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Pushing the Limits of Possibility

The notion of pushing the limits of what's possible is very interesting to me. I think that's the core of this conversation when we're talking about space. - Lucas Bagno, Brazil, Carlson School of Management

Lucas Bagno has seen both the best and the worst economic situations in Brazil—a unique perspective he can share in his classes at the Carlson School of Management.

“When I was growing up, Brazil was growing 10 to 12 percent a year, which is quite unheard of,” Lucas said. “The crisis in Brazil saw the GDP drop roughly 10 percent, which is bigger than what was seen in the U.S. in 2008.”

Brazil went broke in 2015, the year that Lucas was set to start college. Both of his parents lost their jobs, but a scholarship package allowed him to come to the University of Minnesota, where he’s studying management information systems, finance, and entrepreneurial management.

He’s also a managing partner of Atland Ventures, the first for-profit student-run venture capital firm in the country. The firm is completing its $1.3 million fundraiser within the next two months.

“It’s not like we’re running a student group,” Lucas explained. “We’re actually running a firm that is independent from the university.”

Lucas says that Atland Ventures has opened doors for him to a world of startups and venture capital that nothing else could have. He’ll be moving to San Francisco after graduation to work for the consulting firm Strategy&, focusing on the technology, media, and telecommunications markets.

But he eventually wants to branch out on his own.

“I really want to start a company in the space industry,” he said. “I very strongly believe that the reason why we’re not on Mars, we’re not actually expanding humankind outside planet earth, is not because of technical reasons. I think it has to do with more so business and economic and social problems.”

Lucas’ interest in space was sparked by his grandfather, who gave him a children’s book by Stephen Hawking. That, along with their many visits to planetariums, inspired Lucas to want to address the barriers to space travel.

“The notion of pushing the limits of what’s possible is very interesting to me,” Lucas said. “I think that’s the core of this conversation when we’re talking about space. It’s not about space itself. It’s more so about what we believe we’re capable of.”

Date Published: April 2019

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