The fourth annual Startup Space pitch contest at SATELLITE 2020 will pit 10 aerospace entrepreneurs from 10 global startups against each other in an intense battle of sales-craft and strategic messaging.
Each contestant will have five minutes to pitch their companies and technologies to a panel of judges representing the most active private investment firms in our market. The winner will receive private pitch meetings with the judges’ firms, a trophy, free access to future SATELLITE shows, and an exclusive interview feature in Via Satellite.
This year’s competitors come from a wide range of technical and professional backgrounds and represent an even wider array of products and services. Via Satellite asked each of the 2020 Startup Space competitors to give our readers a preview of the central focus of their pitch and an outline their target markets and customers.
According to Satellite Vu, 40% of the world’s energy consumption comes from buildings, and less than 10% of them cause 90% of emissions. In order to fix these buildings, the company explains that solution providers need to know where they are. Satellite Vu intends to launch an infrared satellite sensor that can rate the energy performance of every building on the planet.
This data, the company believes, is valuable to save on energy costs and to offset emissions for climate change and validate investment portfolios that claim to be environmentally green.
Anthony Baker is the CEO of Global Satellite Vu, an earth observation company specializing in high frequency imagery and situation awareness information derived from automated monitoring and analytics. His aspiration is to enable every nation to be a space nation, owning and operating their own satellites with a new class of low-cost, high performance satellites. Baker also provides advisory services to new technology companies. He has over 20 years of experience in innovative satellite companies with roles in both commercial and government organizations. Baker was previously the acting-CEO and Chief Strategy Officer at Es’hailSat.
“Our end-users extend from sustainable finance investment raters, smart cities operators, wildfire detection, energy and defense,” Baker says. “Initially we will sell our data to analytics companies that are already familiar with earth observation data and know each of the vertical markets. At a later stage, we will develop analytics for unique applications that can benefit from a thermal information.”
The future of spaceflight is bright … and electric, according to startup Neutron Star Systems (NSS). The company is developing an electric propulsion system — the “Supreme” thruster — which it hopes will unlock the future of spaceflight. The technology is based on the combination of 60 years of MPD research heritage and the use of high-temperature superconductors as a key enabling technology. For high-power missions, NSS designed the Supreme thruster to be cheaper and faster than the competition.
Marcus Collier-Wright, CTO of NSS is an aerospace engineer with a specialization in spacecraft electric propulsion systems. A dual-national with both British and Slovak citizenship, he completed his master degree at the University of Southampton, where his final-year project received the highest grade of any project in the faculty and was shortlisted for the university’s design excellence award. Marcus moved to Germany in 2018 to work on spacecraft propulsion systems at Ariane Group, before meeting Manuel and joining the Supreme project. Seeing the potential of the project to have a significant impact on the future of spaceflight, he committed to co-founding and launching Neutron Star Systems.
“NSS’s main target market is high-power space missions,” Collier-Wright says. “Our unique selling proposition addresses the needs of four main mission scenarios: automated transfer vehicles for spacecraft servicing (particularly Geostationary satellites); lunar and cis-lunar cargo transport; drag compensation of large space infrastructures; and mars crewed and cargo missions. While it will primarily be satellite manufacturers and propulsion system integrators that purchase and integrate the Supreme thruster, their customers — the operators and end users of the satellite — are also heavily involved in designing and structuring high-power satellite missions and are often instrumental in the process of choosing components.”
Taqadam is driven by the idea to democratize the Geostationary Orbit (GEO) Artificial Intelligence (AI): bringing mobile technology and combination of computer and human validation mapping. The company believes in alternative ways of generating valuable datasets to drive business and sustainable development — using satellite imagery. It aspires to build the map of all physical assets from critical infrastructure like primary schools in Sub-Saharan Africa to data on production facilities or supply traffic, in order to know and better the planet.
“We target financial institutions and insurance companies, however, our previous clients were in market intelligence only,” says Taqadam Founder and CEO Karina Grosheva. “They used this data on physical infrastructure to better target their customers.”
Grosheva is a digital innovation professional with 14 years of experience in management technology consulting with PwC, Accenture, and the United Nations in resources and sustainability sector. Her goal is to lead technology and highly-trained image annotation teams that can build computer vision on aerial imagery and build maps. Her specialties include AI, computer vision, social innovation, United Nations policy, international development, and humanitarian work.
If a billion-dollar satellite fails in orbit, there's a 50% chance that the parties involved won't know why it happened, according to the founders of Eight Continent Technologies (8CT). The startup hopes to change this by performing on-site inspections in space to help extend satellite lifetimes and save customers tens of millions of dollars per year. 8CT is preparing for a technology demonstration mission on the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2020, with a first full mission tentatively scheduled for early 2022.
8CT CEO Eric Ingram has been a commercial spaceflight expert and industry insider for nearly a decade. He has extensive experience in high-level organizational management and financial management, as well as in remote sensing and physics technologies. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University.
Ingram says that 8CT’s target market is based on five segments. “8CT's first customer base will be GEO satellite operators,” he explains. “Operators own 320 satellites in GEO worth at least $300 million each and earn $128 billion yearly. Manufacturers such as Boeing construct $400 million satellites and have an interest in mitigating technical risks. Aerospace insurers often pay out hundred-million dollar claims with limited failure data. Research institutions want better knowledge of the deep space environment. The U.S. government highlights space domain awareness of orbital assets as a key priority.”
Arch Rift is making an automatically deploying oxygen helmet for use in space tourism and space settlements of the future. Arch Rift's helmet connects and stows in the neck ring of existing pressure suits. It deploys over the head automatically when the suit pressurizes in an emergency situation.
Emily Karlzen, the founder and CEO of Arch Rift, is a senior at Arizona State University studying business and engineering. Her executive committee includes CTO Elisabeth Thomas, who is also a PhD student at Arizona State University studying engineering. Thomas is a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow.
“In the beginning, our main customers will be the major spacesuit companies. We will sell them helmets on a per-unit basis as a component,” Karlzen says. “Once the design is proven, we will make a stand-alone positive pressure system which we can sell directly to the space tourism companies. To supplement the space market, we plan on spinning off the technology for use in mining, aircraft and submarine safety. These industries have a combined market value of $166 billion.”
Intergalactic Education is a software company that works directly with schools and after-school programs to teach teenagers about the space industry. The company focuses on getting young girls and minorities interested in engineering and technology, and has developed an educational computer game called Space World.
The game motivates students through the use of incentives and competition. Students compete across schools for high scores while new game content unlocks upon the completion of the different math modules built into the storyline.
Justin Park, President of Intergalactic Education, is an entrepreneur and technology evangelist with Masters degrees in space management and computer science from the International Space University and the University of Iowa, respectfully. Park worked at the NASA Ames Research Center during his tenure with Accenture in 2008 and more recently at NASA Headquarters as an associate for Booz Allen Hamilton.
“Currently, our paying customers are schools and after-school, but we anticipate our target market to expand and include aerospace companies as corporate sponsors,” Park says. “We also see summer camps, private tutoring services, and parents who homeschool as potential customers.”
Sateliot is a 5G coverage extender for Internet of Things (IoT) customers of incumbent operators. Sateliot aims to connect IoT devices of incumbent´s customers out of coverage of their terrestrial networks in a seamless mode connecting directly the IoT devices to a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation of nanosats under the 5G architecture.
Founder and CEO Jaume Sanpera is also the founder of Eurona, a public company where sales grew from 2 million euro to 150 million euro over the course of six years. He has a background in Telecommunications Engineering, a Master in Business Administration and a Program of High Management of Companies. His entire career has developed in parallel to technological development and entrepreneurship, founding up to 9 companies which are specialized in high growth.
“There are other IoT LEO constellations offering direct to satellite connection but all of them are using proprietary protocols,” Sanpera says. “We will be using 5G architecture and this makes a big difference.”
With a background in satcom, AnsuR Technologies has spent years creating solutions for challenges like how to communicate high precision mission-critical photo and video data over low-bandwidth mobile satcom systems. The company has come up with a solution called “Raido,” that it claims can cut bandwidth needs by 99%, while giving users full-precision services where needed. AnsuR is currently focusing on UAVs and drones, which it sees as the fastest growing mobile satcom market.
Dr. Harald Skinnemoen, founder and CEO of AnsuR, is a satellite communications professional with more than 25 years of experience. He also holds a PhD in communications and information theory. He has been chairman of satellite standard groups, and has given a number of talks and presentations on these subjects. He serves as AnsuR’s main innovator and lead business development officer.
“Our target customers are drone manufacturers and users, with satellite equipment and service providers as partners,” says Skinnemoen. “Target markets are mission-critical, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, security, and emergency management.
TRAXyL has developed a simple, quick, and cost-efficient way of installing last-mile, broadband connectivity by essentially painting optical fibers onto the road surface. The company calls its solution “FiberTRAX.” TRAXyL aims to provide turnkey installations of FiberTRAX or provide the equipment, materials, and training for companies to self-perform FiberTRAX installations.
Daniel Turner, CEO & Co-Founder of TRAXyl, is an inventor, entrepreneur, engineer, and a self-described “techie.” He is passionate about solving the communication challenges of today, to make a better world for tomorrow. Focusing on the last mile problem, Daniel's vision is to bring affordable broadband access to all using disruptive technologies.
“TRAXyL is targeting the customer in the segment called the last-mile, where installations can be 10 times more expensive than the long haul or backhaul segments,” Turner says.
“These customers generally encounter underground hazards like gas or electrical utilities and also environmental conditions like rock or water. Because of these hazards the permitting, design, and installation is very time consuming and expensive. The end users are often municipalities, small businesses, school campuses, or event complexes. The TRAXyL customers who service these end users are the contracting companies who design and build the telecommunications network," he adds.
From images to information, Latitudo40 combines artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Big Data analysis to transform Earth observation images into information for decision-makers. The company uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find complex correlations that are difficult to identify with traditional tools.
Co-Founder Vincenzo Vecchio has been involved in project management and business development for almost 20 years. He began working for ICT research projects funded by the European Commission and still serves as a business coach for EC projects. He started has founded and co-founded start-ups based in Italy and the United States, where he generally held the role of project manager and support for innovation and R&D projects.
“Latitudo 40 aims to offer services to different market segments: municipality and urban planners, insurance companies, critical infrastructure companies, and water/electricity utilities,” Vecchio says. “With our solution builder anyone can create a geospatial application in a few simple steps and therefore another market segment is represented by system integrators in the geospatial business.” VS