Durham University graduate start-up, Charter, has become the first British space company to be accepted onto the prestigious TechStars Space Accelerator programme, widely considered as the world’s leading programme for start-ups in the space sector.
Founder and CEO Yuk Chi Chan (Durham University Law; 2019) established Charter in 2021 with the mission of building the new industrial standard for satellite logistics, simplifying missions with a full-stack satellite logistics manager.
Yuk Chi Chan attended Durham University to study for his Bachelor of Laws undergraduate degree, graduating in 2019. Residing at the College of St Hild and St Bede, he also held leadership positions within the Pro Bono Society (Project Vice-Director and later President) and the Krav Maga Society (Founding President).
Since graduating, Yuk Chi trained as a solicitor with Donaldson & Burkinshaw LLP in Singapore and has published a number of articles, from Who’s Right About Rights? (Cogito Magazine 12 May 2019) to Assessing a Mars Agreement Including Human Settlements (Springer Nature 2021), in addition to having work published by the European Space Agency. In May 2021 he successfully led Anchor Orbital to pitch for Durham University’s Startup Blueprint Challenge, winning the grand prize.
He has returned to Durham as an invited Law School guest speaker, most recently hosting a scintillating talk for current students on Space Law and other emerging technology-enabled fields of law; examining the skills necessary for young legal professionals to establish themselves in these rapidly developing sectors. Yuk Chi also discussed his personal experiences as a space lawyer, how they interfaced with traditional areas of legal practice, and how his Durham University Law degree prepared him to build a start-up in one of the most technically-complex industries on (and off) Earth in a more intimate fireside chat setting.
From its inception, Charter has demonstrated its prowess among defence and aerospace companies, with the recent accolade of being selected for the TechStars Space Accelerator programme.
Widely considered to be the best space accelerator programme of its class in the world, TechStars Space Accelerator programme alumni include a long list of prominent companies, amongst which Lux Semiconductors, Prewitt Ridge, Slingshot Aerospace and many more. The programme is extremely competitive, with only 12 companies being accepted out of over 500 in 2022.
Yuk Chi Chan said of the selection: “We at Charter are thrilled to be breaking ground as the first British space company to be accepted to TechStars Space, and the only non-US company featured in the class of 2022. With TechStars’ long list of incredible partner organisations, illustrious mentors, and storied alumni, we’re excited to be the newest members of the TechStars family.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to accelerate our trajectory and generate enormous amounts of momentum, which we intend to capitalise on to propel Charter to new (orbital) heights. It is a special feeling to know that TechStars, one of the space industry’s most prolific and experienced investors, recognises our value and believes in our vision. With their support and the numerous incomparable advantages in terms of resources, credibility, mentorship that come with being a TechStars-backed company, we are excited to continue building the new industrial standard for satellite logistics to make space accessible. We’d also like to thank Marek, Charlie, and Paul from Durham University’s Venture Lab and Melissa at the Alumni Office in particular for their diligent and invaluable support”.
From finding out about Yuk Chi Chan's proudest moment at Durham, to his advice for current students / graduates, you can discover more in his Durham alumni profile.