Space for
16-17 September 2020 ESA Virtual Event

ESA Start-up Winners to Pitch Their Innovations at ISD

Winners of the ESA Start-up Competition will join the opening session of the virtual ESA Industry Space Days on Wednesday 16 September 2020. The jury of the competition recently selected four winning start-ups from a total of 101 applicants. They will introduce themselves at the ISD and will be available for virtual appointments with industry and space agency representatives.

ESA’s Startup Competition gives visibility to start-up companies in the space sector, enabling the winners to benefit from ESA’s technical expertise and assistance. In February, the Agency called on Europe’s brightest innovation stars in all ESA Member States that are developing innovative services and/or products using space technology to apply. Submissions closed on 3 May 2020.

All 101 submitted applications were reviewed by ESA, and were judged on the team, business model, societal impact of the project and usefulness, as well as quality of the proposal. This process involved ESA engineering, scientific, business and legal experts, ESA’s Inspector General Office and a company specialised in competition reviews, leading to the selection of the top 10 proposals.

The 10 finalists with the most innovative products and services for space were reviewed by the Agency’s Industrial Policy Committee (IPC) delegates who selected the winners. Each start-up company presented their business proposals to the delegates online at the IPC meeting at the end of June.

All 22 Member State delegates voted unanimously on the winners of the competition:

  • Cosmic Srl in Italy is overall winner of the ESA Startup competition. They propose to further develop their neutron detector-based concept to make a low-cost device that is easy to install on any vehicle to measure the water content of the ground around pipelines and identify leaks.
  • Hawa Dawa in Germany has created a global air quality management platform driven by Earth observation satellite data, ground-based measurements, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.
  • Orbital EOS in Spain have developed the first commercial platform called ‘EOS Viewer’ which combines artificial intelligence with Earth observation radar and optical satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus programme to detect and characterise these oil spills.
  • ConstellR in Germany will start building its thermal infrared CubeSat constellation which will complement data from the Copernicus programme to provide a high-resolution land surface temperature monitoring service. At 3% of the cost of traditional systems it will monitor the health of crops globally, daily, and on the level of a single field.

Such was the quality of the entries that the third place was shared by two start-ups.

Each of the winning teams will present 3-minute pitches during the virtual ESA Industry Space Days  in a session moderated by Eric Morel de Westgaver, ESA Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services. The companies will also be available for virtual appointments with industry and space agency representatives.

In addition, ESA invites the winners to present at the Global Space Congress to be held in Abu Dhabi in May 2021. This will be an opportunity for the teams to present themselves together with winning companies of other space agencies from the UAE, Australia, Canada and Japan. The start-ups will also receive ongoing expert advice through a mentoring grant with a package of support ranging from EUR 100,000 (first prize), EUR 50,000 (second price) and EUR 25,000 (for each of the third place winners).

ISD participants are also invited to join the web-streamed ISD conference as well as dedicated ESA and industry presentations. All attendees are encouraged to complete their presentation sheets as soon as possible and to submit them for validation, so that their event participation can be confirmed by ESA. A list of participating entities with a validated profile is available here.