Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux-headhshot

Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux is an entrepreneur and investor with a passion for technologies that can push humanity forward and promote diversity and inclusion. She also serves as a Board Member and Strategic Planning Committee Chair of the National Museum of Mathematics, as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, and Women Corporate Directors, and as a Truman Security Fellow.

Her investment activities are focused on backing visionary science and technology founders from artificial intelligence to commercial space, including early investments in SpaceX, the leading commercial space launch company, and Lynk which demonstrated in 2019 the first “cell tower in space”. She was instrumental in beamed energy propulsion becoming a part of NASA’s technology roadmap in 2015, as cofounder of Escape Dynamics ranked third of the “Top 10 World’s Most Innovative Space Companies” by Fast Company, and whose technology was featured in Scientific American as a “World Changing Idea”. On the policy front, she has contributed her expertise to Council on Foreign Relations study groups on transformative technologies. She has also briefed members of the US Senate on commercial space and is a regular speaker at the National Space Symposium and at the Association of Space Explorers Congress.

Prior to pursuing her own investment activities after establishing her investment firm in 2008, Laetitia served in leadership investing roles at leading global financial firms, including as an Investment Partner at Renaissance Technologies in New-York, as an Investment Principal at TPG-Axon in both New-York and Hong-Kong, and as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs where she started her career in 1999 in London.

Laetitia was born and grew-up in France, holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School, and is married to Richard Garriott, a videogame pioneer and astronaut, with whom she has two children Kinga Shuilong and Ronin Phi.


What is your background, where did you grow up?

I’m a tech investor and was also Cofounder /President of Escape Dynamics (whose beamed energy space launch technology was added onto NASA’s roadmap in 2016 and featured both in Scientific American as “World Changing Idea” and as #3 of the “Top 10 World’s Most Innovative Space Companies” by Fast Company).

As far as space investment go, I’m an early investor in SpaceX (which now commands over 65% of the global commercial space launch market). I’m also an early investor in Lynk (which pioneered “cell towers in space” opening the way for space-based ubiquitous connectivity for unmodified cell phones not serviced by Earth-based cell towers).

I spent the early part of my career at Goldman Sachs in investment banking, before getting an MBA at Harvard Business School, and pivoting to full time investing in 2004 by holding senior investment positions at leading global investment firms TPG Axon and Renaissance Technologies. I grew-up in France where my grandfather pioneered the field of planetary geology in 1948, and after whom the “Cailleux” crater on the Moon is named.


When did you first become interested in space?

Like many kids, I dreamt to go to space camp as a kid (and one day space!), but my family couldn’t afford it.

Then, in 2010, Falcon 9’s maiden launch happened. And that changed everything. It was no longer about space camp, let alone going to space. My interest in space camp as a kid morphed into an interest about what space could bring to humanity… and the realization that this bigger dream of space for humanity was now no longer science fiction but within reach. And it hit me right then that, one of the best use of my time in the decades to come would be to support and help shape a strong commercial spaceflight industry and help unleash the outsized returns space has to offer humanity.


What do you think the biggest issue facing the industry today?

Government dollars chasing job programs, and private money chasing fantasy. Channeling resources better would get us further into our solar system much sooner. That, and the risk of a space Pearl Harbor, are what I see as the biggest issues facing the industry today… on the other hand, the industry can uniquely help solve the greatest challenge facing national security space which is speed – speed to launch, speed to adjust on-orbit capabilities, etc.


What do you like to do for fun?

Work and doing my part to make the world better… time with my kids and family… pilates, boxing, embracing a healthy lifestyle… being open to the unexpected … (also: there’s nothing quite like neutral buoyancy training and wing-waking… but I haven’t been to space yet!)


What is your favorite movie and why?

The Theory of Everything” (on the life of Stephen Hawking who was a dear friend that I admired hugely) for showing how personal hardship, no matter how big, can be overcome, and one can still live a life of amazing discovery and impact.

“Hidden Figures” for sharing with the world the little known story of this amazing team of female African-American mathematicians and their vital role in the early years of the U.S. space program.

“First Man” for showing the righteousness, honesty, and humility of Neil Armstrong in the poignant interview scene with NASA leadership who asks him about the impact that losing his newborn daughter may have on him.

What are some of your favorite books?

Amongst those that will never age, I’d say “Miss Rumphius” (a children’s book) and “Mr Rogers” – and as I look out to the 20 years head: “Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms” by British Mathematician Hannah Fry

What are you reading now?

“Everything is obvious:*once you know the answer” by Duncan Watts

Where do you see the space industry in ten years?

My wish and prediction for the space industry in ten years is that it will be more inclusive at all levels,and we’ll enter at long last the era of Humans to Mars originally proposed in 1989 by Georges HW Bush.

What would you tell people just starting out in the space industry?

Ask “what is your best use to the company’s mission”, do that only, and do it well.

Cultivate mentors but also champions, people who will put your name into consideration and open doors for you.

And to girls: speak out! I witnessed girls not being included in high level R&D meetings because “they didn’t ask”… ASK to be a full participant at the table… speak your ideas out loud so your ideas are heard… what if your idea was the one that could have changed everything?


What three words best describe you?

Impact-oriented, relentless, INTJ

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