starting a business branch in Southern California. 

Who should apply?

SCALE is open to pre-seed and seed-stage companies with commercial application in aerospace. We work with companies across all aerospace verticals or enabling technologies. We are looking for technology that is TRL 3 or above and that addresses a real market need. We are looking for passionate entrepreneurs who are dedicated, full time, to building a better future.

What if I miss the application deadline?

There will be two SCALE cohorts each year, so if you miss one opportunity, know that there will be another. We want everyone to have an equal opportunity, so we don’t usually accept late applications, but if you want to request an exception due to extenuating circumstances, you may make that request by email:

What is the accelerator program schedule?

The details of the program are only shared with accepted applicants, but the 13 week schedule is composed of a mix of lectures, workshops, and 1:1s with the SCALE team and mentors. We know that you have a company to run, and we want you to take advantage of all the opportunities to meet with the industry leaders and experts who mentor with us, so lectures and workshops are limited to about five hours per week. 

Is the program virtual or in-person?

The program is a combination of both virtual and in-person events. Demo Day is the only mandatory in-person event for program participants.

Does the program cost anything?

There is no cash or equity charge. SCALE is completely free.

What makes SCALE unique?

 At Starburst, we understand the critical nuances of growing a business in the aerospace industry and how to customize tools and resources available to you. We began as an aerospace strategy consulting firm in 2012 and have been operating successful aerospace accelerator programs since 2015. Our team is composed of corporate A&D veterans, successful entrepreneurs, and brilliant folks from top consulting firms and governments who have a passion for supporting innovation in aerospace. We have an unparalleled global network of A&D primes and other leading global corporations, allied defense partners, academic and government research labs, Urban Air Mobility and IoT and other future cities initiatives. SCALE is a federally-funded, mission-driven program focused on advancing innovation and technology development. If you are curious whether SCALE, or any other Starburst program, is right for you, fill out the application, and our team will reach out to discuss details. We are committed to transforming the aerospace industry and dedicated to supporting the inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs who are building the future.

At SCALE, we bring in leaders from Starburst’s global network to teach and mentor and to expand your personal network. We focus on creating the relationships and the ecosystem that will support you through the program and beyond. And we recognize that your challenges are unique: aerospace includes a wide range of technologies and applications, and even with our industry focus and expertise, we don’t expect the program to be one size fits all. We leverage 1:1 time with our team and mentors to address your specific needs and meet your long term goals. 

I am not building a rocket or flying car, should I still apply? 

Aerospace is so much more than things that fly. Aerospace is global infrastructure. Whether you’re developing a voice recognition system for schools, an image recognition tool for healthcare, or a no-code testing tool for financial systems, we want to hear it all! Dual-use is what matters, whether you’re seeking to work in energy or bring your algorithm into a heavily-regulated sector. And if you can build it in space, you can build it anywhere.

What do you look for in mentors?

Deep-tech needs its accountants and recruiters as well as its engineers and scientists. We are looking for aerospace leaders with proven success, innovators and builders who have brought new concepts from design to market, investors who understand the intricacies of developing cutting edge technologies, professors and professional service providers who want to give back and support our community. Good mentors are passionate about what they know, curious about what they don’t know, altruistic, optimistic, and willing to share their network with and open doors for the entrepreneurs they support. Apply to be a mentor

Who can I contact for further questions regarding application submissions and/or general questions?

For any additional questions you have that cannot be found here, please email To stay up to date on SCALE announcements and other Starburst aerospace accelerators and events, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn.


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