Space, Business, and the Business of Space with Jared Isaacman from Shift4 Payments
The FinTech industry has had its fair share of young entrepreneurs, but few are quite as interesting as Jared Isaacman, a New Jersey native and high school dropout who founded his first startup when he was just 16. Today, Jared is the CEO and Chairman of Shift4 Payments, a publicly held leading provider of integrated payment processing and technology solutions, and a cofounder of Draken International, which provides mission-critical commercial military flight services to the US Department of Defense. While others reach for the sky, Jared aspires to infinity and beyond as a commercial astronaut, with his personally funded Inspiration4 venture becoming the first all-civilian mission to space when it launched in September 2021. Inspiration4 doubles as a worldwide charity campaign, calling attention to the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for which Jared has raised over $240 million. In today’s episode, you’ll learn more about the upcoming Polaris Dawn mission, which is set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022. Listen in as Jared shares his passion for spaceflight to further human space exploration, some of the tangible philosophies that he took from SpaceX, and the additional business models he believes could arise from reusable rocket ships, as well as his recommended reads and more!
Key Points from this Episode
- An introduction to Jared Isaacman: entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civilian astronaut.
- When his journey into aerospace began and the timeline from pipe dream to space mission.
- The important role that philanthropy played in the Inspiration4 mission.
- Three tangible philosophies that Jared took from SpaceX and implemented at Shift4.
- Insight into Starlink and how the Polaris Program fits into their objectives.
- Intrinsic motivations for the Polaris Dawn mission and the private investment dollars that make it possible.
- Polaris’ responsibilities, including testing the spacesuits manufactured by SpaceX.
- The interest that the Polaris Dawn mission has garnered from the public.
- Speculating on the additional business models that could arise from reusable rockets.
- Justifying the investment it would take to get to Mars and the many social and psychological issues that would need to be resolved beforehand.
- Why Jared says the least enjoyable part of the Inspiration4 mission was coming home.
- How a multi-talented entrepreneur like Jared juggles his numerous responsibilities.
- The flexibility (and scrutiny) he experienced as a public company CEO going to space.
- Find out how Shift4’s employee base responded to going public.
- Jared’s perspective on the strategic landscape in the payment space, given the crosscurrents that are occurring.
- Why he believes FinTech business owners go to space: pure fascination, not pure capital.
- An appreciation for checklists and being procedurally driven, both in business and in life.
- Recommended reads, including the SpaceX story, Liftoff, and Mercury Rising.
- Jared shares one of his ‘white whales’; a challenge he is still seeking to overcome.