Twenty-one start-ups have entered the ESA BIC Prague space incubator in three years

6. 6. 2019 | Source: Business and Investment Development Agency (CzechInvest)

Eight of them have received investments in the total value of more than CZK 75 million.

  • Three years have passed since the establishment of the ESA BIC Prague incubator
  • To date, 21 start-ups, both Czech and foreign, have been incubated
  • Eight of them have received investments totalling more than CZK 75 million

Sixteen technology start-ups have entered the European Space Agency’s ESA BIC Prague space incubator since its establishment in 2016. The start-ups have found new customers and business partners and have entered foreign markets. Eight of them have received investments in the combined amount of more than CZK 75 million. Five more start-ups are now entering the space incubator, three in Prague and two at the branch in Brno.

Three of the start-ups that are now entering ESA BIC Prague will have access to facilities at Palác Adria in Prague over the next two years.

Dronetag is developing devices that expand the functionalities and thus the possibilities of using ordinary drones. The devices are able to identify drones in real time and to interconnect them. At the same time, the firm is developing other accessory devices for connection to any drone. The start-up’s four-member team came together at the Space Applications Hackathon organised by CzechInvest in autumn 2018. Since then, they have developed not only the initial prototype, but also cooperation with other major players in the drone sector in the Czech Republic.

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the system developed by Neuron Soundware detects defects in production machines on the basis of sound analysis. The start-up is collaborating on its implementation and development with numerous major firms such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, LG, Siemens, Airbus and Škoda and would like to find uses for it in the space industry in cooperation with the European Space Agency.

Stratosyst, which won the Czech regional round of the Galileo Masters competition last year, is developing HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellite), a stratospheric observatory which, from an altitude of 20 kilometres, will be able to provide the same services as orbiting satellites but for significantly lower costs. The start-up plans to enter the market in 2021 with a prototype that will operate at an altitude of three kilometres.

Two other start-ups will have access to facilities at the Brno branch of ESA BIC at the South Moravian Innovation Centre.
During its incubation, SkyMaps wants to perfect its application for optimising the use of pesticides in agriculture. The application combines drone and satellite images for Earth observation.

In 2017 Spacemanic, a spin-off of the Slovak Organisation for Space Activities, launched skCUBE, the first Slovak CubeSat miniature satellite, into orbit. At the incubator, the start-up wants to further develop CubeSats and expand their uses for customers around the world.

Of the twenty-one start-ups that have already used or are currently using support from ESA BIC Prague, thirteen are from the Czech Republic and eight are based in countries such as France, Switzerland, the United States, Egypt and Slovakia. Seven of them have already completed their incubation. Seventeen of the start-ups are focused on using space technologies in practice, while the remaining four are expanding the use of their products into the space industry. The technologies with which they are involved include, for example, drones, simulation software, satellite navigation, Earth observation and advanced materials.

“Many of our start-ups have already expanded their activities abroad, established branches there, are collaborating with leading global players in their respective fields, and have gained international recognition, new customers and business partners,” says Marek Aldorf of ESA BIC Prague. “Eight of them have even found investors and have received investments in the combined value of more than CZK 75 million.”

“The quality and variety of the projects at ESA BIC Prague and their ability to gain investments is above the average of the whole ESA BIC network of incubators,” says Frank Salzgeber, head of the European Space Agency’s Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office.“I anticipate that the impact of this initiative will be significant for the Czech and European economy. What I consider to be an interesting aspect is the foreign start-ups that have registered in ESA BIC Prague, which is evidence of foreign firms’ interest in doing business in the Czech Republic as well as this country’s openness.”

An overview of start-ups currently being incubated at ESA BIC Prague is available here.

About ESA BIC Prague

The ESA BIC Prague space incubator was established in May 2016 as part of the European Space Agency’s network of Business Incubation Centres, which provide facilities and support for innovative technology start-ups working with and further developing space technologies and seeking commercial uses for them. CzechInvest is the operator of ESA BIC Prague. The City of Prague, Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Industry and Trade are also involved in the project. The incubator is located at Palác Adria in Prague. In March 2018, a branch of ESA BIC Prague was established at the South Moravian Innovation Centre in Brno. More information is available at www.esa-bic.cz.

The Investment and Business Development Agency CzechInvest is a state-contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The agency arranges domestic and foreign investment in the Czech Republic in the areas of manufacturing, business support services and technology centres. It also supports small, medium-sized and newly established innovative firms, business infrastructure and innovation.

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