Former top SpaceX executive Tom Occhinero to set up new VC firm, filings reveal

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Former senior SpaceX executive Tom Occhinero is teaming up with SpaceX alumnus-turned-VC Achal Upadhyay and Spencer Hemphill, one of Sequoia's top finance leaders, on a new venture called Interlagos Capital, TechCrunch has learned.

There is little public information available about Interlagos, and all three did not respond to TechCrunch's request for comment. The company was formally incorporated in the state of Delaware on March 7, and it had been registered as an out-of-state company in California only a few days earlier, on April 11. Ochinero, Upadhyaya and Hemphill are all listed in the documents. The main address is in El Segundo, California.

A trademark application for “Interlagos” was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office on April 4. That application listed an address similar to the one found on the company's business registration. The application states that the company will provide “venture capital services; Venture capital financing services, namely providing financing to emerging and start-up companies.

Ochinero departed from SpaceX in February after a nearly 10-year tenure at the company, where he eventually became senior vice president of commercial business. In that role, he helped SpaceX grow into the undisputed global leader in commercial launches. people familiar with the matter told CNBC at the time Ochinero was resigning “to attend to a family medical matter”.

With Interlagos, he is teaming up with another SpaceX alumnus — Upadhyay — who spent a decade in engineering roles at SpaceX before joining investment firm Cantos as a venture partner in 2022. According to his LinkedIn, he left sometime this year. At Cantos, Upadhyay's stakes included satellite bus maker Apex Space and motion control systems developer Salient Motion, both startups led by ex-SpaceX founders.

Finance executive, Spencer Hemphill, is assembling the team. He is coming from Sequoia, where he also spent 10 years. He left the company as assistant controller sometime this year.

Ochinero is the latest SpaceX executive to move from the giant space company to venture investing. People leaving SpaceX and finding other companies or investing in them are so popular that there is a website dedicated to connecting the two groups. Other notable investors in the SpaceX-to-VC pipeline include Founders Fund's Scott Nolan, who was a very early SpaceX employee, and Alpine Space Ventures' Bulent Altan.