Business Incubation

ESA BIC to open in Northern Germany

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Soon entrepreneurs in Northern Germany can join the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Bremen to turn their space ventures into viable start-up companies.

The ESA BIC Northern Germany is planned to open in the coming months to join ESA's European-wide network of 20 ESA BICs already operating in 17 countries.

This was announced earlier this month at the IAC 2018 by ESA Director General Jan Wörner, German Aerospace Centre DLR Director for Space Program Gerd R. Kraft and Senator, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen Martin Günthner.

It will cover the region of seven German federal states: Bremen, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

The headquarters will be in Bremen, one of Germany’s most important international space hubs. A second branch office is foreseen to open in Berlin in 2020.

Initiated as a spin-off from ESA BIC Bavaria, it will build on the success and experience of the Bavarian centre, thus connecting two of Germany’s most important space regions and extending the ESA BIC innovation network and areas of applications for high-tech start-ups significantly.

In addition to be supported by the German Aerospace Center DLR, for the support of its start-ups, the centre will also be collaborating with the help of the local cluster association AviaSpace Bremen with many of the city's more than the 140 companies and 20 institutes of the space industry and aeronautics sector.

ESA BIC Northern Germany will be led by Aviaspace and Bremer Aufbau-Bank, who run the Starthaus supporting start-ups in every aspect of their formation tobecomingsuccessful companies.

Columbus laboratory on ISS

Being one of the centres in Europe for the production of satellite elements, space systems and aeronautical products for more than 50 years, Bremen possesses decades of experience to support both space spin-off to other sectors as well as space spin-in of new technologies.

The science laboratory Columbus and the ISS cargo spacecraft ATV were both developed at the Airbus plant and also the service module of the new NASA spacecraft Orion comes from factories in Bremen.

Since 1979 the upper stage of the Ariane launch vehicle has been constructed at ArianeGroup factory.

Furthermore, the highly renowned company OHB with its Space Systems division is located in Bremen.

30 new space start-ups

Start-ups will be selected several times during the year to join the ESA BIC and each be offered a two year business incubation package which includes:


  • Free-of-charge access to 80 hours of technical support and expertise, laboratories and testing facilities
  • Incentive seed funding of €50.000 to boost the technological innovation and business development of the new company
  • Access to additional financial facilities through the regional development bank Bremer Aufbau Bank GmbH (BAB)
  • Business development support and advice from specialized business developers and experienced mentors
  • Customized assistance for successful development of sustainable business model
  • Access to office space and shared facilities at the science park BITZ.
  • Access to IP and technology from ESA's portfolio which can form the basis for new technological innovation
  • Facilitated global networking through the international ESA BIC community
  • Facilitated access to international investors, equity investments, European funding programs for commercial space innovation and other financing opportunities
  • Right to use the ESA BIC brand in their promotion towards investors, customers and other stakeholders
  • International promotion through ESA`s space solutions online services

The plan is to foster 4 start-ups in 2018, 10 in 2019, 10 in 2020 and 6 in 2021.

They will be hosted at BITZ (Bremen Innovation and Technology Center)in the Technology Park Bremen.

Fourteen years of successful ESA Business Incubation 

The ESA BIC in Bremen will join the very successful Business Incubation Initiative started by ESA's Technology Transfer and Business incubation Office when its first ESA BIC opened in 2003 in The Netherlands.

Since then over 650 start-ups have been nurtured at the centres, to develop innovative new companies through-out Europe. ESA BICs are today present in 17 European countries providing support to entrepreneurs in over 60 cities.

Each year, 160 new start-ups are taken in for the 2-years business incubation programme.

With the Bremen centre Germany will have three ESA Business Incubation Centres, ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-WürttembergESA BIC Bavaria and ESA BIC Northern Germany.

More about ESA Technology Transfer and space solutions initiatives with its ESA Business Incubation Centres at and

ESA BIC Northern Germany is to open within end of 2018


ESA Broker Luxembourg

“Space Creativity Centre: “ Supporting the Development of Capabilities at ESEC REDU as the ESA/EU Cybersecurity Service Provider.”

Thursday, 25 October 2018

As it was mentioned at the ESEC Master plan FORUM the 25th January 2018 at Brussels, Creaction received the mission to organise the Hackathon and the Workshop for the Development of capabilities at ESEC Redu as the ESA/EU Cybersecurity service provider. Several ideas of capabilities which would advantageously fit with new business and may not have enough time to kick-start. Therefore, ESA offers the opportunity to benefit from the Space Creativity Centre fast track program in ESEC Redu to be able to outsource all time consuming tasks in complete confidentiality.

R&D teams - respectively from Vitrociset Belgium, Redu Space Services (RSS) and RHEA Group are invited to boost their most remarkable ideas into 3 successful concepts which will be validated and matured in real time (in situ) by a dozen of European experts. The objective is to fast track the ESA ESEC and European Union next decade services to the launching pad. 
The event is sponsored by ESA ESEC and supported by BELSPO. It was held at the Space Creativity Centre on the 17, 18 and 19th of July 2018 at ESA ESEC Redu in Belgium.





ESA BIC Noordwijk

Discussing patents at the work place

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Tech startups desire control over their own innovations. Not only is this the desire of startups themselves, but also of potential investors; patent protection is a must. The arrival of V.O. Patents & Trademarks as an incubation partner of SBIC Noordwijk underscores that need. Patent attorney Jasper Groot Koerkamp explains, ‘Startups deserve the best support when it comes to their patent rights.’

‘It is a good paradigm’, Jasper Groot Koerkamp says, ‘to apply innovations from space here on earth. V.O. would like to contribute to that. ESA is one of the leading knowledge institutes in Europe. That is an environment in which we enjoy working. That suits V.O.’ The company supports startups, SMEs, multinationals and knowledge institutes in optimal use of their own inventions. V.O. is one of the largest patent agencies in Europe and has branches in various European countries.

Office hours at Space Business Innovation Centre Noordwijk

Groot Koerkamp says, ‘Every 2nd Tuesday and last Thursday of the Month we will be at in Noordwijk from 09:00 till 17:00 for all companies in SBIC Noordwijk. You can meet V.O. for a no obligation discussion about the options for protecting your invention. Inventors are sometimes keen to engage with other parties but are afraid they will steal their ideas. That is one of many areas in which we can assist.’ SBIC Director Martijn Seijger is pleased with the arrival of partner V.O. in Noordwijk, ‘Our startups operate in an international market, so it is useful if our patent partner can offer that experience and support.’

Tender Evaluation Board member

V.O. also has a seat in the Tender Evaluation Board where new applications are assessed as to whether they match the incubation programme ESA BIC Noordwijk. Seijger says, ‘If we admit a company, they have an obligation to speak to our incubation partners within a hundred days and that now includes V.O.. This makes sure that they are getting aware of and know how to deal with the subject of patent protection, a subject that startups often avoid. It is very time-consuming and difficult. And if, in consultation with the patent attorney, they decide to postpone the patent issue, they do that after careful consideration and in close consultation.’

Starters deserve support with patent applications

‘It is the energy and dynamism of starters that appeals to me at SBIC’, explains Groot Koerkamp. ‘They are often far more engaged in pure innovation than large businesses. I believe starters also deserve the best support when it comes to patents and the corresponding strategy. That ensures they can enter into discussions with far larger partners well prepared and able to stand their ground.’ Seijger concludes, ‘I am really looking forward to this partnership. We are a good match, and that will provide many benefits for our participating companies. I am confident of that.’

ESA BIC Madrid Region

UTW, ESA BIC Madrid Region Startup, Precision Farming Leaders for Olive Crops

Right column

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Unmanned Technical Works UTW, company incubated in ESA BIC Madrid Region, offers solutions,consulting and technology services to various sectors in the field of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) and commonly called “Drones”.


ESA BIC Madrid Region

Emprendimiento en el sector aeroespacial: el ejemplo de ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

AUTOR  | Carlos Romero Moreno -Fundación para el Comocimienlo madri+d, Gerente, ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid- y Nuria Hernández Alfageme - ATG Europe on behalf of ESA, European Space Agency Technology Transfer Prograrmm Office-.

El emprendimiento es un factor decisivo de las economías occidentales.

"El emprendimiento es un factor decisivo de las economías occidentales. Entre el 70% y el 95% de las empresas de los países de la OCDE (en torno al 88% en España) son microempresas, el peso de la creación de empleo por parte de las empresas de mayor tamaño ha disminuido drásticamente y el concepto de micro-multinacional ha llegado para quedarse definitivamente. Pero no todos los tipos de iniciativas empresariales tienen el mismo impacto. La creación de Nuevas Empresas de Base Tecnológica (NEBTs, en lo sucesivo) conduce al auténtico desarrollo económico por sus altas capacidades de internacionalización y crecimiento. Cada vez es más importante el diseño de políticas y medidas eficaces basadas en herramientas y criterios que permitan priorizar las ayudas dirigidas a este grupo de empresas" (NEBTs 4 nuevas empresas de base tecnológica: determinantes del emprendimiento, caracterización, internacionalización y proceso estratégico, editado por la Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d).

La Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA, por sus siglas en inglés), consciente de esta realidad, decidió hace años apoyar el emprendimiento y democratizar el uso de las tecnologías del espacio, haciéndolas más accesibles a los emprendedores. Así nacieron sus Centros de Incubación (ESA BICs, por sus siglas en inglés), fomentando además las sinergias con la industria y con los socios locales.

¿Qué impacto tiene haber apoyado a más de 500 nuevas empresas emergentes? ¿Por qué se incorporan a esta iniciativa más de 140 nuevas empresas al año? La creación de cientos de puestos de trabajo y el impulso a las economías locales es la respuesta. Para ello, la ESA lleva más de 15 años invirtiendo en emprendimiento a través de sus centros de incubación, que facilitan el acceso a los conocimientos y tecnologías de la propia Agencia a emprendedores y empresas innovadoras. Y siempre conjuntamente con socios locales, como la Comunidad de Madrid en el caso del ESA BIC de Madrid, facilitando además el acceso a soporte técnico y empresarial.

Tras varios años de trabajo en la metodología y los procedimientos a utilizar, fue en el año 2003 cuando la Agencia Espacial Europea decidió apostar por los ESA BICs, como parte de su programa de transferencia de tecnología, para fomentar el emprendimiento innovador y la creación de start-ups tecnológicas derivadas de su inversión en programas espaciales. Las empresas que participan en este programa reciben soporte y financiación de la ESA y de los socios locales, haciendo especial hincapié en las carencias típicas de las NEBTs, como el desarrollo de negocio, la internacionalización, la comunicación o la búsqueda de socios y de financiación. Es clave para ello ofrecerles el servicio de mentores experimentados, para validar sus proyectos y mejorar la viabilidad de los mismos.

En su ambición por hacer accesibles a las start-ups las tecnologías del espacio, la red de ESA BICs se compone de 18 centros de incubación y sigue creciendo, ya son más de 500 empresas que han recibido o están recibiendo soporte y financiación del programa. Con una llamativa tasa de supervivencia, superior al 85% y cientos de puestos de trabajo creados por estas empresas, se puede afirmar que la iniciativa funciona.

Pero hay dificultades asociadas a la ejecución de un modelo tan ambicioso. ¿La solución? Incorporar a socios locales que conocen el tejido empresarial, lo que les permite un mayor grado de profundidad a la hora de trabajar con las empresas. El resultado, la financiación del proyecto siempre es conjunta entre la ESA y el socio local y se trabaja con procedimientos y metodologías de la Agencia pero enriquecidos localmente. En el caso de Madrid, la financiación de la ESA se ha garantizado a través de la Delegación española en la ESA, integrada por el Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad a través de su Secretaría General de Industria y Pequeña y Mediana Empresa, y el Centro de Desarrollo de Tecnología Industrial (CDTI).

¿Por qué en Madrid? Porque la Comunidad de Madrid representa el 95% del sector espacial español, siendo una de las regiones que más empleo genera en esta área en Europa. Porque este sector supone un volumen de actividad de 750M€ en España y es altamente innovador (12% reinvertido en I+D+i), productivo (3 veces más que la media en España), exportador (80% de las ventas totales se exportan) y generador un empleo de alta cualificación (Fuente: Madrid Aerospace Cluster y TEDA E). Porque hay un compromiso en la región por el emprendimiento, por el sector y por el trabajo cualificado. Por todo ello, siguiendo los pasos de Barcelona, la Comunidad de Madrid solicitó a la ESA el contar con un ESA BIC en la región, el ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid, el cual inauguró el pasado mes de junio de 2015 y, realizó su presentación oficial en febrero de 2017. Este acto fue presidido por el Director General de la ESA y por la Presidenta de la Comunidad de Madrid, contando con el apoyo del Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros de Telecomunicación (COIT). Madrid optó para su ESA BIC por un modelo basado en las sinergias entre diferentes socios.

Las empresas se ubican en los viveros de empresas de las universidades públicas de la Comunidad de Madrid, facilitando que fluya de manera natural el soporte técnico de las universidades hacia las empresas incubadas. Desde sus orígenes la iniciativa cuenta con socios estratégicos como son el Cluster Aeroespacial de la Comunidad de Madrid y el COIT.

En cuanto a los socios institucionales, la Comunidad de Madrid participa a través de tres de sus Consejerías (Consejería de Economía, Empleo y Hacienda, Consejería de Educación e Investigación y Consejería de Presidencia, Justicia y Portavocía del Gobierno) y de la sede del programa ubicada en el Centro de Emprendedores de la Comunidad de Madrid. También participan socios con amplia experiencia en tecnologías del espacio e innovación como el Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (lNTA) o el Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI).

Este modelo ha dado lugar a una red de actores clave en el sector aeroespacial y del emprendimiento coordinados por Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d, institución Responsable de la Gestión del BIC de Madrid, especializada en el apoyo a emprendedores y proyectos de base tecnológica y gestora de redes de mentores y de inversores ("business angels").

Además, la Fundación madri+d, visionaria de las oportunidades que las tecnologías del espacio brindan a los emprendedores, lleva años coordinando regionalmente las competiciones internacionales de navegación por satélite (European Satellite Navigation Competition) y de observación de la tierra (Copernicus Masters), identificando y dando soporte en la fase temprana a start-ups y emprendedores que incorporen en sus proyectos el uso innovador de infraestructuras satelitales.

Cerrando el círculo están las empresas incubadas, las verdaderas protagonistas de este proyecto. Empresas que trabajan en multitud de sectores y que se caracterizan por el mayoritariamente perfil técnico de sus promotores y de sus trabajadores. Por ejemplo, se está apoyando a proyectos que desarrollan soluciones para sectores como el aeroportuario, el ferroviario, el de la logística, el aeronáutico o el de la robótica colaborativa. No sorprende, por tanto, que los ingenieros de telecomunicación tengan un papel relevante dentro de los proyectos, siendo uno de os perfiles habituales en las start-ups del programa. Esta transversalidad está en el propio ADN de la Ingeniería de Telecomunicación.

Así, una empresa incubada en el programa desarrolla drones para mejorar las calibraciones en aeropuertos, dotando a sus clientes de una mayor autonomía y ofreciendo una drástica reducción de costes. Esta empresa, Canard Orones, ha firmado un contrato por un año con AENA, su primer cliente, para atender siete aeropuertos de España y ha conseguido 16 premios nacionales e internacionales en sus dos años de vida.

Otra empresa, Axter Aerospace, desarrolla soluciones híbridas para la aviación. Con su experiencia en electrónica de potencia y almacenamiento de energía, diseñan sistemas mucho más eficientes pero, sobre todo, mejoran la fiabilidad de los vuelos y, consecuentemente, aumentan la seguridad de las personas.

El desarrollo de vehículos no tripulados también es relevante en el ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid. Estos proyectos conllevan unos grandes desarrollos tecnológicos y proponen soluciones innovadoras a problemas actuales, soluciones en muchos casos complementarias a las actuales: más económicas o más seguras. Estamos hablando de usar vehículos no tripulados para luchar contra incendios, como proponen Drone Hopper y NF Advanced Engineering, para mejorar el control portuario y de inmigración, como propone UTEK, o para mejorar los cultivos de olivos, como propone UTW. Por supuesto, empresas que desarrollan hardware son también habituales en el programa. Desde los dispositivos para la disipación térmica usando el efecto corona en el que está trabajando Cedrión hasta los simuladores solares LED de Saiens Energy. Otras empresas incubadas trabajan en temas tan relevantes como los sistemas de monitorización de la polución que fabrica Automated Devices o la ayuda a la movilidad de invidentes ofrecida por GEKO Navsat. Los proyectos de desarrollo software tienen cabida en el programa, como la solución de optimización logística de OBUU, la de cálculo de elementos finitos de Idaero Solutions o la plataforma de robótica colaborativa de Robotics Software Developments.

Aunque parezca poco evidente, todas estas empresas han incorporado en sus proyectos tecnologías procedentes del sector espacio o están usando infraestructuras del espacio de una manera innovadora. Es decir, la incorporación a estos proyectos de patentes, algoritmos, materiales, geoposicionamiento, observación de la tierra... está consiguiendo hacerlos más competitivos.

Viendo los resultados positivos de la iniciativa y la cantidad y calidad de los proyectos apoyados, la ESA ha decidido dar un paso más e incorporar a empresas que desarrollen también proyectos del espacio. Porque hasta ahora, los centros de incubación de la ESA albergaban proyectos que incorporaran tecnologías o uso de infraestructuras del espacio para aplicaciones no espaciales. Pero desde 2018, también se buscan los mejores proyectos que ofrezcan productos o servicios innovadores, posiblemente combinados con nuevos modelos de negocio, para la futura industria espacial (espacio 4.0). Por ejemplo, la optimización O el desarrollo de procesos, componentes, subsistemas (o sistemas espaciales completos), mejorando la cadena de valor en cargas de pago, satélites, lanzadores y estaciones de tierra, desde la definición de concepto, la construcción, fabricación, ensamblaje, integración y testeo, usando tecnologías de otros sectores diferentes al espacio como la automatización, big data o impresión 3D.

Después de 15 años desde su lanzamiento, los ESA Bies siguen creciendo, tanto en presencia europea como en start-ups apoyadas, convirtiéndose en un ejemplo de simbiosis entre grandes y pequeñas empresas, entre el sector público y el privado, entre instituciones regionales, nacionales e internacionales. Y, sobre todo, se ha convertido en un referente en creación de empresas de base tecnológica, en generación de empleo cualificado y en impulso a las economías regionales.


ESA BIC Madrid Region is the Business Incubation Centre (BIC) of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Community of Madrid, coordinated by the madri+d Foundation, which provides funding, business and technical assistance to entrepreneurs (incubatees) in arder to set up their business using space technology for general non-space industrial scientific and commercial uses (spin-off) or using non space technology for proposing products and services for the space sector (spin-in).

The ES4 BIC Madrid Region opens in 2015 and is 50% co-financed by ES4 and by Community of Madrid, through the Regional Ministry of Economy. Employment and Treasury. ES4 funding has been guaranteed through the Spanish Delegation at the ESA, consisting of the Ministry of Economy. Industry and Competitiveness through its General Secretariat of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprise and the Centre for the DeveIopment of Industrial Technology (CDTI).

Regional and national partner institutions include: Madrid Aerospace Cluster -Madrid Aeronautical and Space Platform (MPAE), the Spanish Official Association of Telecommunication Engineers (COIT), Madrid Science Park (PCM), UC3M Science Park, UPM Montegancedo, URlC Technologic Móstoles, the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTl) and the National lnstitute of Aerospace Technology (INTA).

  Carlos Romero Moreno -Fundación para el Comocimienlo madri+d, Gerente, ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid- y Nuria Hernández Alfageme - ATG Europe on behalf of ESA, European Space Agency Technology Transfer Prograrmm Office-.

Carlos Romero Moreno -Fundación para el Comocimienlo madri+d, Gerente, ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid- y Nuria Hernández Alfageme - ATG Europe on behalf of ESA, European Space Agency Technology Transfer Prograrmm Office-.


Artículo publicado en la revista BIT del Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros de Telecomunicación (COIT).

Acceso al artículo en formato PDF.

ESA Space Solutions

test web newsletter 2

Friday, 31 August 2018

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ESA Broker Norway

Space technology transfer featured in Haugalandet Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The June issue of Haugalandet Chamber of Commerce magazine features an article (in Norwegian) on the topic of space to non-space technology transfer in Norway. The basis for the article was the HavBrunch seminar held in April for the aquaculture sector.


Photo: Terje Emil Johannessen, Haugalandet Chamber of Commerce



Thursday, 14 June 2018


Press release
ESA Broker Norway

Utilization of space technology in the aquaculture industry

Friday, 4 May 2018

How can space technology benefit in creating value for the aquaculture industry and where to they start? This was the focus when the aquaculture industry of western Norway gathered in Haugesund to learn what ESA and Validé can offer in terms of technology transfer. The event was recorded and is available on YouTube (in Norwegian):


Video: Oddbjørn Austevik


Business Incubation

FUEL FOR INNOVATION – ESA BIC start-ups in aerospace

Monday, 23 April 2018

How will we fly in the future? How can we make aircraft greener? What is the Next Big Thing that will disrupt the aerospace sector? Ten ESA Business Incubation Centre start-ups will be on stage at the Future Lab at ILA Berlin Air Show 26 April.

The ILA Future Lab provides a first look at the aerospace technologies that have the potential to change our world, how we travel and how we do business. Hosted by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the ILA Future Lab exhibition features cutting-edge technologies in space and aviation.

The Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Programme Office of the European Space Agency manages the Space Solutions Programme, which has created the world’s largest ecosystem for space related Entrepreneurship. The 18 ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) support 160 companies per year and more than 600 new start-ups have so far been fostered.

Meet the most disruptive ESA start-ups together with Head of ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Centre Office Frank M. Salzgeber, ESA BIC Manager Frank Zimmermann and Sabine Dannelke, the Head of Division Satellite Navigation/Galileo, Digitalization of Public Transport at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Berlin, Germany.

ILA Future Lab – 2018 ILA Air Show FORUM Hall 2/204 on 26 April 13:15 – 14:45

SESSION 1: Production, Communication, Tracking

Moderator and introduction:

Sebastian Straube, Founder and CEO of Interstellar Ventures

Pitches by ESA BIC start-ups:

Bastian Behrens, Blackwave from ESA BIC Bavaria

Murat Karakaya, CargoSteps from ESA BIC Darmstadt

Giovanni Cavolina, 9T-Labs from ESA BIC Switzerland

Jens Heinrich, NAiSE from ESA BIC Darmstadt

SESSION 2: Fuel of Innovation

Moderator and introduction: 

Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Centre Office

Panel members: 

Frank M. Salzgeber, ESA

Frank Zimmermann, ESA BIC Darmstadt 

Sabine Dannelke, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Berlin

SESSION 3: Ligthweight Production

Moderator and introduction:

Sebastian Straube, Founder and CEO of Interstellar Ventures

Pitches by ESA BIC start-ups:

Lyssandre Rammos, SkyFlox from ESA BIC Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Maurizio Migliore, Touchless Automation from ESA BIC Switzerland

Alexander Henhammer, Kumovis from ESA BIC Bavaria

Alexander Burwitz, NF Advanced Engineering from ESA BIC Madrid Region

Nicolas Hornillos, OBUU from ESA BIC Madrid Region

Thorsten Gröne, Cevotec from ESA BIC Bavaria



Open Cosmos Raises $7 Million on its Mission to Democratise the Satellite Industry

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Current ESA BIC Harwell company Open Cosmos has raised $7 million in a series A funding round as part of its mission to make satellites more affordable and more accessible to everyone. The round was led by BGF Ventures, with participation from LocalGlobe, Entrepreneur First, Transferwise cofounder Taavet Hinrikus and Microsoft’s former head of corporate strategy, Charlie Songhurst.

Located at ESA Business Incubator in Harwell Campus, 13 miles south of Oxford, Open Cosmos intends to use the money to grow the team from 22 to 50 staff, get facilities to manufacture 30 satellites a year and to significantly increase its marketing activity. 
The company was founded on the prestigious Entrepreneur First incubator program in July 2015 by Rafael Jordà Siquier, who studied aerospace engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, before completing an MBA and work for a disruptive launching company and a big space corporation.
Jordà Siquier is democratising satellites in the same way that computers were democratised after their initial rollout in the 1960s. “Early mainframe computers were extremely expensive, there were only a few of them in the world and they were predominantly used by big organisations,” he said. “They were several square metres in size until a few intrepid entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley made them portable, more affordable and disrupted a whole industry. Thanks to that, everyone now uses them. At first they didn't know what they would be using them for but now we all have indispensable applications in our pockets. The space industry is ripe for the same disruption We believe that our end-to-end service based on smaller, more affordable, more accessible satellites, will enable new applications to emerge.”
Read full article here. 

ESA BIC Harwell Alumni Satavia Feature in Barclays Case Study

Tuesday, 17 April 2018
Environmental data intelligence startup Satavia needed financial help and mentorship to turn its unique business idea into a reality.
Satavia is an environmental data intelligence company that aims to enhance safety, performance and operating costs in aviation. It built a platform that combines data, models and advanced analytics to track aircraft exposure to atmospheric contamination (such as dust, sulphur and volcanic ash).
Founder and CEO Dr Adam Durant was able to gain access to working capital with help from the Barclays High Growth & Entrepreneurs team, while the Barclays Eagle Labs gave him the facilities he needed to grow his company.
Satavia has plans to make big changes to the world of aviation.
Read full article here

ESA BIC Harwell Alumni Rezatec Raise £2M Investment for Expansion

Monday, 16 April 2018
Rezatec – the leader in satellite big data analytics – is working with Metro Pacific Water to improve the availability of drinking water and sanitation in the metropolitan cities of Manila and Iloilo in the Philippines.
Metro Pacific Water is the water and wastewater investments arm of the Philippines’ leading infrastructure conglomerate, Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
For several years, Rezatec has been deploying its services to water utilities around the world, and now, as part of a continued global expansion into new markets, it is collaborating with Metro Pacific Water to reduce degradation of the Maasin watershed area and Laguna Lake – two core sources of water.
In the first of two separate projects, Metro Pacific Water commissioned Rezatec to analyse the status of the Maasin watershed in Iloilo on Panay Island, an area that over the years has increasingly suffered high degradation due to slash and burn farming practices and firewood harvesting. Earth observation data is being used to map the entire area – equivalent to 7,000 hectares of land – and conduct a stream inventory of the Tigum river tributaries. Using historic data mapped against new geographical baseline data Rezatec can monitor land use change such as deforestation for agriculture and illegal burning, and identify damage caused by regional typhoons and seasonal weather patterns, all of which have an impact on water quality.
The second project involves geospatial analytics to determine those areas of Laguna Lake – the largest lake in the Philippines with a surface area of 922 km, located East of Manila - which are susceptible to water pollution from urban, industrial waste and agriculture. This includes the mapping of land use around the lake – which has seen water quality deteriorate to Class C - that contribute to the localised water pollution. Furthermore, using Rezatec’s unique data modelling techniques, accurate estimates of pollution source location and dispersion patterns of specific pollutants that might be discharged into the lake are being provided.
“We are very excited to collaborate with such a pioneering business. Their powerful satellite analytics coupled with their experience in working with water utilities all over the world to identify the sources of water degradation and pollution are an absolute asset for us. Rezatec are allowing us to understand - with a high level of precision - the origin of the biggest water quality offenders and prepare for remedial action. This has been possible to achieve within weeks with satellite analytics, saving months of ground observation and data collection in areas that are in real need of attention,” explained Yang Villa, Senior Manager for Public-Private Partnerships & Lead for Industry Innovation - Metro Pacific Water, Philippines.
“Rezatec is really excited to be working with such an innovative company as Metro Pacific Water. It is clear that the use of satellite-derived data analytics is highly relevant and powerful for them to support their watershed management challenges. By helping them truly understanding their areas of interest regarding land use and water pollution, we are providing tools that can help improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and preserve their precious water resources,” commented Philip Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer – Rezatec.

ESA BIC Alumni Bird.i Secure £210k of Regional Grant Funding

Monday, 16 April 2018
Satellite and aerial imaging specialist Bird.i has secured £210,000 of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) funding from Scottish Enterprise, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse announced today on a visit to the company’s Glasgow headquarters. 
In addition to creating 14 new high value jobs, the support will also allow Bird.i to scale up its operations, enhancing its product offering by providing intelligence on the images it takes. The company hopes that this expansion will help them target new sectors such as energy and engineering.
Mr Wheelhouse, said: “Bird-i is an impressive example of an innovative small business and I’m delighted that Scottish Enterprise has been able to support the company’s growth with an RSA grant of £210,000, which will help create 14 new jobs in Glasgow.
“Small and medium sized enterprises are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy, and businesses like Bird-i are helping to develop the digital skills talent we have here, as well as increasing our pool of specialists in new technologies, and we are keen to support their aspirations to expand their business.
“Bird.i’s close ties with the world’s leading satellite operators – Airbus and Digital Globe –bring a real international focus on the digital skills base here in Scotland and our capabilities in data analytics and that is something I very much welcome.”
Founded in 2016 by Corentin Guillo, a French entrepreneur with a background in Earth observation satellite development, Bird.i provides both cutting-edge imaging and intelligence services. The company collates the best satellite, airborne and drone imagery every day, in order to build up a high quality, accurate view of the changing world. By applying proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision techniques such as unsupervised learning or similarity search to their unique imagery and data, Bird.i extracts actionable insights, better, faster and at a much greater scale than trained human eyes to answer a range of business needs, issues and questions.
A wide variety of companies can benefit from Bird.i’s services, across a diverse range of sectors. Current case studies in the construction and infrastructure industries include detecting new construction sites or tracking the location and progress of ongoing building projects over a specific period of time. Examples related to financial services include measuring the crude oil storage at the tank, refinery or country level in real-time; as well as monitoring the transportation of commodities, such as grain, in order to build a picture of supply and demand.
Corentin Guillo, Bird.i CEO and Founder said: “The establishment of Bird.i in Scotland following the completion of a first investment round was a bold decision which has been motivated by the access to local talents and the support from the Scottish Government. This RSA funding will help to establish further Bird.i’s presence in the Scottish ecosystem and become an employer of choice.”
Rhona Allison, interim managing director for company growth and innovation at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This expansion represents an exciting step forward in the evolution of Bird.i. Scottish Enterprise is delighted to have supported the company at each stage of its development from initial strategy and management planning though the High Growth Ventures team, to equity investment and ongoing account management support. We look forward to working with Bird.i as it continues to work towards achieving its ambitious growth plans.” 

AutoNaut Are Using Automated Sea Vessels for Monitoring the Oceans

Monday, 16 April 2018
ESA BIC Alumni AutoNaut has developed an autonomous boat that is propelled by the waves and carries ocean sensors powered by solar energy.
Advances in ocean monitoring are improving our understanding of the seas and environment, including marine life, sea temperatures, pollution and weather. However, fuel, maintenance and manpower for research ships are costly, and sea conditions restrict where measurements can be made.
The AutoNaut start-up from ESA’s Business Incubation Centre in Harwell has come up with a revolutionary automated surface vessel to collect data for long periods at a fraction of the cost.
The vessel is propelled by a unique wave foil that harvests energy from the natural pitching and rolling at sea. Speeds of 2–5.5 km/h are maintained under most sea conditions.
It is one of the world’s first small commercial applications of wave propulsion and it can operate at sea for many weeks at a time, covering hundreds of kilometres in a week in areas and conditions too hazardous for humans.
It is so quiet that it can measure the whistles and clicks of dolphins over large areas. Using satellite networks, the AutoNaut receives its instructions from anywhere in the world. It can carry cutting-edge, solar-powered sensors to capture raw measurements, process the data onboard and then send them back to the operators via satellite.


Business Incubation

The ESA Story – How new business models disrupt space business

Friday, 13 April 2018

This year at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, USA, a panel is being held to discuss the theme of How new Business models disrupt Space Business.

The aim is to discuss the current trends and the future of investments in the space industry taking into consideration how Space 4.0 helps to achieve this.

The Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Programme Office of the European Space Agency manages the Space Solutions Programme, which has created the world’s largest ecosystem for space related Entrepreneurship. The 18 ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) support over 150 companies per year and more than 600 new start-ups have so far been fostered.

Meet the most disruptive ESA start-ups that will be on stage together with ESA Director General Jan Wörner, Head of ESA`s Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Centre Office Frank M. Salzgeber and representatives of the space Industry.

The panel takes place in the International Center North Wednesday 18 April, starting 15:30.

How new Business models disrupt Space Business - Part 1: 15:30-16:10


Jan Wörner, ESA Director General

Frank Salzgeber, Head of ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Centre Office

Panel members - INDUSTRY

Frédéric Lorscheider, Thales

Fritz Merkle, OHB

James Hinds, Airbus

Giulio Ranzo, Avio

Luigi Pasquali, Telespazio

ESA BIC Start-ups

Ernst Peter Hovinga, HIBER (Netherlands),

Markus Knapek, Mynaric (Germany)

Rafel Jorda Siquier, Open Cosmos (UK)

Christian Bec, Syntony (France)

How new Business models disrupt Space Business - Part 1: 15:30-16:10


Jan Wörner, ESA Director General

Frank Salzgeber, Head of ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Centre Office

Panel members - INDUSTRY

Pascale Ehrenfreund, German Space Agency DLR

Jean-Pascal Le Franc, French Space Agency CNES

Nico van Putten, Dutch Space Office NSO

Sylvain Laporte, Canadean Space Agency CSA

Maria Cristina Falvella, Italian Space Agency ASI






    Technology Transfer

    2018 ActInSpace competition – APPLY NOW

    Thursday, 12 April 2018

    Friday 25 and Saturday 26 May, CNES, ESA and ESA BIC Sud France will be organizing ActInSpace®, the top international competition devoted to space applications. Discover all the possible applications of space technologies, invent tomorrow’s innovations or simply come along and enjoy the event. 


    24-hour hackathon

    Midway between a hackathon and a start-up weekend, ActInSpace® will be held concurrently in some 40 countries and 70 cities on all five continents. Open to entrants from all horizons, the competition aims to develop entrepreneurship and forge ties between space stakeholders and citizens by setting challenges for teams to solve based on patents, software, data or space infrastructures. ActInSpace® was initiated by CNES in May 2014.

    After the first event held in France in 2014 and the second extended to Europe in 2016, this year’s ActInSpace® is going global. Looking to consolidate the space sector’s dynamic image and show how space technologies are serving applications in all areas of our daily lives, ActInSpace® 2018 will be present on all five continents.

    Aimed at students but open to entrants from all fields and levels, ActInSpace® pits teams of two to five against each other, giving them just 24 hours to devise an innovative and realistic project for a start-up on the basis of challenges set by CNES, ESA, Airbus and other partners of the event.

    This year, competing teams will be able to demonstrate their prowess in a number of new areas such as NewSpace, humanitarian response and space exploration.

    Presenting proposals

    The teams will be assisted over the weekend by engineering and business coaches on hand to help them present the best project possible to the judging panel.

    Each city and country will select the most promising team for the international final in Toulouse on Wednesday 27 June at the Toulouse Space Show 2018. If a country has several cities among the winners, it will select its best team to go forward to the final.

    Airbus is once again the gold sponsor and event partner this year, sending experts to the competition, setting a number of challenges and providing two prizes. ActInSpace®’s growing reputation has attracted many new partners, among them Air Zero G, CLS, GSA, EBAN, Invivo, Qwant, FabSpace, Invest In Toulouse and Toulouse Business School. Some of them will also be offering prizes or setting challenges for the teams to solve.

    Zero G parabolic flight

    The first prize will be a parabolic flight aboard the Airbus Zero-g aircraft used for microgravity experiments and training, giving the winning team the unique chance to experience weightlessness. This prize is sponsored by Air Zero G and ESA.

    To turn the great ideas and ActInSpace projects into new European companies, ESA and its Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office encourage the participants to join one of ESA´s Business Incubation Centres throughout Europe. More than 550 new start-ups have been fostered at the 18 centres, which are taking in 140 new applicants each year.

    Note the weekend of 25–26 May in your diaries today !

    Learn more at

    About ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Centre Initiative

    ESA´s Technology Transfer and Business Incubation initiative promotes the transfer of technologies and related intellectual properties (patents) from ESA`s R&D and the Agency´s space programmes, as well as the use of satellite date, to develop new solutions and systems for citizens on Earth.

    Started in 2004, today ESA has a network of technology brokers in 15 countries and 18 ESA Business Incubation Centres in 15 countries throughout Europe. The centres have fostered over 600 new companies supported so far, and is taking in 160 new start-ups yearly.

    Learn more at

    About ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Sud France

    Set up at the Paris Air Show in 2013, the ESA BIC Sud France is ESA´s first such centre in France. There are 17 others throughout Europe. The centre is coordinated by the Aerospace Valley competitiveness cluster in conjunction with CNES and the SAFE cluster. It comprises six incubators in the Nouvelle Aquitaine, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions: Technopole Bordeaux Technowest, ESTIA Entreprendre, Théogone, the Midi-Pyrenees and PACA-Est incubators and the Montpellier BIC.

    Since its inception, ESA BIC Sud France has incubated 55 start-ups, all having a connection to space, either through technology spin-off, satellite data analytics or applications (Earth observation, GNSS, etc.) or a product designed for the NewSpace market.

    Learn more at


    ESA BIC Sud France

     Sylvie Lagarrigue / Tel: +33 (0)6 79 68 14 05 /

    Aurélie Baker / Tel: +33 (0)5 61 14 58 02 /


    Pascale Bresson Press Officer / Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39 /

    Raphaël Sart Press Officer / Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51 /


    ESA BIC Portugal

    Space Founders Dinner, the growing Portuguese Community

    Thursday, 22 March 2018
    Last March 19th, we had the pleasure to co-host with our partner DNA Cascais the second edition of the Space Founders Dinner in Portugal.
    The dinner took place in Cascais, joining the community of ESA BIC startups as well as companies and national institutions involved within the space community.
    At the event, we had representatives from the European Space Agency (ESA), Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto (UPTEC), DNA Cascais, the Nova University of Lisbon and the municipality of Cascais.
    It was a great networking event, promoting collaborations and joint developments, fostering the National Space community.
    The Sensar team in front of the Botlek Bridge in Rotterdam
    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Democratizing InSAR for civil engineering

    Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    If you have ever seen a land surveyor at work, you can imagine that accurately measuring or inspecting a large piece of urban area can be quite a time-consuming task. Not to mention the costs involved when traffic has to be shut down in order to inspect a highway or a bridge. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if land surveying could be done from a distance – perhaps even from space?

    Our latest incubatee, Sensar, proposes exactly this. Using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar – or InSAR – the tiniest variations in the earth’s surface can be measured by satellites. The technique uses the slight differences in the phase of the radar waves returning to the satellite in order to pick up millimetre-scale changes to the earth surface over time.

    Sensar will make InSAR data available to civil engineers at construction companies, engineering firms and infrastructure managers. Because InSAR is based on radar, it works just as well at night and on cloudy days. And because measurements are made from space, no road blocks are necessary.

    Space radars for road works

    “I personally see many possible applications for InSAR in civil engineering,” says Jos Maccabiani, one of Sensar’s five co-founders and a geotechnical engineer himself. “But the technology is still quite unknown and too difficult to work with. And in general, the space industry is not very good at connecting with the non-space sector; at understanding their problems and connecting with customers.”

    Sensar hopes to bridge this gap by providing civil engineers with InSAR data in a format that fits their specific needs. Engineers should for instance be able to use the data in their own software environment, even combining the InSAR data with computer models or traditional measurements. “We do not want to take the place of the engineer. We just want to give them access to a powerful data set to combine with all their other tools to best serve their customer,” adds Maccabiani. “We want to democratize InSAR.”

    Competition and customers

    There are a few similar projects out there, but according to Maccabiani, Sensar’s approach is unique: “Most competitors are university spin-offs and tend to focus on customized, individual work for each new project. We want to turn this around: learn from each project what we should change to our InSAR Platform so that we can do less custom work and focus on efficiency and quality control. This makes our solution more scalable and thus more affordable.”

    As such, Sensar is looking for long-term partnerships with their customers. The launching customer, Strukton Civiel, a large Dutch construction firm, already recognized the value in Sensar’s ambition and the two companies have entered into a productive collaboration to further the uptake of InSAR in civil engineering practice.

    Learning from other entrepreneurs

    The Sensar team applied for incubation in ESA BIC Noordwijk even before they officially founded the company. “We have never started a company before, so we really hope to learn a lot from the other entrepreneurs in the network.”

    Jos Maccabiani signing the incubation contract on behalf of Sensar.



    Wave Power Meets Space Technology – for smarter, zero carbon ocean monitoring

    Monday, 5 March 2018

    Advances in ocean monitoring are providing more insights about our seas and environment than ever before, from marine life, to sea temperatures, pollution and weather. However data collection can be expensive - fuel, maintenance and manpower for research ships are costly, and sea conditions limit areas in which data can be gathered.

    Cue an exciting new generation of ocean monitoring – a revolutionary ‘unmanned surface vessel’ (USV), which can collect data for longer periods of time, at a fraction of the cost, and with wide ranging scientific and industrial applications - from monitoring marine life to military surveillance, piracy control, fisheries protection and the offshore gas, oil and renewables industries, to name a few possibilities.

    Pioneering marine technology start-up, AutoNaut Ltd, has developed the AutoNaut USV propelled entirely by the waves, with zero carbon emissions. It is one of the world’s first small commercial applications of wave propulsion technology and can operate at sea for months at a time, covering hundreds of miles in a week in areas and operations too hazardous for humans. It is so quiet it can measure the whistles and clicks of dolphins over large areas. Remotely controlled from anywhere in the world via satellite, the AutoNaut houses cutting edge, solar powered sensors that capture raw research data, which are analysed, processed and then sent back to the operator on land, anywhere in the world, via a satellite communications network.

    The Autonaut team have just completed a two-year business incubation programme at the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre UK, at Harwell (ESA BIC UK), which is managed by STFC. Here they used highly specialised satellite navigation and communication systems to refine their navigation system and control capabilities, and deliver near real-time data collected from the USV sensors. Backed by the ESA BIC UK business support package, which includes £41.5k grant funding and dedicated business support, Autonaut has already taken part in a number of missions including with NATO, the Royal Navy, the UK Met Office and offshore engineering industries.

    David Maclean, Director at AutoNaut said: “AutoNaut is revolutionary and will help us to understand our environment better at a fraction of the cost of manned technologies. Our society and economy rely on accurate data sourced from our oceans on a consistent and non-interfering basis, and having access to the business support, technology and expertise through STFC and ESA has made a massive difference to us in our journey towards commercialising our product.”

    Sue O’Hare, Operations Manager at the ESA BIC Harwell said: “AutoNaut is an inspirational example of how space and technology can be applied to address our research and industrial challenges. But turning a game-changing idea like this into a viable commercial reality is a massive challenge in itself. I’m thrilled that the ESA BIC Harwell has provided AutoNaut with the right environment and support to do this, and I wish them every success as they take their business to the next level.”


    ESA Broker Norway

    Open Call for Demonstrator Proposals - Selection campaign #2

    Monday, 19 February 2018

    Have you ever wondered how technologies originally developed for space can benefit your earthly applications? Validé AS in collaboration with ESA and Norwegian Space Centre just opened the second selection campaign for technology transfer projects where Norwegian companies and individuals can apply for funds to help demonstrate space technologies for non-space applications; "bringing space down to earth". Be sure to apply or share the information with someone you think might benefit!

    Application deadline for this second camapign is March 23rd 2018.

    Business Incubation

    Become an ESA BIC start-up

    Monday, 12 February 2018

    The schedule for the ESA Business Incubation Centres (BIC) Selection Campaigns in 2018 to evaluate new proposals and to select candidates for the centres are listed below. Applications can be submitted at any time during the year, however it is advised to contact the individual ESA BICs before applying for further information and specific site requirements.

    Selection campaign #53 with deadline 12 February to 15 March 2018 and evaluation in March

    Selection campaign #54 with deadline 4 May to 22 June 2018 and evaluation in June-July

    Selection campaign #54B with deadline: 3-13 September and evalutiona in September

    Selection campaign #55 with deadline: 27 September to 8 November 2018

    Applications can be submitted to the following ESA BICs:


    ESA BIC Contact Person: Bruno Naulais

    To know more on ESA's business incubation, please contact:


    or contact directly one of our ESA Business Incubator Centres.




    ESA BIC UK Company Lacuna Space is Pleased to Announce its Sponsorship of The Things Conference

    Thursday, 1 February 2018
    Lacuna Space has been developing Internet of Things connectivity over satellite since 2016 and is based in the ESA Business Incubation Centre at Harwell campus, with several regional offices. Their vision is to provide low-cost, simple and reliable global connections to sensors and mobile equipment which works everywhere, and all the time, so you can focus on using your data. Lacuna Space is please to announce its sponsorship of The Things Conference ( running from 1st to 3rd February 2018 in Amsterdam, NL.   
    This is the leading LoRaWAN developer conference organised by The Things Network and is expected to attract over 500 attendees for presentations and workshops from over 40 industry leading presenters.  
    Thomas Telkamp from Lacuna Space will be presenting ‘LoRaWAN from Space’ explaining how the Lacuna Network will enable existing LoRaWAN™ devices to talk to satellites when out of the reach of terrestrial networks, and thereby enabling coverage of the entire planet. 
    Lacuna’s collaborator, and the inventor of LoRa, Nicholas Sornin of Semtech, will be presenting the long-term future of LoRa.  
    Lacuna Space expects to begin trials of its beta service of ‘The Lacuna Network’ in late 2018.  It is currently working with device manufacturers, application developers and end-users such as micro enterprises with huge ambitions, social enterprises and large multinational companies.  
    For more information visit

    ESA BIC UK Company Lacuna Space is Please to Announce its Sponsorship of The Things Conference

    Wednesday, 31 January 2018
    Lacuna Space has been developing Internet of Things connectivity over satellite since 2016 and is based in the ESA Business Incubation Centre at Harwell campus, with several regional offices. Their vision is to provide low-cost, simple and reliable global connections to sensors and mobile equipment which works everywhere, and all the time, so you can focus on using your data. Lacuna Space is please to announce its sponsorship of The Things Conference ( running from 1st to 3rd February 2018 in Amsterdam, NL.   
    This is the leading LoRaWAN developer conference organised by The Things Network and is expected to attract over 500 attendees for presentations and workshops from over 40 industry leading presenters.  
    Thomas Telkamp from Lacuna Space will be presenting ‘LoRaWAN from Space’ explaining how the Lacuna Network will enable existing LoRaWAN™ devices to talk to satellites when out of the reach of terrestrial networks, and thereby enabling coverage of the entire planet. 
    Lacuna’s collaborator, and the inventor of LoRa, Nicholas Sornin of Semtech, will be presenting the long-term future of LoRa.  
    Lacuna Space expects to begin trials of its beta service of ‘The Lacuna Network’ in late 2018.  It is currently working with device manufacturers, application developers and end-users such as micro enterprises with huge ambitions, social enterprises and large multinational companies.  
    For more information visit
    Press release

    Open Cosmos - 1 of 10 Exciting Companies in Science Vale

    Thursday, 25 January 2018

    Congratulations to our current ESA BIC company Open Cosmos for being selected as one of ten exciting companies in the Science Vale, Oxfordshire. Science Vale contains two of the UK’s leading big-science research centres at Culham and Harwell.  Strategically located midway between the M4 and Oxford (home to the world’s number-one ranked university), the region extends into the North Wessex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty. Science Vale encourages you to think big and to run free – to let your business, your family and your social life flourish. Open Cosmos are amongst the most ambitious start-ups, global leaders and award-winning companies based in the life science, space and medical innovation hubs at Science Vale.



    Open Cosmos - 1 of 10 Exciting Companies in Science Vale

    Thursday, 25 January 2018

    Congratulations to our current ESA BIC company Open Cosmos for being selected as one of ten exciting companies in Science Vale, Oxfordshire. Science Vale contains two of the UK’s leading big-science research centres at Culham and Harwell.  Strategically located midway between the M4 and Oxford (home to the world’s number-one ranked university), the region extends into the North Wessex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty. Open Cosmos are amongst the most ambitious start-ups, global leaders and award-winning companies based in the life science, space and medical innovation hubs at Science Vale. Full article available here


    ESA - European Space Agency and SAP present the SPACE BUSINESS ACCELERATOR
    ESA BIC Portugal

    ESA - European Space Agency and SAP present the SPACE BUSINESS ACCELERATOR

    Tuesday, 23 January 2018

    Exclusive offer for our ESA BIC startups below!


    ESA - European Space Agency and SAP present the SPACE BUSINESS ACCELERATOR 

    ESA TTPO and SAP have engaged in a partnership to scale up ESA BIC startups.

    A global innovation program focusing on working with niche companies building cutting-edge next-generation enterprise solutions on SAP HANA.

    Suitable for technology entrepreneurs who base their ideas on Big Data, Predictive and/or Real-time Analytics solutions.

    ESA BIC’S shortlisted companies will get free-of-charge development & technical support, business mentoring and customer exposure from SAP.


    To participate, please enroll at


    More info at the SAP Startup Focus Program website and SAP training sessions on SAP’s openSAP learning platform


    To find out how to become one of our ESA BIC Startups and benefit from our exclusive offers please contact your local BIC!

    ESA Space Solutions

    ESA - European Space Agency and SAP present the SPACE BUSINESS ACCELERATOR

    Tuesday, 23 January 2018

    Exclusive offer for our ESA BIC startups below!


    ESA - European Space Agency and SAP present the SPACE BUSINESS ACCELERATOR 

    ESA TTPO and SAP have engaged in a partnership to scale up ESA BIC startups.

    A global innovation program focusing on working with niche companies building cutting-edge next-generation enterprise solutions on SAP HANA.

    Suitable for technology entrepreneurs who base their ideas on Big Data, Predictive and/or Real-time Analytics solutions.

    ESA BIC’S shortlisted companies will get free-of-charge development & technical support, business mentoring and customer exposure from SAP.

    To participate, please enroll at

    More info at the SAP Startup Focus Program website and SAP training sessions on SAP’s openSAP learning platform

    To find out how to become one of our ESA BIC Startups and benefit from our exclusive offers please contact your local BIC!

    ESA BIC Portugal

    IPN leads European space project

    Monday, 8 January 2018

    Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN) will coordinate an European acceleration project for 150 startups who find new business opportunities in the area. The Astropreneurs starts on January 9 with the first meeting of the various partners

    Astropreneurs manages a budget of two million euros to leverage new business ideas aimed at the space market or incorporating space technology into terrestrial applications. Funded by the European Commission through the H2020 Program, this project will create new businesses, generate employment and stimulate economic growth in cooperation with industry, investors and national and European institutions. Astropreneurs is coordinated by Portugal through IPN and brings together various partners from Germany (CESAH), Austria (Brimatech), Belgium (Verhaert), Spain (KIM), France (Aerospace Valley), the United Kingdom (STFC) and the Czech Republic (CzechInvest).

    Around 500 entrepreneurs will have access to intensive training, which includes 50 hours of mentoring and consulting led by 100 experts to support entrepreneurs in accelerating their projects and attracting public and private funding for faster entry and consolidation in Marketplace.

    To help turn promising ideas into viable businesses, Astropreneurs opens the door to a vast network of investors, industry and support agencies that integrate the so-called "Space Economy" so that companies get the most out of target markets and opportunities. Entrepreneurs also have access to a set of technical workshops and meetings with key stakeholders in the space industry. Applications open in September.


    Space is increasingly a source of economic growth and innovation

    For a long time, the space sector was more focused on strategic objectives related to space science and exploration. However, this reality has changed and this sector has attracted the attention of other actors, such as states, companies and private investors. The "Space Economy" has become a sector with real impact, bringing disruptive innovations and many new business opportunities, especially when applied to other land sectors of the economy.

    For example, Galileo, the European satellite localization system, providing unparalleled precision, is creating its own business area, with hundreds of startups starting to explore this opportunity.

    EGNOS, a forerunner to Galileo, is a complementary system that increases the accuracy of satellite navigation signals in Europe and can also support new applications in a variety of sectors, such as aviation or precision agriculture.

    The European Copernican program, which provides Earth observation data in real time, is another source of spatial data that is being incorporated into new products and services of the future in areas such as environment, civil protection and civil security. 


    To know more about Astropreneurs

    Follow the project on Facebook, and check the its website for updates.


    New system uses drones to monitor railroads

    Thursday, 4 January 2018

    SigmaRail, a company incubated by ESA BIC Madrid Region and located at Universidad Carlos III Science Park, has created a system that uses drones and a new computer program to make automatic inspections of railroads. This innovation, which geolocates possible incidents on rail corridors, makes it possible to reduce costs and increase the train safety.


    The goal of this new development, presented at the ninth Conference on Railway Innovation, is to be able to recognize the good condition of train track elements in images taken by drones. The drones fly over the railroad corridor by means of new image recognition software created by SigmaRail in collaboration with the research group at the UC3M Intelligent Systems Laboratory.

    Afterwards this information is integrated in SigmaQ, a platform that permits accessing the digitalized corridor. “It is like a kind of Google Maps for railroads that allows the geolocation of trains on the tracks,” said Mario Fernández Marín, one of the founders of SigmaRail. “For a train that travels at 300 kilometers an hour, it is very important to know whether a signal, a sign or a curve is 15 meters ahead or behind,” he added. This system also detects possible incidences or obstructions on the tracks.

    To be able to recognize the elements installed in the railroad corridor, it is necessary to manage a large quantity of information. For example, according to the company, a 20-minute flight for each drone entails 2 GB of data. If we consider that each unmanned drone operates for six hours a day, terabytes of data are generated every week. This is why processes that streamline and reduce costs are required. “The definition and refinement of our algorithm of image recognition permits automation of all these processes,” said Norberto González Díaz, another of the founders of SigmaRail.

    This automation translates into a saving on costs and an increase in safety, for both users and workers. For example, workers will no longer need to access the railroad corridor to check the condition of the tracks, because the software would detect any modification.

    This company was founded by three Spanish engineers who work abroad: one in Australia, one in Ivory Coast and one in England. “We decided to come to Spain to set up this project because we think it has a lot of potential,” said a company spokesperson. In fact, they have already collaborated with multinational companies, and the company is the first to fly over the railroad corridor in Spain, thanks to a project with ADIF--Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (Administrator of Railroad Infrastructures).

    SigmaRail participates in the ESA BIC Autonomous Region of Madrid-UC3M Node program, a company incubator project of the European Space Agency managed in Madrid by the madri+d Foundation with the support of the regional government. Its objective is to facilitate incentives for business projects and startups that use space technologies or develop applications based on the same to create new products and services. The Company Incubator of the UC3M Science Park is one of the four nodes that comprise the ESA BIC Madrid Region.

    This article was originally published by UC3M Science Park

    Chinese version available to download.

    Press release
    ESA Broker Spain

    INTERVIEW · Jorge Gómez (Canard Drones): “Our drones are already operating in tests at several European airports”

    Wednesday, 13 December 2017

    Canard Drones is a company selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Fundación Madrid+d to take part in the ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid incubation programme. This programme drives business projects that use space technologies or develop applications based on these technologies to create new non-space products and services.

    The team of KIM, ESA’s broker in Spain,has interviewed Jorge Gómez, CEO of Canard Drones.

    During this incubation period at the ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid programme, Canard Drones will develop an air navigation aid system. Could you explain briefly what this system consists of?

    I put you in context. The air transport industry is the second largest in the world. In 2016, for example, it generated €650 million in revenues and there were 37 million flights, which carried 3.5 billion passengers. Security is a top priority in this industry. And the greatest number of accidents occurs when the planes are landing. To ensure that aircrafts land safely, airports use visual and radio beacons, known as Navigation Aids. These beacons are checked from the air and calibrated using manned aircraft. The technology we are developing would allow this calibration to be performed automatically with the help of drones, much faster, cheaper and more effective.


    What does it mean for a startup like Canard Drones the opportunity to participate in the ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid programme?

    When we decided to participate in this programme, we just had an idea. We had not even put it on paper. But in less than 12 months, thanks to the support of ESA and Fundación madri+d, we have been able to realize this idea in a system that effectively calibrates air navigation assistance systems at airports. And we already have 30 international airports interested in our technology. In addition, we have received 15 international innovation & entrepreneurship awards, which have provided us € 350,000 in cash, and we have just closed a financing round of € 1,200,000. All this would not have been possible without the support received from ESA and Comunidad de Madrid.


    Space technology is designed to operate in environments with high physical (temperature, pressure, resistance) and logic (software robustness) demands. For this reason, it´s usually very attractive to the customer. Is it the case of Canard Drones´ customers?

    Yes. One reason why we use space technology is because it allows us to have a lot of precision. Our system uses EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), developed by the European Space Agency, the European Commission and EUROCONTROL. This technology, combined with positioning systems (also very precise), allows us to obtain a precision of 2 cms. While the usual error range of a GPS is about 2 meters on land and 17-18 meters in height. This high degree of precision is fundamental for our customers.


    I suppose the fact that the technology is backed by the ESA is a guarantee of reliability for the customer as well.

    Yes. The customer appreciates that you use technology that has proven to be totally reliable and with very high availability.


    Canard Drones was born with the goal of “developing smart drones for smart airports”. When do you expect drones to be operating at our airports?

    Our drones are already operating in tests at several European airports. The regulation prohibits drones from operating near an airport if the airport’s permit is not available. But our system is designed to operate inside the airport, so it´s the airport itself that requests the operation. Thus, it´s easier to get authorization.


    What particularities does the development of a technology that will be applied in an airport have?

    It has many conditioning factors, because airports are very restricted environments for three reasons. First, there is the technical/technological part: the infrastructure of airports are very sensitive to electromagnetic interference. In addition, there are many systems operating at the same time. On the other hand, there is the operational part. In order to be able to operate in an airport, you need to define an operation. This operation must be validated by the corresponding Civil Aviation Authority (in the case of Spain, AESA, the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency). Finally, there is the regulatory part, which determines what technologies can operate within an airport and in what scenarios of use. The combination of these three elements is what makes very special to operate in an airport.


    ESA Tech Landing 2016
    ESA Broker Spain

    Space technology to prevent head-clogging of ink-jet printers for ceramics

    Wednesday, 13 December 2017

    Breogán Pato is a Spanish researcher of the University of Bergen (Norway). His Project, “Preventing head-clogging of ink-jet printers for ceramics (tiles) by the use of an advanced fluid filters” (original name: “Prevención de la obturación de los cabezales de impresoras ink-jet cerámicas mediante el uso de filtros fluídicos avanzados”) won the “ESA Tech Landing 2016” contest. This contest is an initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA) and KIM, ESA’s broker in Spain. The objective was to discover new applications outside the aerospace industry for the technologies developed by the Agency.

    “The motives that led me into participating to this contest are multiple”, says Breogán Pato. “On the one hand, the possibility of applying space technology to everyday life appeared to me as a very attractive challenge. And I liked the idea of getting in touch with ESA and the Spanish aerospace industry. Furthermore, as a researcher, I was very interested in receiving the training in technology transfer that KIM offered to the winner of the contest. Being capable of transferring the results of research to the industry is a skill that is every day more demanded by universities”.


    The issue

    The industries that use printers in their production are increasing daily. This process is known as “additive manufacturing”. One of these industries is precisely ceramics.

    The solution devised by Breogán Pato is based on the use of an advanced fluidic filter (pat 642) developed by ESA to prevent head-clogging of ink-jet printers for ceramics.

    “I am a researcher in new materials. In 2013, while I was working in the Institute of Ceramic Technology in Castellón (Spain), I noticed that ink-jet printers for ceramics recurrently had problems with the obstruction of printing heads due to the presence of agglomerates in the ink. In order to solve this problem, filters suited to the design of the ceramic printers had been added. However, these filters also emerged to show persistent obstruction problems,” explains Breogán Pato.


    The technology

    “The advanced fluidic filter developed by ESA consists of a new structure that maximizes the filtering surface and prevents obstruction and accumulation of particles”, indicates Breogán Pato. “The design of the filter is conceived with a high filtering surface, which significantly improves the pressure fall and makes the filter less prone to getting obstructed. Furthermore, its structure shows several alternative passages for the fluid, thus guaranteeing a constant flow of liquid in the filter and impeding the accumulation of particles. Because of this, I believe that this filter could solve the issue of head-clogging that often emerges in ceramic printers.”



    Possible applications

    Beyond its use in the ceramic industry, Breogán Pato foresees that the solution that he has designed could be successfully applied in sectors that use metallic nanoparticles for the printing of its products. This is the case for the new generation of screens with the “quantum dot display” technology or for radio-frequency identifiers (RFID), which are both widely used by several industries to avoid thefts and to improve the identification and localization of products, animals, etc.

    Being the winner of the “ESA Tech Landing 2016” contest, this researcher has the opportunity to present his project at the selection process that takes place to enter one of the ESA Business Incubation Centres, the network of incubators of the European Space Agency.

    In the near future, Breogán Pato would like to take advantage of this opportunity to explore the commercial possibilities of the solution that he has devised.

    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Magnitude Space becomes Hiber

    Monday, 11 December 2017

    Almost sixty years after the moon landing, the word ‘space’ still breathes futurism, innovation and pushing boundaries. But in the business community, ‘space’ also stands for high risk, high cost, and high energy consumption. This is one of the reasons that incubatee Magnitude Space recently rebranded and chose the new name Hiber. As CEO Ernst Peter Hovinga said in Satellite Today: “Hiber is no longer a ‘space’ company. We are an ‘Earth’ company.”

    Connecting the world

    The mission of the now 1,5-year old company is still the same, explains CFO Coen Janssen: “We want to provide global connectivity for the Internet of Things. IoT allows all kinds of objects to send really small messages, such as their status or their temperature.

    “For this purpose, we provide little modems, which basically sleep 99% of the time, until our satellite flies over and they can send their message. So it is like they are hibernating, hence the name Hiber. That was also one of the last unclaimed 5-letter words on the internet.”

    Hundreds of small sats tracking billions of things

    Janssen explains that there is still a big untapped segment in the IoT market. “Almost all trucks in Europe are connected via GSM, but their trailers aren’t, and so those do get lost or stolen. And there are billions of other ‘crazy’ objects that have some value and are interesting to track, such as hazardous chemicals on transports, or cattle in Australia, or fishing trawlers on the ocean. We say: throw out those expensive satellite solutions and get a cheap Hiber modem.”

    Hiber has secured enough funding to launch its first two small satellites in the Spring of 2018 and is currently discussing next steps of funding. “We decided to go for two satellites on two launchers to spread the risk,” explains Janssen. “We are piggybacking on scheduled launches by the Indian Space Research Organisation and SpaceX. Anyone who has ever launched a small payload knows this can drive you crazy, since the big contractors get to make all the decisions and might suddenly delay the launch.”

    Beating the competition to the punch

    Apart from the pre-launch jitters, Janssen is not too worried about the future of his business. “There are some comparable initiatives, but I don’t think this will be a ‘winner takes all’ market. The potential is enormous, and there is a lot of compatibility in IoT, so one system does not necessarily exclude the other.”

    Janssen definitely does not see traditional satellites as a threat: they are too expensive and their development cycle is too slow. “This already amazed me during my studies in Aerospace Engineering: we send up the latest technology, but use rockets that haven’t changed for sixty years ‘because it works’. Meanwhile, the (consumer) electronics market is overtaking the space sector in innovation speed.”

    With its new name, Hiber is cherry picking the best of both worlds: the potential from space, backed by the innovation that goes with a tech startup. The newly branded company now has 20 people on staff, one office in Amsterdam, and a lab in Delft.

    ESA BIC Austria

    Startup Melange

    Tuesday, 5 December 2017

    Frequent get-together of incuabtees and team to get to know the new incubatees, update about news and network with invited external experts while enjoying breakfast and coffee.

    ESA BIC Austria

    Investment Club

    Thursday, 30 November 2017

    We offer our incubatees on a regular basis the opportunity to pitch in front of an audience consisting of potential investors. 

    ESA BIC Portugal

    Three Years of ESA BIC Portugal

    Monday, 27 November 2017

    16 companies and 56 new jobs are applying space technology in terrestrial sectors with an export capacity of 40% and an annual return of almost 900 thousand euros in 2016. These are the numbers of three years of existence of Incubation of the European Space Agency in Portugal (ESA BIC Portugal), coordinated by Instituto Pedro Nunes and supporting startups that transfer space technology for terrestrial applications. 

    In this third year of activity, ESA BIC Portugal announces the entry of five new projects and the graduation of six startups that, with the support of this program, have managed to reach a stage of maturity.  Carlos Cerqueira noted that ESA BIC Portugal "demonstrates the maturity of the Portuguese space industry and the ability of Portuguese startups to find new solutions and business for the terrestrial market from space technologies."
    Horizontal Cities, Stratio, Tesselo, Fibersail and Theia, which apply technology initially designed for Space in areas such as transport, natural resources, maintenance industry and archeology, are the five new companies joining the others supported. 
    Horizontal Cities, winner of the Vodafone Big Smart Cities 2015, created the first GPS application for cycling users that allows navigation through flat routes in the city of Lisbon.
    Also operating in land transport, Stratio, uses space technology in heavy duty vehicles to predict and anticipate the occurrence of severe wear and tear, allowing timely actions by transport companies and, consequently, a reduction in maintenance costs and and a reduction in the emission of polluting gases. Stratio was one of three startups selected at the 2017 Web Summit as an example of the use of space technology in terrestrial markets.
    Tesselo, which has developed a technology aimed at companies that manage terrestrial natural resources, combines satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to provide real-time geospatial information through a system that continuously monitors the state of agricultural crops and forest and forest health. forests.
    Another new incubator of ESA BIC Portugal is Fibersail that promises to revolutionize the way currently is the prevention and monitoring of fatigue of large structures in the markets of the wind industry and maritime transport. With a fiberoptic measurement and monitoring system that allows you to measure - remotely and with high precision - the shape of any structure, Fibersail can provide information on the behavior of, for example, wind turbines in real environment, allowing builders to create more efficient and secure structures. 
    Theia is the fifth new company to join the ESA BIC community with a project that allows the remote detection of archeological sites and resources based on satellite imagery, allowing for very large archaeological assessments, quickly and accurately, avoiding delays and cost overruns in large works such as motorways.
    The three first years of ESA BIC Portugal also mark the first six graduates: Active Aerogels, Findster, D-Orbit, Space Layer Technologies, Airborne Projects and Eye2map are companies that survived the startup phase and reached maturity with the support of this program.
    Active Aerogels, which developed the world's first spray airgel with super-insulation properties, and can be used at temperatures ranging from -250 to 400 degrees, went from the prototyping phase to an industrial scale with mass production capability. Created initially to isolate rockets, Active Aerogels' innovative and unique product is expanding to land-based markets, useful in construction, to replace thermal insulation foams and in the aircraft industry, to end the wear and tear caused by traditional material which covers the planes. 

    Findster has created, through geolocation technology, a system that allows the user to have absolute control over the location of children, elderly and pets and does not require the payment of monthly fees for their use.
    D-Orbit develops Atmosphere Analyzer, an innovative approach to ionosphere sampling, where during the reentry maneuver, the satellite passes through an ionosphere region between 80km and 150km, collecting data and transmitting it to the land. To this day, this region has been little investigated for being too high for stratospheric balloons and too low for satellites.
    Space Layer Technologies has developed the SOUL application which, through satellite Earth Observation data, provides alerts on city air quality to patients with respiratory diseases, minimizing the impact of pollution on their lives.
    Airbone Projects is developing an unmanned aircraft landing station (UAVs, drones) to switch batteries and solve the problem of the limited time of their flights when they fly, for example, large agricultural or forestry areas. Maintenance of power lines, electronic surveillance and precision agriculture are some of the sectors that benefit from this technology.
    Eye2Map is dedicated to the provision of imaging services and geographic information obtained by drone, aircraft or satellite that can be applied, for example, in the measurement of coastal erosion, burning areas, volume of wood, disease detection and pests in plantations and monitoring works of art or monuments.
    The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and the Deputy Minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, attended the 3rd anniversary of ESA BIC Portugal.
    At the session, Niels Eldering, who has been involved in ESA's incubation program at European level for 15 years, considered Portugal "one of the most enterprising members" of ESA. "Portuguese entrepreneurs stand out for their persistence, they do not give up."
    João Gabriel Silva, Dean of the University of Coimbra, Carlos Brito, Vice-Dean of the University of Porto, Ana Abrunhosa, President of the CCDR and Teresa Mendes, President of the Board of Directors of Instituto Pedro Nunes.

    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Eyeplane aims for Dutch drone hub

    Friday, 24 November 2017

    Many of the companies in the ESA BIC program do not meet the pizza-and-beer startup stereotype, nor do they fit into the myth of the Silicon Valley-type garage startup. In fact, most entrepreneurs in the program have a solid background as engineers, business developers, or both.
    Eyeplane is an example of such a team that is bursting with experience. When asked about his background, business developer Jurriaan Pröpper answers that he “makes money-making machines.” CEO Rob Sturm, who has almost a decade of experience as a manager in the aviation business, and who has been an entrepreneur for more than 15 years, says he enjoys coming up with new ideas “but ideas aren’t any fun unless you can bring them to market.”
    Drones for a good night’s sleep
    Their startup Eyeplane, which they co-founded with Rutger Kramer, proposes an innovative fixed-wing drone service, which will be able to monitor large areas of land from the sky and warn customers in case of irregularities.
    The starting point for the business was not (just) love for drone technology, but a very concrete customer question. Pröpper explains how they arrived at the business idea: “When I meet entrepreneurs, I always ask them two questions: How do you make your money and what keeps you up at night?” Pröpper met their soon-to-be launching customer ‘Johan’, who loses precious sleep because of troubles that Eyeplane can solve by watching his property from the sky in real-time. “In retrospect I followed the lean startup approach from the customer need to the solution and technology,” Pröpper says.
    The Eyeplane team is hesitant to share too many details about their business case. “What we propose does not exist yet, but someone else could in theory have the same idea.” Sturm explains. “That is why we joined the incubator: to speed up our development.”
    Fire alarm
    Both Sturm and Pröpper enjoy speaking in metaphors. Right now, “the car is there, and we have to build the right engine from available components,” Pröpper explains. Meanwhile, Sturm as CEO of the startup is “playing chess on several boards at once.”
    The Eyeplane service itself can be described as a ‘fire alarm’: “we don’t prevent anything, but we can observe from the sky and quickly alert the customer in case of danger to prevent damage,” Pröpper explains the metaphor. “My time at Unilever has taught me that a good business case combines the functional with the emotional. Emotion does not cost anything, but a good night’s sleep is priceless to a customer.”
    The Netherlands as global drone hub
    Eyeplane hopes to scale up to a global service very soon, but the roots of the founders and their business remain solidly in South-Holland. “We want to add a little bit to the Dutch glory. This is one of those problems that we in The Netherlands are better equipped to solve than the people in the countries where the problem is,” Pröpper believes.
    The men have grand plans to make the Netherlands the global hub for drone service technology, preferably right here in their own back yard in Noordwijk.

    ESA BIC Portugal

    Portugal @ NewSpace Conference

    Friday, 17 November 2017

    Portugal is already positioning itself until 2030 (Portugal 2030), in Luxemburg, at the first "NewSpace Conference". The Portuguese winner of the 2nd Prize Space Exploration Masters on sustainability, Fadhil Musa was present, representing Portuguese young entrepreneurs. , Several representatives of the Portuguese space industry, and the National Space Office were also present, as well as one of the first ESA BIC Portugal alumni, Space Layer Technologies - winner of the Governance Copernicus Accelerator Program 2017.

    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    From language learning app to the future of education

    Monday, 13 November 2017

    When Knowble entered the ESA BIC program in 2015, they had a simple yet revolutionary idea: why not use the GNSS-location of students, plus readily available news articles, to help them learn a (second) language? It has been shown that language learners pick up new vocabulary more quickly in concrete situations than from a text book. Knowble would offer users bite-sized pieces of news in their target language, depending on where they were and what they were doing.

    Changing focus

    Two years later, the technology stands and the company has successfully graduated from the ESA BIC program. However, the focus of the company has expanded somewhat. “We ran into some copyright issues concerning re-publishing newspaper articles in our app, especially outside The Netherlands. So it became difficult to scale to a global market,” Knowble’s managing director Jozef Misik explains. “But educational publishers were very interested in our algorithms and the AI behind the application. So we pivoted to becoming a technology provider to educational publishers.”

    Knowble now focuses on developing tools that help publishers produce their textbooks and other educational materials. “We mostly optimize business processes in the back end: understanding the difficulty of a text, making sense of a lot of content automatically, analyzing where a text is from.”

    Robot teachers?

    With their algorithms, Knowble connects to a much larger societal issue. “Last year, UNESCO warned that there will be a massive teacher shortage by 2050. The amount of knowledge that is available and that children need to learn is growing. Also, people nowadays have to keep re-educating themselves after college. Education needs to be scaled to keep up with the demand.”

    Misik certainly doesn’t propose replacing all teachers with robots, although he does see the role of computers in the classroom growing. “Right now there is usually 1 teacher per 20 kids. With the support of computers, that could grow to a ratio of 1 to 100. The teacher would become a type of manager or safekeeper, with more time to dedicate to the kids, instead of the study materials.”

    Knowble will continue innovate education, moving beyond language learning and into different subjects. Keep an eye on the ESA BIC Noordwijk’s website and social media channels to keep up with the developments of Knowble and other alumni.

    INFANTE, by Tekever PT
    ESA Broker Portugal

    First satellite created by Portuguese industry has connection to Earth

    Thursday, 2 November 2017

    INFANTE is a development and demonstration microsatellite project that will be in orbit (to be launched in 2020) as a precursor of a constellation for Earth observation and communications with a focus on maritime applications. The project was presented last October 19th, during the International Meeting of AED - Aeronautics, Space and Defense Cluster, in Oeiras.
    INFANTE will be the first satellite developed by Portuguese industry, articulated in a national consortium led by the TEKEVER group, which integrates nine companies with references in the space sector such as Active Space Technologies, Omnidea, Active Aerogels, GMV, HPS and Spinworks; and 10 internationally recognized R&D centers in their areas of competence, such as CEIIA, FEUP, ISQ, FCT-UNL, INL, IPN, IPTomar, ISR Lisbon, IT Aveiro and UBI.
    INFANTE will establish the basis for new lines of business associated with the space sector, based on new products, services and processes, contributing to strengthen Portugal's position in the international space landscape.
    The INFANTE space segment includes a modular and low-cost microsatellite, equipped with a software-defined radio with air and maritime surveillance functions; propulsion system for orbit maintenance; solar panels and their mechanisms; and cargo bay with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and multispectral camera, along with scientific experiments and technological validation.
    In the soil segment, the INFANTE project includes the development of a new system for rapid assembly, integration and testing, adapted to small satellites and frequent launches; and a data hub to aggregate, process and disseminate information.
    The consortium is joined by satellite data users to support the demonstration of INFANTE results, such as the National Maritime Authority, IPMA or INIAV; other domestic companies; and international organizations such as the Innovation Academy for Microsatellites of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Federal Fluminense Institute of Brazil or the French CLS.
    INFANTE takes place between 2017 and 2020 and has an investment of 9.2 M €, executed by a team of 150 researchers, engineers and technicians, of whom 40 are PhDs. It is co-financed by Structural Funds in the context of the Portugal 2020 Program's R&D IS Mobilization Programs.

    The Synext team with their first prototype
    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Converting waste steam into profit

    Thursday, 19 October 2017

    Anyone living near an industrial area will be familiar with the sight: the white tufts of steam coming from the chimneys of factories. “Waste,” figure the factory operators. “Energy!” say Tjewei Hu and Sana Fateh, co-founders of ESA BIC incubatee Synext. Synext develops a thermodynamic engine that converts this surplus steam into valuable electricity and hot water.

    Synext focuses on re-using steam between 100 and 200 degrees Celsius, a range that was long seen as uninteresting to large industries. Current energy recapturing technologies like Organic Rankine Cycle or Vapor Recompression are complex and expensive, making them unsuited for capturing low-energy waste steam. “Our technology works on much lower temperatures, requires no power input except for the steam, so its self-sustaining, and needs no permanent manning or monitoring,” Synext-COO Sana Fateh sums up the advantages.

    With their technology, the Synext founders hope to capture part of the 2 billion euros of energy that almost literally goes up in smoke in The Netherlands each year. Across Europe, the industrial sector loses up to 50 billion euros worth of energy through its chimneys.

    The idea for Synext was born in 2015 in collaboration with machine manufacturer Geurtsen. The start-up was accepted by Climate-KIC and later by Yes!Delft, before an ESA BIC alumnus advised the Synext team to go visit the Industry Space Days. Via ESA Broker Verhaert they found exactly the technology they were looking for: an energy recovery system originally used for satellite thrusters, developed by an Austrian company. “They described very clearly the advantages and shortcomings,” recalls CEO Tjewei Hu. “Luckily, most of the points of improvement had to do with the small size of the original system, so it was easy for us to scale it up and improve it for our use in industrial systems.”

    The idea comes at the perfect time, as climate change is becoming an ever more important issue for policy makers and marketeers. “This range of low-grade waste steam would not have been seen as interesting ten years ago. Steam was seen as just water vapor,” explains Fateh. “But we now know that steam is also a greenhouse gas. Because of the Paris Climate Agreement, companies have to change.”

    CEO Hu has grand plans for his company, tackling not only the 50 billion European market, but also moving to large manufacturing markets such as China and India. “Many factories in China are located in or very close to cities. Because of stricter pollution regulations they will have to make a choice: move their entire plant, or install a system like ours.”


    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Out to Lunch with HeatAway

    Thursday, 5 October 2017

    Having lunch outside of the house is usually a choice between a soggy sandwich from a lunchbox, or an expensive (and often unhealthy) meal from a take-away shop. ESA BIC Noordwijk’s new incubatee HeatAway means to change this with their portable, self-heating lunchbox.

    Pressure cooker

    The idea for HeatAway came – very appropriately – from a so-called pressure cooker assignment in the early stages of the RSM Master in Strategic Entrepreneurship, which the HeatAway founders followed together. Students were challenged to come up with a new business idea every other day. One idea stuck with the group throughout their studies: the self-heating lunchbox.

    “So we ran with the same idea during different assignments in various courses,” co-founder Maximilian Langer explains. This allowed them to build a strong foundation for their start-up even before they graduated. So serious was the team about building the idea into their own company, that they strategically elected different courses in order to maximise their collective expertise.

    From handwarmers to space tech

    As the idea developed, the HeatAway team realized that their original solution, an exothermic chemical reaction like you find in handwarmers, would not work. And so they turned to ESA Broker Verhaert, who put them in touch with a French provider of technology for space applications. Joining the ESA BIC incubation program, where they would receive more technical and financial support, was the logical next step.

    The first target audience of HeatAway is people who currently struggle with eating outside their homes because of their specific dietary needs: for example people with allergies, weightwatchers, vegans and fitness fanatics. These people often cannot find the food they need at school, work or in take-away restaurants.

    “Fitness fanatics for instance eat 6 or 7 meals a day,” Maximilian explains. “And because their diet is very specific, they often eat the same thing during 3 of those meals – usually cold. They just don’t enjoy eating anymore.”

    Cold lunches

    But it’s not just athletes. More and more people seem to be on a specific diet, either out of pure necessity (for example because of food allergies) or because of an active choice to live healthier.  “Consider for example people that are trying to lose weight; the first thing they usually cut down on are carbs and saturated fats”, co-founder Koen Philippaerts says.  “For them, the typical sandwich lunch becomes a no-go, so they bring their own meals with vegetables and lean fish or meat; food that is just better eaten warm.”

    It is no surprise then that many people have already offered to be test users for the first prototype. The current prototype looks like a generic lunchbox and was a first visualization in co-operation with design students. The final product however will be able to heat up your meal in less than 10 to 15 minutes by the push of a button.

    This version is a big step up from their first “show-and-tell-model”, which was just a kid’s sandwich box the team bought in a store, with insulation from an icecream shop. “Very minimalist,” co-founder Jesse Hupkens admits. “But it really helped us show our concept during pitches.”

    Healthy food ecosystem

    The one thing that the team is somewhat struggling with, is what to call their product. “My friends usually refer to my project as “your little sandwich box” (broodtrommeltje in Dutch),” says Jesse. But that doesn’t really cover the product, nor does the term “lunchbox”, because the box can be used for any (hot) meal.

    Finally, the team hopes to help reshape the entire food ecosystem, and help all people eat fresh and healthy food, when and wherever they want.


    ESA BIC Portugal

    InanoEnergy wons prize from the Repsol General Foundation

    Monday, 2 October 2017

    The startup business idea was one of the 4 chosen to integrate the accelerator of the Repsol Foundation.
    The idea for contest was autonomous microgenerators that use the residual energy to generate electricity, especially to feed the sensors that monitor the pipe networks in industrial installations.
    InanoEnergy, backed by the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre Portugal, develops tailor-made, lightweight and flexible micro and nano-generators capable of converting waste electrical energy into electricity. The solution created by InanoE makes it possible to take advantage of the heat and movement of the user body to power mobile phones and small electronic devices (tablets, iPods, health monitors, etc.).
    Selected from 354 projects, InanoE was part of the range of 4 business ideas that will receive 2,000 euros per month for 12 months. In addition to financial support, InanoE's award includes technical and legal support, access to a network of potential investors and mentoring during the acceleration phase of the project.
    The business accelerator of the Repsol Foundation, launched six years ago, aims to support the most innovative projects in energy and mobility, with the aim of reaching the market as soon as possible
    More info at:

    ESA BIC Portugal

    All in Surf takes 3rd place at Space Moves!

    Thursday, 21 September 2017

    Berlin received on the 18th and 19th of September the Space Moves! Business Idea Competition. The most promising ideas were selected to pitch for a panel of experts, including ESA’s experts! Among them was the Portuguese “All In Surf”. The Portuguese startup won the third place of the competition.
    All in Surf, is an on-site monitoring system allowing better understanding of the behavior of ocean currents over the surfboard in the formation of giant waves and helps to realize important details that help to improve the performance of surfers. 
    Instituto Pedro Nunes was present at the event as the National ARTES Ambassador, the first European organization that jointly manages an ESA Business Incubation Center, as well as Ambassador Platform, and even ESA Technology Broker.
    Thus, IPN was also present on behalf of its ESA BIC Portugal’s role, supporting an entrepreneurship project (All in Surf) also enrolled in the "Promotion of the space economy and support in the incubation program of the European Space Agency in the Central Region" (CENTRO-02-0651-FEDER-000019). The CENTRO-02-0651-FEDER-000019 project is co-financed by the European Funds supported by the Center 2020 - Regional Operational Program of the Center.

    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Keeping it cool with Meds2Go

    Thursday, 21 September 2017

    What do you pack for an intercontinental flight? Easy: a change of clothes, a toothbrush, a good book. But millions of people in the EU have to add one more item to that list: a cooling device for their temperature-sensitive medication.

    Patients suffering from rheumatism or MS, or using growth hormones or biological medical products have to keep their medication within 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. When travelling, this causes quite a hassle involving unreliable ice packs and impractical ice boxes, as Carla van den Bos – co-founder and CEO of Meds2Go - knows from experience.

    Team building

    As a member of the LUMC patient’s association, Carla introduced the problem to the 2016 Dutch Hacking Health hackathon in Leiden. “I wasn’t sure this was the type of problem that health care innovators would be interested in, but I quickly found UX designer I-Chu Liao and two other team members to work on a possible solution, and we won second place!” Carla remembers.

    The solution, a light-weight box that passively cools medication between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for up to three days, was something that the two co-founders believed in and wanted to bring to market. So they started Meds2Go.

    Providence helped them find their third team member and thermal engineer, Sanaz Saeid. “I used to work in the oil and gas industry, so I never would have imagined switching to the health care domain,” Sanaz recalls. “But one day I was browsing on, which I normally never do, and I saw that Carla was looking for someone who knew about heating and cooling. “That’s me!” I thought.”

    Space tech

    The team now had all skills it needed on board. Next requirement: the technology. “I figured: where do you find people in a small space, working in an environment with extreme temperature variation, with a lot of innovation? Space!” Carla explains.

    Since no patents have been taken, the team is reluctant to talk about the actual technology behind their solution. But they do like to discuss the future of their business and their prototype, which for the next two years will be further developed within the ESA BIC program in Noordwijk. Product launch is scheduled for early next year.

    The team already knew ESA BIC Noordwijk through the Space Business Open Day, but they took some time to evaluate whether the program would really be the place for them and would help them grow faster. What finally convinced them to apply were the offered tech support, and the possibility to share experiences with other startups. “At the very least, you learn which roads not to take,” Carla jokes.

    ESA Broker Luxembourg


    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    Prof. De. Kai-Uwe Schrogl, the Chief Strategy Officer of the European Space Agency (ESA, Headquartes in Paris) present during the interaction tour organized on the ESA SITE Redu/SEC, was interrested by the activites of CREACTION.

    We take a telecom oppointment on October,  4th at 12h30 to present the results of the SPACE CREATIVITIE CENTRE of March 2017.









    ESA BIC Portugal

    SPACE MOVES! Business Idea Competition

    Wednesday, 30 August 2017

    Space Moves! an event jointly organised by ESA and the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to promote space-enabled services with a major focus on transport and mobility will occur next September 18th and 19th in Berlin.
    This 7th edition of ESA’s annual ARTES Applications workshop will bring together companies, users, experts, entrepreneurs, and the vibrant startup scene to foster partnerships, spark new ideas, and inform about ESA funding and support opportunities.
    The Space Moves! Business Idea Competition - which deadline was extended to September 3th – is a competition for new space-enabled business concepts. 
    The most promising ideas will be selected to pitch at the Space Moves! event in Berlin. The workshop attendees and the judge panel will vote for their preferred ideas. The winners will be announced during the second day of the event.
    This prize for the winning ideia includes: 
    European Space Agency cash prizes: 

    • 1st prize: €3,000 
    • 2nd prize: €1,500 
    • 3rd prize: €500 

    • Eligible travel expenses to the Space Moves! event in Berlin, Germany, covered by the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) 
    • Coaching by representatives of the P3 Group during the Space Moves! event 
    • Access to ESA Business Applications to develop the idea further and explore funding
    Do you want to know how to enter the Competition? The submission is very simple. You only have to download the Space Moves! Business Idea Pitch Form, fill it and submit it to with subject "2017 Space Moves! Business Idea Competition" before the deadline: 3 September 2017, 23:59 CEST
    See more:

    ESA Space Solutions

    Summer 2017 Newsletter - TEST

    Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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    Business Incubation

    Test newsletter 2 Aug 2017

    Wednesday, 23 August 2017

    does the test user receive newsletter (

    SBIC Building Noordwijk
    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    First Step Towards Success: Validation

    Monday, 21 August 2017

    Entrepreneurs are often very excited about their new business ideas, and they should be. But it is easy to lose sight of possible hurdles in this phase. Will your technological solution work the way you imagined? Are customers willing to pay for your service? In over 10 years of experience at SBIC, we have found that validation is the most important step to take at the start of any new business endeavour.

    That is why SBIC Noordwijk now offers several validation tracks to help entrepreneurs shape and perfect their plans. The Earth Observation Track gives participants in HUBspot Leiden's Startup Academy the chance to learn what satellite imagery and data can do for business. And in the Rocket Program startups looking to exploit space technology are supported in fine-tuning their business plans.

    All4Elevation's Alexander Gunkel
    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Crowdsourcing elevation data to prevent flood damage

    Tuesday, 4 July 2017

    Flood prediction relies on knowing how high each and every spot within a country is. The better the so called “elevation data”, the better people and property can be protected from spring tides and flooding rivers. Unfortunately, most developing countries can’t afford accurate and recent datasets, leading to a lot of unnecessary damage and even deaths. All4Elevation aims to change this. The start-up just signed on to ESA BIC Noordwijk.

    All4Elevation wants to provide accurate and affordable elevation data by combining smartphones, satellite navigation and the power of the crowd. The team is developing an application that turns smartphones into “smart sensors” that can measure elevation. The collected and improved data will be offered as a service to public and private organisations with a pricing model accounting for the accuracy, timeliness and application of the data.

    Managing director of All4Elevation is Alexander Gunkel, whose 5-year goal is to help save 3000 lives, protect 3 million houses and avoid €3 billion in damages. Co-founders of the company are Ingrid van Namen and Jeroen Derriks, who together won the Dutch regional prize in the European Satellite Navigation Competition in 2016 with their idea.

    Readaar co-founders Sven Briels and Matthijs van Til
    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Inspecting Roofs from Space

    Wednesday, 31 May 2017

    ESA BIC Noordwijk's new incubatee Readaar is a good example of an established company that is using the opportunity of ESA BIC to expand its service range.

    Readaar develops datamining algorithms to inspect real estate from aerial photos. One of Readaar’s most successful use cases is recognising asbestos roofs; these health hazards must be phased out by 2024 according to Dutch law, but no reliable records exist of which houses and sheds still have them. Readaar’s algorithm can reliably detect suspicious roofs.

    Looking to expand abroad, Readaar is now interested in including satellite imagery in its toolkit. High quality aerial photos are not available everywhere, but satellite images are. This does mean that Readaar will have to adapt its technology to different resolutions and band widths. Something that ESA BIC will definitely be able to help them with.

    Polariks founders Max Wijsman and Dennis vd Wiel
    ESA BIC Noordwijk

    Polariks Develops Hyperspectral Camera for Wine Drone

    Tuesday, 30 May 2017

    There are many ways that lead to ESA BIC. Our new start-up Polariks’ road, for instance, ran past the Leiden Observatory and through a vineyard.

    Max Wijsman and Dennis van der Wiel, the young co-founders of Polariks, are developing a cheap hyperspectral camera that can be used to check the quality of wine grapes. The catchy description of their product – the wine drone – has already drawn plenty of attention from start-up awards and the media.

    Although the founders do enjoy a good glass of wine and have gathered some knowledge about oenology by now (Van der Wiel is trained as a biologist), this was not what triggered the creation of the company. The company’s approach is very much technology-driven. “I really wanted to become an entrepreneur and I was looking into joining ESA BIC for a very long time already,” Van der Wiel recalls. Looking for a technology to bring to market, the couple researched space-grade optics (which is where Wijsman’s background in physics and astronomy came in handy) and came up with the idea to make hyperspectral imaging available for small-scale applications.

    Hyperspectral cameras, which collect much more information from across the electromagnetic spectrum than traditional cameras, are already available for large, costly industrial applications. Polariks looks to develop a camera and information processing system that can be used for much smaller applications, such as quality control in vineyards, and which could easily be adapted to other crops, but also other applications areas such as health care.

    Polariks will use its time in the ESA Business Incubation Program to further establish itself as a business, fine-tune its technology and find its first paying customers.

    Open Call for demonstrators
    ESA Broker Belgium

    New Open Call for demonstrator proposals

    Friday, 19 May 2017

    As Prime broker in ESA’s Technology Transfer Network we want to inform you about the new open call for demonstrator proposals. These projects support the transfer of space technology or know-how to terrestrial applications. A lot of success stories illustrate the variety of new commercial opportunities based on space technologies. Apply for this open call and get funding to build a demonstrator project.

    Using space technology for terrestrial applications

    To maximize the benefits of European investments in space, ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) has launched a new open call for demonstrator proposals. These projects are directed towards the determination and elimination of technical risks when using existing space technology for new terrestrial applications. The demonstrator projects involve the development and testing from European space technology or know-how, with the aim to set up a technology transfer.

    Funding of ESA

    Do you think you have an opportunity to apply space technology for an earthly application? Get funding up to € 38.000to build a demonstrator project. Priority will be given to projects with a clear ground based commercial application focused on a customer group with defined needs. It is an advantage if specific customers expressed a clear interest in the technology, especially if you involve them in the demonstrator project. In addition, it is also important to define the technical risks you want to tackle.

    How to apply?

    Submit your proposal regarding the transfer of space technology to a non-space application before 11 August 2017, 12 p.m. CET. Send your submission towards

    Read more about the format, instructions and requirements here.

    Do you have questions or issues filling out the proposal? Please get in touch with Steffen Entzeroth, coordinator of the Technology Transfer program at Verhaert, by email at or by phone at +32 3 250 19 00.

    Need inspiration?

    Looking for examples that illustrate the broad area of commercial activity based on technology or know-how from space? Visit the website to read some success stories. The brokers in ESA’s Technology Transfer Network are working to identify new opportunities and to innovate and initiate a technology transfer. Because this is a two-way process, you find a list of space technologies developed in all kinds of sectors.

    BlueSpace consortium
    ESA Broker Belgium

    New consortium in Flanders ‘BlueSpace’ to stimulate innovation with space technology

    Wednesday, 8 March 2017

    Entrepreneurs who want to innovate with space technology find coaching and expertise at ‘BlueSpace’, the new consortium of imec, Verhaert and VITO.

    Space as a source of inspiration to innovate

    Many existing technologies and innovations have their origins in space. Examples include telecommunications, meteorology and navigation, which have taken a prominent place in our daily lives. With high-quality technologies, knowledge and applications, space is a bottomless source of inspiration for innovation.

    The investments made in space get added value when they are used in new projects on Earth. To encourage the use of space technology, imec, Verhaert and VITO launch the consortium ‘BlueSpace’ with an incubation program of the same name.

    Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart program manager: “High-tech spin-offs are the future of Flanders. We see great opportunities in the use of space technologies. With ‘BlueSpace’ we want to support new initiatives that apply these opportunities.”

    Technology transfer by ideation

    Imec, Verhaert and VITO have a profound experience in supporting entrepreneurs to develop new ideas. Together they are a profitable cross-fertilization between creativity and technology. Therefore the ‘BlueSpace’ consortium adds a creative component to finding new applications, making a technology transfer more than just a license deal.

    Sam Waes, coordinator technology transfer at Verhaert: “The potential of space technology is countless. After 3 years as broker and 1 year as manager in ESA’s Technology Transfer Network, we want to build a strong initiative in Flanders as a fertile breeding ground for technological innovations associated with space. As service provider in integrated product innovation we see a collaboration with start-ups as an enrichment for our developed tools and methodologies.”

    Incubation program ‘BlueSpace’

    The ‘BlueSpace’ incubation program offers coaching, technological expertise and facilities to entrepreneurs, both high-tech start-ups as spin-offs.

    Steven Krekels, Unit Manager VITO Remote Sensing: “Space technologies for earth observation can really enrich and sharpen our industry. As a technological research center, we want to support innovations in the broadest sense. VITO Remote Sensing realizes sustainable social solutions by focusing on innovative technologies that also have an economically self-sufficient story. Europe is investing billions in programs such as Galileo and Copernicus. It is our mission to help those investments valorize for Flanders. Any entrepreneur who takes initiative in that domain, can count on our support to strengthen the Flemish socio-economic web.”

    BlueSpace offers support at different locations in Flanders, with Antwerp as base. We like to give high-tech start-ups and spin-offs that use space technology a flying start.

    The first initiative is ‘Space4Earth Innovation Week’, a collaboration with the University of Antwerp. From 13 till 17 March 2017 master students ‘product development’ will use space technology to search for new applications. This initiative is supported by Antwerp Space, AUREA (Antwerps Universitair Research centrum voor Evenwicht en Aerospace), Lambda-X, QinetiQ, Space Applications Services, VITO and Voxdale. Next ‘BlueSpace’ will launch the first open call for new incubation projects in May.


    (Original article on

    Celebrating the ESA Business Incubation Centre Switzerland's opening. Copyright U.Sollberger/
    ESA Space Solutions

    Attractive Opportunities For Swiss Entrepreneurs

    Friday, 11 November 2016

    ESA’s business incubation in Switzerland is offering up to €500 000 to young entrepreneurs who apply space technologies to challenges in other fields.

    As part of the family of 16 ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) across Europe, hosted start-up companies will have access to unique support from ESA and national partners.

    At the opening ceremony in Zurich on 10 November, ESA Director General Jan Woerner said, “One of our key objectives is to improve quality of life here on Earth.

    “To support progress and growth across Europe we make our knowledge and technology available to be used outside space. At our business incubators, young entrepreneurs and start-ups are supported to create innovative solutions by the use of satellite services and space technology.

    “Our centres have already fostered more than 430 new companies throughout Europe. We are happy that Switzerland joins with this new centre.”

    After working close with ESA for many years on research projects, Switzerland has recently intensified its technology transfer efforts. That is why ETH Zurich’s Vice President of Research and Corporate Relations, Professor Detlef Günther, finds the incubator to be the ideal next step: 

    “If you want to conquer space, you can’t be short-sighted. Switzerland has a lot to offer as a hotspot of research and innovation.

    “ESA BIC will enable us to better promote activities in the field of space technologies and applications.

    “This will enable us to offer future-oriented technologies and start-ups a new platform, and will connect us with other ESA locations across Europe.”

    Over the next five years, the new incubator will accept up to 10 new start-ups per year. They will have the option to relocate to Switzerland Innovation Park Zurich in Dübendorf or complete their two-year incubation period remotely. 

    With a permanent open call and several selection campaigns during the year, entrepreneurs are invited to apply. The next deadline is 15 February.

    State Secretary for education, research and innovation Mauro Dell’Ambrogio with ESA’s Jan Woerner and ETH’s Detlef Günther presented the first three start-ups selected for the Swiss site. All three use technology from space research and make it available for use by society and business.

    TwingTec, founded in 2013 by researchers from ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, is developing next-generation wind energy technology to capture wind energy up to 300 m above the ground, without a tower. Instead, the system uses a satnav-positioned kite to harvest the wind and transfer the energy through a cable connected to a station on ground.

    The second start-up, Insolight, develops solar cells with technology from satellites. These cells are more than twice as efficient as conventional products for terrestrial applications.

    The third company is Ligentec, a young company that designs frequency combs that increase the data capacity of fibre optic cables by a factor of 200. By using silicon nitride, it is possible to increase the efficiency using a material developed for space.

    The consortium behind the Swiss centre is led by ETH Zurich and includes IFJ Startup Support and Venture Kick, an initiative to help entrepreneurs gain access to additional capital.

    These partners have many years of experience in scouting, selecting and supporting start-ups. Also on board is Impact Hub, a global network that helps start-ups to establish themselves and connect with others.

    Furthermore the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) Ambassador of Switzerland Altyn becomes part of the Swiss BIC. Founded in 2013 Altyn promotes new applications and services based on the integration of satellite data and technologies under ESA’s ARTES applications programmes. The centre is also supported by fifty other well-known national and international partners from industry and research to provide assistance to the start-ups and to fulfil the demands for public-private-partnerships.

    ESA’s Business Incubation Centres

    Started by ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme in 2003, the business incubation initiative has now grown to 16 centres in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, UK, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland, fostering over 130 new companies yearly and creating high-tech jobs throughout Europe.

    The initiative profits from space technology and expertise to generate new businesses and jobs in Europe, which also boosts local economies and Europe’s competitiveness. Thanks to these start-ups and their entrepreneurs, leading-edge technologies and expertise from Europe’s space programmes are used to create smarter terrestrial applications.

    More on ESA BIC Switzerland here.


    Verhaert Connect Icon. Copyright  Verhaert Masters In Innovation
    Bosch smart home eyes. Copyright Bosch
    Bosch smart home eyes. Copyright Bosch
    ESA Space Solutions

    Broker Focus – Verhaert Netherlands

    Thursday, 3 November 2016

    The ESA space solutions network (NTTI) boasts no less than 15 technology transfer brokers across Europe. All have their own unique talents and many offer wide ranging services supporting and pushing the boundaries of innovation.

    Our Dutch brokers, Verhaert Netherlands offer the Dutch market a distinctive portfolio. Their most relevant programme is Verhaert Connect, designed to address specific market segments and needs, sharing technology and know-how. The idea is simple – connected products and technologies play a critical role in today’s value process. With the Internet of Things shaping our thinking, Verhaert Connect helps companies, governments and associations to prespare themselves, creating value from connected technologies.

    Verhaert Netherlands support organisations with their innovation needs by creating new, breakthrough products, businesses and services. Their Managed Innovation approach covers the entire innovation cycle with particular focus on: creating added value to any step in the process, reducing risk throughout the innovation cycle, and integrating all required disciplines in multidisciplinary teams.

    Covering the entire scope of innovation also means that Verhaert Netherlands offers both pre-launch and new product development services. Think of datascience, sensor-, algorithm-, Terminal & wearables- and web & app-development. One such example is the research delivery for the Bosch Smart Home Eyes Outdoor Camera.

    Design for growth in the surveillance camera market

    In September many new products and innovations were presented at the IFA in Berlin, the leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. Among them the Smart Home Eyes Outdoor Camera from Bosch. To understand the hidden needs, purchase drivers and job-to-be-done, Verhaert supported Bosch with an international design-driven research.

    Next generation domestic surveillance camera

    Bosch, a leading manufacturer of professional surveillance cameras, indicated a potential opportunity to extend their product portfolio to the domestic market.

    But what defines such a new market, where potential customers have not shown what they would like to have? Where is the gap in this niche and how do we need to fill it in?

    Verhaert did a profound research with the ambitious objective to define the next generation domestic surveillance camera. One that would attract the upcoming ‘home automation’ market.

    Design-driven research, exploration and validation

    The intensive global design-driven research was followed by a thorough design exploration and international validation. This has led to an uncontested, though very intelligible new reference design in the IP camera market.

    Smart two-in-one outdoor camera

    The result is Bosch Smart Home Eyes Outdoor Camera, a remarkable front door camera which acts as a two-in-one. It detects when someone is outside the door, but also works as a porch light for late night callers.

    Users can connect the camera to any IFTTT supported device, like Philips Hue, to simulate one’s presence at home or to receive an alert when someone is at the front door.

    Elegant outdoor lighting in an attractive design

    The design of Bosch Eyes Camera is the embodiment of the company’s ‘invented for life’ slogan. It reflects the ambition to enhance the quality of life with solutions that are both innovative and beneficial. In a final design stage we embraced Platinumdesign – who did already a great job on former smart home devices – to guard the design details resulting in a very coherent Bosch product family. Because we are convinced that good design is thorough down to the last detail. With its friendly look Bosch Eyes Camera differentiates from the aggressive ‘bullet-shaped’ camera while still being perceived as very performing towards image quality and detection accuracy.


    <Bosch official Press release>–-full-hd-day-and-night-60800.html

    OnyxStar drone. Copyright Wikipedia/ZullyC3P-OnyxStar
    Rafael van Grieken, Regional Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Madrid Region, awarded the overall prize at the 2016 European Satellite Navigation Competition to the University of Strathclyde’s Carmine Clemente, Domenico Gaglione and Hina Bacai. Copyright AZO/A.Valdenebro
    ESA space solutions® Prize winners in the 2016 European Satellite Navigation Competition. From left: Head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office Frank M. Salzgeber with Sasha Afanasieva and Alessio Nunzi from Blubel Tech Ltd. Copyright AZO/A.Valdenebro
    ESA’s space solutions Prize in the 2016 European Satellite Navigation Competition went to Blubel Tech company from England for their smart bicycle bell that guides cyclists simply and intuitively using a mix of sounds and lights. Copyright Blubel Tech Ltd
    ESA Space Solutions

    Satellites to spot drones and guide cyclists

    Wednesday, 26 October 2016

    A space-age system for detecting drones took home the grand prize in this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition, while ESA’s prize went to a smart satnav bicycle bell.

    Drones are one of the biggest trends of this year, offering many helpful applications. At the same time, there are increasing safety concerns, with many cases of drones flying too close for comfort to airports and aircraft, including a near-collision over Munich in August. 

    In response, Carmine Clemente and his team from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, are developing a satellite-based system for early drone detection and tracking.

    It offers continuous coverage over a fixed area by sensors measuring how drones affect satnav signals. The differences between the sensors pinpoint the drones and allow their tracking, revealing the risk of collision with aircraft landing and taking off.

    The €10 000 grand prize was presented to the team in Madrid’s Circulo de Bellas Artes last night. In addition, the project is set to receive an extensive package including marketing, consulting and technical assistance, boosted by the UK’s regional prize.

    With the technology and a feasibility study already in place, Dr Clemente predicts the product should be on the market within two years.

    The smart bicycle bell

    ESA’s own award for new ideas that can be quickly nurtured into profitable start-ups went to the Blubel Tech company from England for their smart bicycle bell, which guides cyclists simply and intuitively using a mix of sounds and lights.

    Cyclists no longer have to worry about getting lost or distracted on busy roads or having to pull out their phone for guidance while cycling. A quick glance at the Blubel on their handlebars will indicate the next turn and the heading to their destination.

    Powered by its smartphone satnav app, the bell learns from other cyclists and suggests the fastest, safest and easiest routes. It can also collect data on the routes the cyclist prefers and other aspects to improve its route calculation for the rest of the community.

    The ESA prize of €7000 was presented to Blubel by the head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office, Frank M. Salzgeber. The company will soon begin working at ESA’s business incubator in Harwell, UK, to commercialise the device.

    Thirteen years of competition

    At this year’s competition more than 400 entries proposed business ideas and technical concepts on how satnav could be used to improve everyday life on Earth.

    Since 2004, the competition has celebrated over 300 prizewinners, nearly 3800 entries and more than 10 000 participants from around the world, becoming the leading innovation network in satellite navigation. As a result, it is now playing a key role in the uptake of Europe’s satnav programmes.

    “Downstream entrepreneurs and start-ups play an important role,” noted Matthias Petschke, Director for the European Satellite Navigation Programmes of the European Commission.

    “They are the ones bringing EGNOS and Galileo down to Earth through the applications they develop. This is where the European Satellite Navigation Competition plays a crucial role. It has accumulated a track record of success in fostering innovation and application development in satellite navigation since its launch.”

    Organised by Germany’s Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen, ESA has been a key partner in the competition since 2005. Earlier winners of the ESA prize include compact, centimetre-accuracy, realtime navigation that makes it simple to develop new satnav applications, a smart tracking system for trailers and machinery, a wearable tactile navigation system and a water pollution control system.

    More from this year’s event here and details on the competition with all the winning ideas here.

    ESA Space Solutions


    Wednesday, 19 October 2016


    When Space Meets Health
    ESA Space Solutions

    When space meets Health

    Wednesday, 12 October 2016

    Health industry could work with space industry to create common solutions. A workshop on 8 November with healthcare professionals and space engineers from ESA will focus on defining cross-synergy and joint activities between the two sectors.

    Part of ESA's Innovation Exchange and a follow-on to the Space for Inspiration in London in September, the workshop is a result of ESA's new engagement strategy to work with other sectors to involve industry and other stakeholders closer in the Agency's space activities and to define what space exploration could take direct advantages of.

    Participants will include WHO, the worldwide healthcare initiative EIT Health, and Charité Berlin, one of the largest university hospitals in Europe.

    Organised by ESA's Human Space Flight and Robotics Exploration directorate with support from ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office, the workshop will focus on the transfer of medical know-how and space-based technologies for the benefit of both space exploration and society on Earth.

    The one-day workshop aim is to initiate a closer collaboration between ESA experts, medical specialists and experts in complementary field of knowledge, to initiate activities which could help to find quicker solutions to health problems.

    Join the workshop to form the future space healthcare collaboration

    More on the one-day “ESA Innovation Exchange: When space meets health” workshop and for registration here.


    ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst working with Biolab in Europe’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station during his Blue Dot mission in 2014. Biolab is an experiment workstation tailored for research on biological samples such as micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, plants and small invertebrates. Copyright ESA/NASA
    ESA Space Solutions

    Automating Sample testing thanks to space

    Thursday, 6 October 2016

    A miniaturised biotech unit developed for the International Space Station is improving medical diagnoses on Earth with affordable automation of small-scale diagnostics.

    In vitro diagnostics, or IVDs, are tests on samples such as human blood, urine and tissue to look for diseases and infection or to help diagnose a medical condition.

    They are used in diabetes, cancer, cardiology, HIV/Aids, autoimmune diseases, drug testing, infectious diseases and more.

    As healthcare needs continue to grow, the number of samples to test is rapidly increasing.

    With growing demand for clean testing, labs are looking to automation to increase throughput, improve quality and solve handling problems quickly.

    Many smaller laboratories that still perform IVD manually are also trying to take this step towards automation, but find that existing high-throughput units are too costly.

    The answer is orbiting Earth

    It wasn’t until biotech company Fujirebio Europe joined with Belgium’s Verhaert, involved in Europe’s space programmes for many years, that the answer was found – and from a completely different direction.

    The unit developed by Verhaert for the Biolab research facility in Europe’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station turned out to provide a solution for low-throughput IVD. It is now improving the diagnosis of infectious diseases and cancers here on Earth.

    Having to operate on the Space Station, and with the limited time available to astronauts to perform experiments, space laboratories require automated devices with long lifetimes and low maintenance and calibration needs.

    Space experiments are typically done on a small scale and require a high level of accuracy. Temperature and risk of contamination must also be carefully managed.

    To simplify Biolab experiments in space, Verhaert designed and built a unit for precisely controlling the application of liquid nutrients onto a sample strip.

    Reusing this approach and their knowhow on precision dosing and contamination control enabled Verhaert to automate the previously manual work for low-throughput IVD.

    “Many general laboratories performing low-throughput IVD have expressed their wish to move towards more automation and integration of their workflows,” said Christiaan De Wilde, CEO at Fujirebio Europe. 

    “These laboratories have been looking in vain for accessible solutions to help them take the important first step towards automation.”

    The Verhaert design features a completely new automatic testing mechanism that is cheaper to use, thanks to a higher processing speed, the elimination of maintenance and calibration, and a more efficient use of reagents.

    Small laboratories typically perform IVDs manually, which can now be automated, reducing the time needed and the cost. The absence of maintenance and calibration result in lower operating costs.

    In August 2015, Fujirebio Europe launched it into the in vitro diagnostics market to handle just 10 IVD strips at a time. 

    “This diagnostics device is using the same handling mechanism and volumetric dosing architecture we developed for the laboratories on Space Station,” says Sam Waes from Verhaert, also the Belgium broker to ESA's Technology Transfer Programme.

    “Thanks to this space technology transfer, it has a level of accuracy that is similar to the higher-throughput processors, typically of 48 strips, at a fraction of the cost.” 



    ESA Space Solutions

    Royal visit to ESA's Wallonia Redu Business Incubator

    Thursday, 22 September 2016

    The Belgian king and queen last week visited ESA’s Business Incubation Centre Wallonia Redu, where entrepreneurs and start-ups adapt space technology to develop and launch novel products and services for terrestrial markets.

    Started in 2012, the ESA business centre stands as an avant-garde platform for entrepreneurs, with its direct fibre data link to ESA’s Redu Centre ground station in the Ardennes region for satellite communications. Thanks to the link, start-ups have unique and easy access to data from many of ESA’s satellites.

    King Philippe and Queen Mathilde met several entrepreneurs from the 12 companies fostered at the incubator.

    Nicolasde Kerckhove from the start-up Apocalypse Hunters illustrated the company’s location-based satellite navigation gaming platform, which transforms our world into an interactive playground.

    Frederick Ronse from Space2M explained how the company uses satnav for remote central monitoring of car fleets. The system developed by the company provides detailed information on car parameters like temperature and pressure, in addition to their exact position, and with alarms for any out-of-limit readings.

    Picture from left: Nicolas de Kerckhove (CEO Apocalypse Hunters), Frederick Ronse (CEO Space2M), King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, copyright ESA.

    David Gibbons (Manager of ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland), Mary Mitchell O'Connor (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) and Franco Ongaro (ESA's Director of Technical and Quality Management) pictured in the Tyndall National Institute, Cork at the inauguration of the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland on 7 September 2016. Copyright Tyndall National Institute/D. Mc Sweeney/Provision
    Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O'Connor speaking at the opening of the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland on 7 September 2016. Copyright ESA
    ESA's Director of Technical and Quality Management and Head of ESTEC Franco Ongaro speaking at the opening of the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland on 7 September 2016. Copyright Tyndall National Institute
    Tyndall National Institute in Cork leads the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland in partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, and Irish Maritime and Energy Research Cluster. The centre opened 7 September 2016. Copyright Tyndall National Institute
    ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland was inaugurated 7 September 2016. Copyright Tyndall National Institute
    ESA Space Solutions

    Launch of Space Solutions Centre Ireland

    Thursday, 8 September 2016

    Ireland boosted its use of space technology this week for down-to-Earth applications by opening the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland business incubator.

    “The centre will give Irish entrepreneurs and start-ups a unique opportunity to access the funding, expertise and networks they need to grow their businesses and create jobs,” said Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

    Led by Tyndall National Institute in Cork in partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, and Irish Maritime and Energy Research Cluster, and funded jointly by ESA and Enterprise Ireland, the ESA Space Solutions Centre will support the application of technologies developed for space to tackle challenges on Earth and beyond. It is ESA’s 14th Business Incubation Centre in Europe.

    “We are proud of the fact that four of the country’s leading science and technology institutions are at the forefront of such an innovative and exciting initiative,” continued the minister.

    “With the support of ESA, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ireland can look forward to the rapid expansion of the Irish space sector in the coming years.”