Meet the Team: Kelyn Brannon
As Astra brings on talent, we’ll profile new and veteran members of the Astra team and community as we work toward our mission of improving life on Earth from space. This week we speak with Kelyn Brannon.
As Astra’s Chief Financial Officer, Kelyn is responsible for our Finance, Tax, Treasury, Investor Relations, Legal, and People teams.
Kelyn has over 35 years of experience in finance at both public and private companies in both the United Kingdom and Silicon Valley. She prepared and led both Calix and Arista through successful IPOs and was the First Chief Accounting Officer and Head of Finance at Amazon.com. She has also been listed as one of Silicon Valley Business Journal’s top businesswomen.
Outside of Astra, Kelyn is a master diver currently pursuing an advanced degree in Marine Archeology and is a board member and investor in Golden Gate 3D in San Francisco. She is currently an Executive Producer on the IMAX documentary “CUBA”.
What are your favorite accomplishments of the past 20 years?
At Arista, I accelerated an 11 month $4B IPO with oversight of 16 banks, SEC matters, and managed underwriter counsel. I implemented Investor Relations, Internal Audit, Sox compliance, upgraded our ERP and restructured legal and tax organization which significantly reduced Arista’s effective tax rating, increasing EPS.
I also designed and implemented Amazon’s first planning processes and systems, driving their first US and international tax restructures. This played a key role in Amazon’s international expansion into the UK, Germany, France and Japan and established the first FX steering committee.
What are you focused on at Astra?
We are looking at an incredible opportunity to support growth by simplifying access to space. Keeping our business is aligned to our growth objectives that we’ve disclosed for the next 5 years is my number one priority.
You were an integral part of Amazon in its early days. What did you learn about managing growth that you can apply to Astra?
When I joined Amazon, it was the fastest growing start-up in history. We went from ~$550m to ~ $1.6b in 12 months. I learned to work harder, be passionate about our mission to change the world, know the details by working in the warehouses overnight, always hire your next boss, remember it is ‘Day One’ and above all have fun! Astra feels very similar to the culture that was Amazon in its early days.
I look forward to taking my knowledge from Amazon, Arista and all my past experiences to the unique company that is Astra. Astra will improve life on earth and next five years will be a rocket (pardon the pun). Buckle up! Ad Astra Simul!
What’s your focus for Astra’s expansion as it approaches daily launches in 2025?
One of our values at Astra sums this up well: Simple scales. This includes rockets, satellites, spaceports, systems and processes.
We’re optimizing specifically for the small satellite and mega constellation market to open up an ecosystem to advance many different elements of our life here on Earth.
If you’re interested in being a part of the Astra team, we’re hiring.