Latitude59, the flagship conference of #eEstonia startups an tech taking place on May 25-26 in Tallinn. Probably for the first time in history of startups conferences in the Nordics and Baltics, the 2-days program included a panel dedicated to new space startups exclusively.
With new space startup founders, executives and investors on board, the panel opened the discussion on digital disruption through space.
“Now it the good time to start doing business in space.” - said Ronald Goedendorp, one of the panelists and VP of space opportunities at Nanoracks.
His company develops products and offers services for microgravity research, testing, and commercial applications through deployment into LEO or on the International Space Station. “We need to focus on solving concrete business problems as an inception, instead of the fascination of going to space and building expensive hardware. Everything from logistics to large agricultural and oil businesses will find the ways to apply and use space derived data." - said Goedendorp.
“Find a problem you can solve and don’t make it too hard. Don’t try to go to Mars or do asteroid mining. They are too hard and too expensive to tap into. Find customers, give them a solution, and do your best to execute it.” - Scott Larson, co-founder and CEO of HeliosWire. Scott was formerly CEO of UrtheCast, a company that provides Earth-imaging system for geospatial analysis. At UrtheCast, he led the company through the start-up, IPO, and into the operational phase, ultimately raising over $225 million, ramping up to 250 employees and reaching a market valuation of $500 million in less than 5 years.
“People are hacking into the space industry by leveraging satellite technology that are becoming more and more accessible. Private sector is pushing and public sector is adapting. We already see companies start to develop technology for asteroid mining and 3D manufacturing in space. Investors are happy to tap into new space companies, but there should be more development in commercial market.” - Sebastian Straube, founder and CEO of Berlin-based Interstellar Ventures. In his keynote he’s pondering how the concept of Estonian e-residency can be applied in Moon Village project and further in colonisation of space.
“Space is the keyword for Estonia in 2017” - concludes the panel Paul Liias, co-founder of Cubehub, Estonia-based crowdsourced satellite ground station network.
Indeed, earlier this week Estonia hosted European Interparliamentary Space Conference. Plus the ESA BIC that is expected to kickstart later this year, bringing on the chain of space-related events in November during the Estonian presidency of the EU.
The country has become a full member of European Space Agency on September 1, 2015, and launched its first satellite ESTCube-1. To date, Estonian companies and research institutions received 9 ESA contracts, which included development in software and space equipment.