Fund space spin-off at ESA Investment Forum


image Investors will meet with start-up companies using space tech in terrestrial systems to discuss business prospects and partnerships at the seventh ESA Investment Forum on 16 October in Toulouse, France.

The Forum is an exceptional platform for exploring investment opportunities and business potential.

The selected companies have all built a significant portion of their growth and competitive advantage on the utilisation of technologies and expertise originating from Europe's space programmes. They will discuss their business ideas and products with the investors.

Mix investors and entrepreneurs

"We pull together investors and people from venture capital funds to meet a number of potential start-up companies, primarily from our business incubation centres," says Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO).

"Entrepreneurs come to us with great ideas and we help them to mature their ideas in our incubation centres and to develop them into potential business opportunities."

ESA has set up six business incubation centres to support the use of Europe's space technology developments in non-space fields. This is often done by entrepreneurs creating new businesses by taking existing space technologies and turning them around creating innovative solutions for applications on Earth.

"The next step is to find partners and investors who can support the start-ups with financing and target their businesses," emphasises Frank.

"At our forums they get the opportunity to present and discuss their business ideas and plans with investors and venture capital funds' representatives.

"Successful partnerships have many times been the outcome consolidating many of the start-ups and turning them into healthy growing companies."

Create space technology spin-off

For years, ESA has been bringing space technologies down to Earth through its Technology Transfer Programme and Business Incubation Centre initiatives.

In 2010, the Agency strengthened these initiatives by setting-up of the dedicated venture capital Open Sky Technologies Fund (OSTF). Its aim is to nurture entrepreneurs' promising business prospects of using space technologies and satellite applications for terrestrial systems.

"As venture capitalists, we have decades of experience in how to turn a good potential business idea into a viable company," says Dr Bernd Geiger of Triangle Venture Capital Group that runs OSTF on behalf of ESA.

At the ESA Investment Forum he will be joined by other 15 professionals from other investment groups.

"We all come to spot interesting start-ups. Space technology has already proved to have strong non-space potentials, but a great idea is not enough to kick-off a successful company. Funding, experience and finding partners are also needed. That is what we can provide."

The ESA Investment Forum is organised by Europe Unlimited and hosted by ESA's TTPO together with the French Region Midi-Pyrenees.

Further information here.

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