Bridenstine joins a company of private equity


Jim Bridenstine, a former NASA Administrator, is heading to a private equity group investing in the aerospace as well as defense industry just under a week after exiting the agency. Acorn Growth Companies, an Oklahoma City-based private equity group, announced on January 25 that it had employed Bridenstine as the senior consultant to advise the organization as it participates in aerospace, military, and security companies and supports the existing portfolio of the company. “My aim is to really focus at some of the possibilities in front of Acorn in terms of the companies with the best value, the greatest growth opportunities, and to be component of shaping the portfolio,” In an interview, Bridenstine stated, “to be a member of a few of the operating firms that are present in the portfolio of Acorn to maximize yields and expand those companies.

In his last days as the NASA administrator, Bridenstine, in interviews, did not disclose his future plans until his time at the agency concluded on January 20. Questioned if he wanted to engage himself in some form in the space business, he replied, “We will have to wait and see.” He stated the role was a good match with his history in the interview after he joined Acorn, which comprises a master’s in business management, as well as his background at NASA. “For a while, I have been fascinated when it comes to financing and investment,” he stated, mentioning the work of Acorn in industries at least close to space. “Depending on those issues, that was a really great fit.”

Another aspect, he said, is that the work is centered in Oklahoma. Bridenstine resides in Tulsa, and while leaving NASA, he said that he was hoping to spend further time there along with his family. For Acorn, recruiting Bridenstine helps the organization to tap into its experience as it gears up a new fund, Acorn Aerospace as well as Defense Fund V. In a discussion, Rick Nagel, who works at the Acorn as the managing partner, stated, “Jim does have a pretty good track record.” “He carries the whole federal space strategy viewpoint.”

To date, Acorn has not invested in firms that do business exclusively in the space sector. Nagel stated it has been able to invest in firms that have been suppliers of “tier 3” to bigger contractors and now keeps an eye on more influential businesses. He stated, “The firms that are evolving today that make money in the space sector look completely different currently than they were 10 years ago.” “Some set up a real business model, make money, fill a niche,” Nagel added that Acorn invests in more developed businesses that make profits but need financing to grow their businesses, unlike venture capital funds that make more risky investments in the early-stage startups.

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