ESA Space Incubator start-up company receives €4.1 million investment
A successful business 'incubatee' of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme has been given €4.1 million venture capital for start-up operations.
The German/Dutch company iOpener has developed a technology to map real-world competitions such as Formula 1 to an artificial world, allowing gamers to participate in the race both virtually and in real time. Their first product is based on satellite navigation technology innovations from ESA, which allow the efficient transmission of telemetric data from a number of moving objects and their mapping into the game’s virtual world.
"Our product enables gamers to race live against professionals – they don't have to be a 'Schumacher' to enjoy it," says Andy Lürling, CEO and co-founder of iOpener, "it is a total immersion experience."
The iOpener product was chosen as the 2006 Dutch Winner of the European Satellite Navigation Competition, which resulted in its being selected to participate in ESA’s Business Incubation initiative.
The business incubator at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, provided iOpener with critical resources such as access to engineering support from ESA experts as well as to ESA resources.
Moreover, ESA’s pre-seed funding enabled iOpener to develop the proof of concept needed to convince German Venture Capitalist Triangle to invest €4.1 million.
"This investment is not only a big success for iOpener and their innovative gaming concept, but also an affirmation for our concept at the ESA Business Incubator", says Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office, which manages the European space incubators which are located in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
"The space industry holds an almost infinite amount of technologies that can be transformed with the right idea and concept into successful start-up businesses in the non-space sector," explains Bruno Naulais, ESA Business Incubation Manager.
"We at ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office want to continue to offer our expertise and support to start-ups that are using space technology and space systems, to facilitate their market entry, as we did for iOpener."
The iOpener team is composed of Dutch, French, English and German members providing the international spirit necessary for success in the gaming industry. iOpener, the first venture-capital-backed ESA spin-off in satellite applications, is strategically positioned with headquarters in Aachen, Germany and Delft, the Netherlands, to leverage the expertise found at the world-class technical universities in these two cities. iOpener was a member of the ESA Business Incubator from March to December 2007.
ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)
The main mission of the ESA TTPO is to facilitate the use of space technology and space systems for non-space applications and to further demonstrate the benefit of the European space programme to European citizens. The TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies including the incubation of start-up companies. For more information, please contact:
Technology Transfer Programme
European Space Agency - ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1, P.O. BOX 299, 2200 AG, Noordwijk
Office: +31 (0) 71 565 3910
Fax: +31 (0) 71 565 6635
Email: ttp @ esa.int