Start-ups prepare to accelerate business
Eleven start-up companies have received a boost from a recent workshop to prepare for the ESA Investment Forum at Harwell, UK on 2 November.
The recent three-day intensive ESA Investment Readiness Programme workshop helped companies from the Agency’s business incubation centres and other early-stage start-ups using space technology in non-space fields to increase their chances of seed-level and venture capital funding.
ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) selected the 11 start-ups, which all have strong business potential with the right funding.
“We wanted to ‘dress up’ the entrepreneurs to be successful when meeting with investors,” explained Gabrio Boerci from ESA’s TTPO.
“Entrepreneurs are often technical guys with great ideas on how to spin-off advanced and often unique technologies from our European space programmes to great technical solutions for non-space applications.”
The entrepreneurs were guided by experienced coaches to tailor their investor presentations and business models, and to emphasise their unique selling propositions and business perspectives.
“Almost all good business ideas will need capital at some point,” explained coach and serial entrepreneur Rick Salmon from Xelerator AS, Norway.
“It’s like fertilisers for plants. Without capital, growth takes longer. With capital, a company can often move quicker.
“My goal has also been to teach them to become ‘serial entrepreneurs’ – persons who not only startup one company, but who are capable of starting many healthy businesses throughout their careers.
“Serial entrepreneurs must learn how to raise capital or to obtain the resources necessary for success with a good business idea.”
Workshop participant entrepreneur Kim Partington from UK start-up company EarthImages confirmed that, “this workshop was critical in turning around my perception of my business from that of an engineer to that of an investor, and hence helped me to be able to consider what needs to be strengthened in order to gain capital investment.”
ESA Investment Forum at Harwell
Thirty start-ups, including the 11from the readiness workshop, will meet potential investors at the sixth ESA Investment Forum on 2 November at the UK’s Harwell Oxford Science Park.
Harwell is a focal point of the UK’s rapidly growing high-tech space community and the location of both ESA’s new establishment and its fifth business incubation centre.
Organised by Europe Unlimited and hosted jointly by ESA and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the forum is an exclusive opportunity for the start-up companies to present their businesses and discuss the potential with representatives from the finance and investment community as well as key industry players.
Expert reviewers with over 20 professional venture capital (VC) investors and ‘business angels’ – wealthy, entrepreneurial individuals who provide capital in return for a proportion of a company’s equity – and corporate industry advisors will meet the start-ups and evaluate their business potential and investment opportunities.