Disney Channel actress launching space data startup


Bridgit Mendler, an actress and singer best known for her roles in Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie” and “Lemonade Mouth,” is adding a CEO title to her resume with her satellite data startup Northwood Space.
Bridgit Mendler rose to fame with roles on Disney Channel. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Save The Children) GETTY
Key facts
  • Mendler will serve as CEO of Northwood Space, which plans to produce ground stations, or antennas on the Earth that connect and send information to satellites, she announced in a tweet Monday.
  • The startup will aim to build a “data highway between Earth and space,” Mendler told CNBC, and will focus on quickly producing and deploying ground stations to facilitate the large amount of data being sent as the space industry continues to grow.
  • Mendler said Northwood Space is launching with $6.3 million in initial funding, backed by investors including Founders Fund (which was founded by Peter Thiel, who’s worth $7.3 billion according to Forbes’ estimates), Andreessen Horowitz (cofounder Marc Andreessen is worth $1.8 billion) and Also Capital.
  • Mendler said she “fell in love with space law” at the Federal Communications Commission’s Space Bureau, where she worked in 2022 according to her LinkedIn profile, and came up with the idea for the company during the Covid-19 pandemic with her husband and co-founder, engineer Griffin Cleverly.
  • The startup will reportedly test its first connection to a satellite in orbit later this year.
Crucial quote

“Space is getting easier along so many different dimensions but still the actual exercise of sending data to and from space is difficult,” the former Disney Channel actress told CNBC.

Surprising fact

The number of satellites in space is quickly increasing: The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported there were about 5,500 satellites orbiting Earth in 2022, and suggested an additional 58,000 may launch by 2030.

Despite the rapid increase in space activity, Northwood Space says ground architecture has not changed much since the 1960s, making data transfer difficult because of the “colossal” amount of information traveling to and from space.

Key background

Mendler rose to fame with roles on Disney Channel, including the lead role on “Good Luck Charlie” (2010-2014), a sitcom in which her character makes a series of video diaries offering life advice to her baby sister.

She guest-starred in several other Disney shows, had a recurring role in “Wizards of Waverly Place” and led the Disney film “Lemonade Mouth.” Mendler has also had a successful music career, with songs like “Ready or Not,” which has 275 million Spotify streams, and “Hurricane.”

Mendler continued to release music, including her 2016 EP “Nemesis,” while pursuing higher education. She attended the University of Southern California and received her master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2020, according to her LinkedIn.

She is also pursuing a Ph.D. at MIT and a law degree at Harvard University, where she was co-president of Harvard’s space society, her LinkedIn indicates.

Mendler’s pivot from entertainment to academia has sparked admiration from fans on social media, and tweets about her resume and versatility have often gone viral.

“Hurricane” has also been widely used in TikTok videos, though the original version of the song is no longer available after United Music Group pulled its catalog from the platform.


Mendler had long teased to fans that she had an announcement on the way—which many interpreted to be a sign that new music was to come.

In November 2022, Mendler tweeted “hello world,” garnering 140,000 likes from excited fans, and “k sit tight for news,” garnering more than 80,000 likes. She clarified in a follow-up post a year later that the news “will not be what you expect.”

Mendler had previously tweeted an audio clip teasing music in April 2021, garnering 50,000 likes. She acknowledged her fans’ desire for new music after announcing Northwood Space on Monday, telling a fan who lamented the long wait: “Ever heard of satellite radio?”

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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