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Did the US Authorities Force Mikhail Kokorich to Leave his Startup?

by Sudhir kumar

Few companies replace their CEOs before going public — not unless there is a very specific CEO-related complication interfering with the process. But, it looks like Momentus Space, founded (and until recently led) by a Russian native Mikhail Kokorich is experiencing this exact situation.

What’s up with Kokorich Mikhail Momentus Space Project?

Mikhail Kokorich founded Momentus Space in 2017 and has been in trouble with the US authorities ever since. In a nutshell, the company deals with propulsion systems for satellite delivery. One of the startup’s most promising developments is an orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) Vigoride. The OTV is powered by a proprietary water-based proportion tech that significantly reduces the costs of placing satellites into calculated orbits.

The main reason for Kokorich’s dubious reputation with the US authorities is his former satellite project. Federal agents had concerns as to the project’s investors, believing that some technology may be too sensitive and too dangerous to share with third parties, especially foreign ones. As a result, Kokorich was forced to divest from that company.

One of the top investors that trouble the authorities so much was Lev Khasis — a top management representative in the Russian Sberbank. Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and is rumored to have ties to the government, particularly Vladimir Putin.

So, it is no surprise that founding Momentus Space did not change Mikhail Kokorich’s luck for the better. In 2018, Kokorich faced a federal investigation into his immigration status. Following the results of this investigation, he was allowed to remain the company CEO but was restricted access to all technical information.

In 2020, Stable Road Acquisition Corporation expressed interest in purchasing Momentus and taking the company IPO. Immediately after that, the company stock price soared, but the record value soon went down after the announcement that Mikhail Kokorich would be leaving his CEO position.

More investigation seemed to have interfered with the going public process. Now that Mikhail Kokorich stepped down as the CEO, company CRO Dawn Harms will act as interim head.

Momentus & Stable Road Comment on the Situation

Right now, it is not clear if the US officials will stop with their rigorous investigation of Momentus Space. Even though Kokorich is no longer an acting CEO, he still remains the company’s founder and a majority shareholder. And, since this situation will not change any time soon, it is more than likely that Momentus will keep facing obstacles from the US authorities.

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However, the CEO at Stable Road Acquisition Corp, Brian Kabot, does not share these assumptions. He believes that the change in leadership will positively affect Momentus and its future. Kabot thinks that changing the CEO will alleviate the authorities’ suspicions and expedite the government’s concerns about foreign ownership.

Whatever the future may hold for Momentus, one thing is certain: Mikhail Kokorich has enjoyed a questionable reputation for years now, and this will surely have some effect on his company as well.

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