The 10th ESA Investment Forum 2019 last week was a successful fertilizer into space innovation. Investors met face to face with 14 start-ups to create business opportunities together.
The goal was to bring together investors and start-ups from the space sector to provide them with a networking platform. The forum turned out to be a very successful event with several potential contacts being made and future collaboration discussed.
“In our opinion such activities are very important for young start-ups like us,” said
Pouya Haschemi and Shahrokh Khodabakhshi, co-founders of ESA BIC H&BW start-up HOSTmi.
“At these events you will not only find the opportunity to validate and optimize your business idea but also learn about potential clients.”
Organised jointly by ESA's Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office (TTP), High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH (HTGF) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) this 10th ESA Investment Forum was arranged and kicked-off by ESA Business Incubation Centre Hessen & Baden-Württemberg (ESA BIC H&BW) at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, 31 January 2019.
120 participants, more than 20 investors and 14 well-prepared start-ups
The selected participating 14 start-ups all develop leading-edge solutions for space systems, space technology spin-offs and for down-stream applications, with a majority of start-ups coming from ESA Business incubation Centres (ESA BICs).
Prior to the event, all start-ups received coaching on pitching, presenting and meeting investors by a strong coaching team of professionals from investor groups, business angels and space industry.
The host of the event, ESA Director of Operations and Head of ESOC Dr Rolf Densing, opened the ESA Investment Forum 2019 by welcoming all.
He was followed by stimulating introductions by the organisers, Dr Gerd Kraft from DLR Directorate of Space Programs, HTGF Managing Director Dr Alexander von Frankenberg, Head of ESA TTP Frank Salzgeber and Dr Frank Zimmermann from ESA BIC H&BW and CEO cesah GmbH.
Lively podium discussions
The opening was followed by two podium discussions. The first was moderated by Frank Salzgeber and addressed the question “Entrepreneurship in Space – Why does Germany need a 1 B€ Space Fund?”
On the podium were Claudia Kessler from Die Astronautin, Gareth Keane from Promus Ventures)and Jörg Kreisel from JKIC. The animated session was cheered up even more by some space-“Dalli Dalli” quizzing.
The second podium discussion “Investment in Space – What are investors currently looking for?” was moderated by Christian Ziach, Investment Manager at HTGF.
The lively podium consisted of Rainer Horn from SpaceTec Capital, Yann Fiebig from HTGF, Jochen Harms from OHB Venture Capital, Herbert Mangesius from Vito Ventures and Martin Giese from XPRENEURS.
14 start-ups met investors at two pitch sessions
The first pitch session was moderated by Dr Frank Zimmermann with the investor panel members Gareth Keane from Promus Ventures, Dr Maciej Pasternak from abacus alpha, Erhard Seeger from BrainFleet and Martin Giese from XPRENEURS.
The second pitch session was moderated by Cornelia Gebath from ESA BIC Bavaria, Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, with the investor panel members Yann Fiebig from HTGF, Jochen Harms from OHB Venture Capital, Herbert Mangesius from Vito Ventures and Martin Giese from XPRENEURS.
Also the more than 20 investors could participate to the workshop “Space Investment in Germany” moderated by Christian Ziach, HTGF.
Both investors and start-ups were very satisfied with the day.
“Thanks for the organisation of what was probably the best ever ESA investment Forum. Good companies, well pitch-trained, great timekeeping,” said investor Rainer Horn from SpaceTec Capital.
"A successful event and many interesting guests," said Jörg Bartsch, Business Angel (translated from German).
The start-ups also reported that they found the ESA Investment Forum had been extremely fruitful.
“It has been a useful event for Deep Blue Globe and we got approached by some interested investors,” said entrepreneur Pablo Ruiz Sánchez.
“Good opportunity to gain focused feedback and positive criticism from the investors and other start-ups,” said Kartik Kumar, co-founder and CEO of ESA BIC Noordwijk start-up satsearch.
”It helped us reflect on our progress as a team. Thank you for a fantastic week in Darmstadt! A great event.”
“A big thank you from our side to the whole organization committee! It was a great event!!” emphasized Dr Alexander Kopp from start-up POLARIS Raumflugzeuge KG.
“Incredible event!” added Dr Manu Lubrano from ESA BIC Switzerland start-up INVOLI.
More pictures from the successful 10th ESA Investment Forum are available here.
ESA BICs – the world's largest ecosystem for space-related entrepreneurship
The 20 ESA Business Incubation Centres, spread over more than 60 cities, in 17 European countries, provide together with their national partners all the needed technical expertise and business-development support to the more than 300 start-ups currently under incubation.
The centres are operated under ESA’s Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Programme Office (TTPO) with the European network of Technology Transfer Brokers. Together they offer access to all aspects of space-related innovation, technology and intellectual properties and is a gateway to ESA and European space research and developments, both to existing European companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The 20 ESA BICs in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and UK are forming the largest ecosystem in the world for space-related entrepreneurship. The 21th centre is soon to open in Northern Germany and more centres are already under preparation.
Over 700 start-ups have been fostered and another near 180 new start-ups are taken in yearly at the ESA BICs to be supported under the two-years business development boosting programme.