Expanding the Impact and Adoption of Space Tech

With the conclusion of Space Endeavour #03, we discuss the exciting new frontier Space Tech is building for solutions of the future, and meet the companies leading the way.

The closing event of our third Space Endeavour Accelerator took place on 7 July and brought together founders developing cutting-edge uses for space tech and the experts investing in and deploying it on the ground.

Over the past 12 weeks, the cohort worked through an extensive programme to advance their business plans and develop their go-to-market strategy. They have worked with business coaches and mentors to develop their ongoing strategies, attended workshops, AMAs and roundtables to learn from industry experts and gain insight into the market and potential applications for their technology. While we were sadly unable to work together face-to-face, the founders were diligent in their commitment to the programme and enthusiastic in their participation. All of their hard work culminated in the Tech Games!

After a warm welcome from our CEO, Tanya Suárez, we began with a keynote address by Alain Dupas. Alain is an expert in space technologies, industries and policies and is currently the Senior Advisor for Aerospace for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and has many years of experience across the space industry. Alain gave us insight into the massive changes that have transformed the space sector from a heavily regulated and monitored industry to an ecosystem abundant in innovation and transformation.

“Initiatives from a new partner in the ecosystem can change the landscape”, said Alain. He explained that often large agencies do not have the agility or the necessary capacity for innovation to develop successful new strategies and uses for space technology. Alain laid out the fundamental changes across the space sector in not only how they pursue new ideas but also how the digital age has created a new way of working, led by entrepreneur-innovators.

20th Century 21st Century
Planning Exploration
Obedience Motivation and Commitment
Managing Tasks on Production Lines Creativity in a Complex World
Ordering Managers Facilitating Managers
Stick and Carrot Meaning and Autonomy
Use Certainty to Create Value Exploiting Uncertainty to Create Value
Fixed and Fixed Liquid and Mobile
"Waterfall" or "V" Project Management Agile and Dynamic Project Management
Order and Silos Transversality and Solidarity

The first of our expert panels discussed the use of space technology in traditional sectors. We were joined by Raúl Regada, and our excellent panellists:

  • Phil Cooper, Aerospace and Satellite Solutions EMEA Regional Manager, Amazon Web Services
  • Vicente Milanes, Innovation Project Manager, Groupe Renault
  • Alberto San Martín López, IoT & Emerging Technologies Specialist, CEPSA

When thinking about space tech many people probably think of satellites or devices operating above the atmosphere but our panel made it clear that space technology is more and more applicable to our everyday lives on earth; through satellite communication, ground mapping and even in the development of autonomous vehicles.

“We are now seeing billions of connected devices in the home, in the office, in factories, on ships, on planes, in cars…” says Cooper, digital space technology and cloud computing have allowed this technology to develop on a massive scale. This allows companies and users to produce huge amounts of data which can be used to monitor and build insights not only to develop business intelligence but also allowing companies to continue to add value to their customers. Vicente followed on to explain the role space technology plays in the advancement of automated vehicles and across fields. The automotive industry has previously adopted space technology, for example, heads up display systems were adapted from fighter jet technology and even seats were influenced by NASA designs, however, they are now looking into the adoption of digital space technologies and innovations. Adapted risk controls in autonomous vehicles have previously been based on radar or lidar systems but now manufacturers are looking into ways that space technologies can improve these systems. Satellite earth observation can be used to forecast weather conditions and automatically activate safety features in autonomous cars, without the driver having to activate them.

All of our panellists made it clear that across all sectors space technology is becoming more and more useful and being applied in new and innovative ways.

Our second panel was focused on the European landscape for VCs in the next five years; this panel was moderated by Tanya Suárez and featured Sonia Fernandez from Kibo Ventures and Sarah Luppino from M Ventures.

The panel began by discussing which sectors our experts felt were most likely to be impacted by advancements in space technology. Luppino tells us that a sector which she works in is Frontier Tech and Sustainability which they consider the “between and beyond” and while digital technologies, knowledge of Industry4.0, a sustainability plan or connected lab are currently differentiators for investors, in the future Luppino expects they will become must-haves.

This year we were very lucky to have 3 female-founded or co-founded companies in our Space Endeavour cohort however with only 2.3% of tech companies founded by women, and only 10% of investors are women, all of our panellists felt that there was room for improvement on both sides of the investment table. One significant point that was made was that it is not enough to simply increase the number of female investors or female entrepreneurs but also to find a way to “entice the 90% to invest in more diverse candidates” and finding ways for female founders to be more cohesively integrated into tech networks outside of those built specifically to support women. Fernandez also made it clear that the tech industry needs to raise the profile of successful female founders and create role models and increase positions of aspiration for female founders.

One thing that our experts seem sure about is that the European VC landscape is likely to keep changing not only in the next 5 years but indefinitely and the attitudes of VCs will continue to change as society, technology and industry does.

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Space Technology is a sector experiencing rapid change, not only in how it is applied and utilised but also in the role it will play in other sectors and areas of the technology landscape. Space tech will soon be as commonplace on the ground as it is above our heads.

If you are interested to learn more about the startups, view the Space Endeavour #03 cohort brochure, and contact the IoT Tribe team to arrange a meeting with any of the founders below.