Naveen Jain, Innovator, Philanthropist, and Entrepreneur, Is Reaching for the Moon as Co-Founder and Chairman of Moon Express, Inc.

Naveen Jain shared with colleagues at the annual Explorers Club Awards Dinner in New York that he is Co-Founder and Chairman of Moon Express, Inc., winner of a $10M NASA commercial lunar contract and a leading contender for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. Why is Naveen reaching for the Moon?   He explained, “This is an extremely exciting project as Moon exploration is vital to solving Earth’s present and future resource problems.”

It was NASA’s creation and rapid deployment of its Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data program that  convinced Naveen to invest in Moon Express.  “NASA’s proactive efforts to embrace the commercial sector have created an environment of balanced risk and opportunity reminiscent of America’s  efforts to open its western frontiers to commerce,” he said.  “Moon Express is aptly named to honor the historic public-private railway partnerships that led to national growth and prosperity, but  instead of crossing the frontiers, with Moon Express we will be crossing the stars.”

Moon Express was founded by Naveen and his two co-founders: Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, a founder of International Space University, who serves as CEO, and well known Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former NASA manager, Dr. Barney Pell, Chief Architect for Bing Local Search at Microsoft, who serves as Vice Chairman and Chief Technology Officer. All three Moon Express co-founders also work together as trustees of Singularity University based at the NASA Ames Research Park.

Naveen Jain is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and a technology pioneer. He is founder of Intelius and InfoSpace, as well as Co-Chairman of Education and Global Development at the X PRIZE Foundation. He is a trustee of the board of Flow Mobile and Coastal Aviation Software and a member of Pacific Council on International Policy.

Naveen Jain has been awarded many honors for his entrepreneurial successes and leadership skills including “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, “Albert Einstein Technology Medal” for pioneers in technology, “Top 20 Entrepreneurs” by Red Herring, “Six People Who Will Change the Internet” by Information Week. His success with Intelius has earned such accolades as “Best New Company” by the American Business Awards, Puget Sound Business Journal’s “One of Washington’s Top Three Best Workplaces”, “Rising Star” in Deloitte & Touche’s Technology Fast 500 Program, “America’s Top 500 Fastest-Growing Private  Companies” by Inc. Magazine and has been listed amongst the top 15 Corporate Philanthropists in the community.

Moon Express is a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company created to establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit. NASA selected Moon Express last fall for a $10M lunar data services contract and further selected Moon Express as one of only three U.S. companies for the initial delivery order of this “Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD)” program. The company was also announced by the X PRIZE Foundation as the newest competitor for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE, a competition to place a robot on the Moon’s surface that travels 500 meters and transmits high definition video, images and data back to Earth. Naveen says, “The company is planning to make a number of exciting announcements during the coming months. Moon Express will be sending a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development of important resources.”

Naveen believes in the boundless economic opportunities on the Moon and is a passionate advocate for space exploration. He sees the emergence of commercial space mimicking the microcomputer revolution in many ways and has natural synergies with the foundations of Silicon Valley culture. “With NASA and White House policy favoring commercial partnerships, the time is now to build on this momentum and extend the power of commercial entrepreneurship beyond Earth orbit,” Naveen said. “The emergence of commercial space resembles the global expansion for commercial applications led by every explorer from Galileo to Columbus. Commercial exploration is part of what drives us to discover new resources, so in a sense we share the same DNA with those early explorers.”

So will Moon exploration save the Earth? Naveen replies, “I believe that what we find there will improve the quality of life for all of us here on Earth.”


In addition to the above, Naveen Jain is currently focused on finding ways to use advances in science to solve some of the problems that on the surface look like infrastructural problems. Naveen is in the process of setting up an incentive prize challenge to develop “Digital Doctor” (AI based expert system) to improve access to primary care physicians around the world. He is also exploring ways to develop a Neurometric system to create better learners and to develop Neuroscience based multi-sensory video games that are effective and additive to teach students skills like math, science and history. Naveen continues to believe that we should be able to create bio-factories to reduce shortage of food and use Synthetic biology to create Microbes that can help with clean water and to generate energy from plentiful resources like ocean water.