Space Missions 2015 were part of an exciting new programme of entrepreneurs’ missions for the UK’s leading space and satellite application start-ups. These missions, supported by Innovate UK and UK Science and Innovation Network saw two groups visit the USA in 2015.
The missions are designed to help the companies build relationships with the leading players in the US space and satellite sector including government, corporates, investors, start-ups and scientists through meetings, company visits, networking events and briefings.
Seven companies joined Space Mission 2.0 and had the following to say about their experience.
Terrabotics, Daniel Plant
At Terrabotics, we are focused on pulling those “words” from incredible pictures of our Changing Planet, and helping the Energy industry to more efficiently & safely plan sustainable operations.
Space Mission 2.0 was a fantastic opportunity for Terrabotics as we are focused on narrowing the gap between Space and Energy. And, what better place to do that than the SpaceCom Expo in Houston, the Energy Capital of the World?
The Mission provided a great opportunity to spend time with innovative business minds and discuss the evolving story of the small-sat revolution--a story that will ultimately require more than a thousand words.
Oxford Space Systems, Mike Lawton
Oxford Space Systems' reasons for attending Space Mission 2.0 include wanting to:
- follow up on interest generated in Space Mission 1.0
- generate new leads / raise profile of OSS on West Coast
- compare West & East coast approaches & maturity to ‘new space’ developments
My recommendations to future attendees would be to:
- make their own contacts before setting off – don’t expect to be spoon fed. The Mission is what you make it to be.
- have their story clear: why are you different? Why should the US engage with you in preference over indigenous solutions? How do you protect your business (i.e. you don’t want to show a great idea to the US if there’s means to protect it / a reason for them to stay engaged).
Ecometrica, Sarah Middlemiss
What excites Ecometrica are the opportunities that space provides to gain more knowledge about the world we live in. Well established in the UK and Europe, we were keen to participate in Space Mission 2.0 UK to meet and start building relationships with key players in the industry who might open doors to new partnerships and clients.
Overall, Space Mission 2.0 gave us an insight into the U.S. market that you cannot get from reading alone. With this new understanding of the Houston space ecosystem, and new connections with key players in the industry, Ecometrica is better equipped to make the giant leap that positions it as the bridge between space and industry in the U.S.
Gyana Limited, Joyeeta Das
Travelling with 5 other stellar downstream space tech companies from UK to US - Gyana were able to find many value adds. Learning from each other, from industry experts, listening to stalwarts speak on stage but most importantly - finding interesting plug ins to the NASA were key take-aways.
In the end - we found some key partners amongst our peers, exchanged knowledge, found 2 potential projects with NASA and some lifelong allies.
I strongly recommend the trips as a means to get introduced to embedded industries, to raise funds as well as to network with valuable players.
Blue Skies Space Limited, Marcell Tessenyi
Blue Skies Space wanted to attend the Space Mission 2.0 to understand the funding landscape for space applications in the US. Already before taking off we received excellent support by the team from Innovate UK during the pre-mission training sessions, who helped us focus our message and present our company activities more effectively.
I would highly recommend other companies to participate in future Space Missions: it gives small companies an immediate international exposure and incredible networking opportunities. It is great to see that the UK is supporting and promoting internationally small businesses in the space sector so effectively.
Geocento, Kim Partington
Geocento decided to take part in Space Mission 2.0 as an important initial step in taking its business to the next level through additional backing and the development of strategic partnerships. The preparation for this mission was as important as the mission itself as this provided an opportunity for us to both re-assess and better articulate our business case. The mission itself was both directly useful in generating specific business opportunities and partnerships and indirectly through accelerating our strategic business planning.
We found one major business opportunity in Houston itself, had discussions with two key suppliers, learnt about a key competitor, received some constructive investment advice, but perhaps most surprisingly found some important collaboration opportunities among the space mission companies themselves.
Rezatec, Philip Briscoe
Rezatec attended the UK Space Mission 2.0 to Houston in November to achieve a couple of things: firstly to take the temperature of the downstream satellite data applications market in the United States to provide direction for our market entry strategy and help define which markets and which products, and, secondly, to network with potential partners, suppliers and customers in the Houston region and at the SpaceCom.
There were two highlights of the week for me: one business related and one personal. For business, the feedback received from the Houston Business Angel Network following our pitch session was extremely useful in terms of next steps and specific advice and from a personal perspective, the backstage visit to the NASA Johnson Space Centre (as part of the SpaceCom programme) including the ISS mission control, was fascinating.
Space Mission 2016
Further missions are planned for the space sector. If you are part of an early stage company, looking to raise new finance or are planning to get your business export ready please do get in touch with us about joining a future mission.
- Follow me on Twitter: @InnovateTimJust
- Learn more about Innovate UK's entrepreneur missions
- Hear what happened on the first Space Mission in August 2015
- Read more on Rezatec's experience of Space Mission 2.0
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