If Mark Seidel had told us that he had spent many of his high school evenings peering through a telescope at the stars, we would have likely believed him. However, Seidel—CFO of space security start-up True Anomaly—swiftly short circuits the familiar narrative of a space-loving youth.
Instead, he draws our attention to his early entrepreneurial endeavors on eBay (he achieved power selling status while in high school), and, as for his finance career, he tells us that he has long preferred not to narrow his lens but to widen it.
Indeed, such was the case at Goldman Sachs, where he spent 7 career years as an investment banker.Read More
“At Goldman, I was a generalist, so I got to cover all different types of industries and transactions—which means that the breadth and scope of the types of topics were incredibly wide,” recalls Seidel, who notes that it was this same preference for a wide lens that drew him to the CFO role.
Observes Seidel: “The CFO role is a cross-functional one. While strategy can mean different things to different people, for me it really fits within my scope, my roles, and my responsibilities as a CFO.” –Jack Sweeney
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Episode Discussion Points
- The Evolving Space Environment: CFO Mark Seidel highlights the changing dynamics of space as a contested domain, with countries like Russia and China posing significant threats to U.S. national security. True Anomaly was founded by space operators experienced in Space Force and Air Force tactics, aiming to address challenges in space security operations.
- True Anomaly’s Integrated Solution and Mission: The company is developing a software platform called Mosaic, offering an integrated solution encompassing the entire lifecycle of space operations. This includes aspects like operator training, readiness, and response to various space-based scenarios, both offensive and defensive.
- Seidel’s Approach and Team Dynamics at True Anomaly: Seidel emphasizes the importance of maintaining high-quality work and cross-functional team dynamics. His experience at Goldman Sachs and startups shaped his approach to managing resources and driving business strategies. At True Anomaly, Seidel focuses on understanding and integrating various business aspects, like product and engineering priorities, into the company’s financial and strategic plans.
- Future Outlook and Challenges for True Anomaly: The company, being in the defense technology sector focused on space security, faces unique challenges in educating investors and the public about its mission and operations. Seidel’s role involves not only managing the company’s finances but also contributing to its strategic direction, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the CFO role in modern startups, particularly in specialized fields like space technology.
CFOTL: Tell us about True Anomaly … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Seidel: We are a defense technology business focused on space security and sustainability. What this really means is that we are in the center of the new space race, which is a little bit more complex than before because it is in an amazing new era of exploration.
Space has evolved into being a contested environment. We have Russia and China posing some of the biggest threats to U.S. national security, a lot of which actually starts or is managed or monitored in space in some form or fashion. Thus, space is a domain that is really essential to protecting peace and the interests of the U.S., our allies, and our partners.Read More
We were founded by a team of space operators who really grew up in the relevant branches of the Air Force and Space Force and then wrote and helped to define a lot of the tactics used in modern space security operations today. They ended up founding True Anomaly because they didn’t think that there was a partner out there who was well positioned enough to actually go and fill the needs and solve the problems that the space operators were facing.
What we’re doing is building an integrated solution for space superiority. This is composed of a software platform with an operating system that we call Mosaic, as well as a spacecraft design for an autonomous orbital vehicle called Jackal. We don’t necessarily sell these things as software and hardware, as just traditional products. We really sell an integrated solution that focuses on training and readiness, space domain awareness, and rapid response missions. It really encompasses the entire life of an operator, all the way from training through more responsive missions with both offensive and defensive capabilities.
Our business is relatively new, but we’ve done a ton in a short period of time. In about 18 months, we have designed, built, and integrated two spacecraft. We’re launching these no earlier than in March of next year on a SpaceX Transporter 10 mission. We use a 35,000-square-foot factory in Denver, have just crossed the 100-employee mark, and have about $20 million in signed contracts. In the world of defense tech, this is an incredibly fast-moving business. It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve been quite busy, but I’m really enjoying it.
“It’s the job of the CFO to connect the dots across the business and act as a strategic thought partner for key stakeholders. Don’t stay in your lane—be curious, ask questions, and find areas to add value, even if outside of your domain. Embrace discomfort, challenge yourself, and focus on bringing alignment and direction to the business.” –Mark Seidel, CFO, True Anomaly
True Anomaly | www.trueanomaly.space | Colorado Springs, CO