Five ‘rising star’ start-ups win €100,000 each from EU space competition

29 Jun 2023

The winners of the EUSPA 2023 competition. Image: © EUSPA

There were no Irish winners of EUSPA’s space entrepreneurship competition scheme but last year an Irish company called Altiwave won €25,000.

The five winners of a competition run by the EU to encourage founders to create tools that use data from the EU’s satellites have each received funding of €100,000 to scale their ideas further.

The winning ideas ranged from health and environmental applications to learning and Web3 applications.

A start-up called Murmuration won funding for its idea to monitor tourism’s environmental impact using satellite data. Ajuma impressed for its idea of using satellite data to monitor UV rays to prevent skin cancer, while J-Snow will use data to monitor snowfall in near real time at high resolution.

Onocoy’s idea involved using Web3 tech to create a community-powered network of GNSS reference stations to enable ultra-accurate positioning. This could potentially benefit a variety of industries from drones to autonomous vehicles and robots.

Last but not least, ClearSky Vision provides daily cloudless satellite images that can help those in agritech monitor vegetation.

The competition was run by the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA). The agency was set up in 2021 and tasked with the responsibility of making the EU’s space ambitions a reality. Much of its efforts focus on encouraging competitive EU start-ups to grow and scale.

EUSPA oversees a lot of the EU’s satellite operations, including Galileo and Copernicus. The five winning start-ups all used data from either or both of these satellite constellations to inform their business plans.

This year is the second time EUSPA has run the competition. Last year, Irish business Altiwave scooped €25,000 in prize funding after it was selected as one of 11 winners. Altiwave focused on satellite-derived regional wave heights for the marine energy sector. This year yielded no Irish winners.

However, EUSPA said it was pleased with the calibre of entrants and its executive director congratulated this year’s winners. “I would like to congratulate the winners but also praise all participants of the product track for their efforts – such an encouragement for the future development of our EU economy,” said EUSPA executive director Rodrigo da Costa.

“It was impressive to see how robust the business plans of the winning solutions were but also the level of market maturity and business potential,” he added.

The winners were announced yesterday (28 June) at an event in Prague. They had the opportunity to impress judges and EU space industry stakeholders with live demos of their business plans.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.