A new chapter in the history of SpaceFounders has just begun with Batch #3 in Toulouse!
After the success of two batches, ten newly selected Spactechs are back for more. The program kicked off with an intensive week in Toulouse.
After a successful first and second run, SpaceFounders was at it again. This time we're going to the next level with our intensive week in Toulouse for Batch 3.
The ten selected startups worked on their presentation skills, learned about the new space ecosystem in Europe, met the who's who of new space and got honest insights from other founders and successful startups outside of space.
An accelerator program like SpaceFounders serves as a refresher and helps broaden horizons and prepare for investor pitches. All of the selected spacetechs have proven that they're successful and that their productfits the market. For the next step, raising capital and scaling, a re-evaluation of strengths, weaknesses and storyline is needed.
And that's exactly what the first week in Toulouse delivered.
Kick off and reevaluating
Day one in Toulouse began with a quintessential French breakfast of coffee and croissants, followed by a warm welcome from SpaceFounders french team. Representatives from UniBW and ASI joined the ten selected startups to start their three-month journey of rebalancing operations and preparing them for their next steps - pitching! The first round of elevator pitches was a unique opportunity for the companies to step away from their daily routines and reposition themselves for the future.
And then there was pitching. The first round of elevator pitches gave a unique opportunity to get out of the day-to-day business and reposition the company for the next step forward.
Let´s go Airbus & Defense
Airbus Defence and Space unlocked their doors to welcome the third cohort of spacetech startups. The day's proceedings commenced with a warm greeting from none other than Jean-Marc Nasr, the esteemed Executive Vice President at Airbus Defence and Space. Joining him were Lionel Suchet and Thomas Fouquet, as well as directors and heads of CNES' space division, who also shared their valuable insights with the space engineers in attendance. The event was further graced by the presence of Matthieu Lys, the distinguished head of innovation management at Airbus Defence and Space, who provided his expert opinion to the eager attendees.
In a display of entrepreneurial zeal, the startups presented their ideas in front of Airbus Defence and Space's management and leaders. The feedback they received was invaluable, and the startups seized the opportunity to pitch their concepts with passion and verve.
And where better to take the time to make new connections and engage in stimulating conversations? Over a sumptuous luncheon, of course!
What sets SpaceFounders apart from other accelerators is its unrelenting focus on mentorship, with a network of over 100 mentors, including esteemed space experts. The accelerator's unique approach to mentorship ensures that each startup receives personalized attention and guidance, matched with a mentor whose expertise aligns perfectly with their needs. Which is where the afternoon was about. Finding the best mentor for every spacetech.
Reality check and honest insights
The day started off with a dose of reality and candid insights from venture capitalists who have experience in the space industry. Typically, honest feedback and a reality check are hard to come by. Entrepreneurs are often in love with their products and therefore have a biased perspective. However, having an environment where they can receive constructive feedback, ideas for better presentation, and questioning of market size and approach can make a significant difference. This is precisely what Jeremy Teboul accomplished. During his talk, Jeremy Teboul of Promus Ventures provided an excellent and forthright discussion on what VCs genuinely expect. "How and why are you different?" is a question that entrepreneurs should contemplate since VCs are seeking differentiation.
Hugo Gonzalez of CNES then presented on the many opportunities startups have by working with CNES. An insightful presentation on the connections and opportunities of Connect by CNES.
ESG isn't just a nice-to-have, but a real differentiator and something investors value. How this plays out in practice and how #ESG criteria can be integrated was part of the presentation by Amélie Goureaux of IMPACT Partners on impact investing.
Speaking of money, how to value and sell a product in a non-existent market? Two space experts and SpaceFounder alumni provided answers and shared their insights: Davide Vittori from AIKO - Infinite Paths to Autonomy and Marion Andrieux from Infinite Orbits shared how to tackle this practical question in everyday startup life.
Not to be forgotten. Charlotte Voisin from Invest in Toulouse informed about all the investment opportunities in Toulouse.
Fieldvisit to Thales Alenia Space
Site visits are an essential part of SpaceFounders. Theory is nice, but let's see how it's really done. The SpaceFounders visit to Thales Alenia Space was the best example of this!
It all started with Cedric Balty, Vice President of Innovation and Sustainability, who took the time to welcome the Spacetechs. Vincent C., Business and Open Innovation Director at Thales Alenia Space, gave insights into the company's Open Innovation system and showed how venture and #startupcollaborations work. Guilhem Garrel, Philippe Roy and Jean-Philippe Jocqueviel explained how innovation transfer is managed at Thales.
A tour of the assembly, integration and testing facilities gave you a chance to see how it works in practise. One highlight: the internal Makerspace FABLB, where Thales intrapreneurs can develop their ideas.
Let's talk. In a hot-seat session, everything can be brought to the table. Vincent C., Djamel L., responsible for Advanced Sourcing and Innovation, and Philippe Lamotte, Head of Electric Propulsion Engineering, made themselves available and spacetechs could ask everything they ever wanted to know - from better understanding the sourcing process to innovation. It was a rare opportunity to get first-hand information from decision makers.
Lunch with Thales employees provided an opportunity to make further contacts and initiate future collaborations.
Thanks to Thales Alenia Space for opening your doors and investing your time to SpaceFounders. For more collaborations to create future space leaders!
Partake in the European Innovation Council funds and Employ Exceptional Talent
Behold, the European Innovation Council (EIC) - a haven of funding structures and opportunities for space startups. The European Union has unleashed a new initiative that offers a staggering €2 billion per annum for pioneering research projects and avant-garde business plans. And SpaceFounders, being the visionary that it is, has stepped up to capitalize on this opportunity.
Stela Tkatchova and Francois Brizard have served as the beacons of guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs. They have shed light on the possibilities, furnished pointers, and shared pearls of wisdom on how to navigate this newfound terrain.
Ah, yes. The workforce - the beating heart of any enterprise. It is said that hiring exceptional talent is the Holy Grail of scaling up. How does one go about finding the finest professionals and coax them into joining their team? In a workshop focused on recruitment, persuasion, and onboarding, the esteemed Philippe Artero expounded on his experience as a headhunter and doled out practical solutions.
The week-long event was an electrifying amalgamation of innovation, collaboration, and networking that brought together some of the brightest minds in the space industry.
But the intensive week was not just about the exchange of ideas and knowledge. It was also a chance for the startups to form lasting partnerships and collaborations that could prove invaluable in their journey towards success. Through a series of networking events and one-on-one meetings, the startups were able to connect with potential investors, customers, and partners, and to explore new avenues for growth and development.
All in all, the intensive week in Toulouse was a resounding success, showcasing the best of spacetech innovation and bringing together a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, experts, and enthusiasts. As the industry continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, SpaceFounders is the go-to-place for the next generation of spacetech leaders.
The journey continues.
Pictures: Marc Valadier