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Everything you need to know from the new space ecosystem

  • AutorenbildStephanie Wissmann

SpaceFounders Demo Day Batch #4 Berlin: An evening for space pioneers

It was a unique evening dedicated entirely to space travel, technological innovation and exciting start-up stories: on December 7, 2023, SpaceFounders hosted a startup pitching and networking event in Berlin, which was attended by almost 100 exclusive and invited guests. With ten exciting pitches from European space start-ups and interesting keynote speeches, the SpaceFounders Demo Day Batch #4 at the renowned Design Offices Berlin Humbolthafen also offered opportunities to exchange ideas and get together.

Full house and an enthusiastic audience at the SpaceFounders Demo Day at the Design Offices in Berlin

Berlin - Europe's commitment to the space sector is of crucial importance. Innovation and space research are fundamental aspects when it comes to Europe's technological sovereignty. This requires bright minds and innovative ideas, but also an ecosystem that brings together experts, industry leaders and scale-up entrepreneurs to support selected start-ups. With SpaceFounders, the Bundeswehr University Munich - run by founders@unibw and - together with its partners CNES, the French space agency, and the Italian space agency ASI, offers a "space accelerator" that can help to equip Europe with a strong technological sovereignty and actively shape the space industry. This will be achieved through workshop weeks, networking events, expert lectures and individual mentoring.

The Demo Day in Berlin marked the culmination of three months of work and a lot of late-night brainstorming sessions.

Andreas Heitmann, Spacefounders Program Manager

"It's the quality of the startups that counts!"

The hosts Lucie Campagnolo, Felix Kästner and Andreas Heitmann welcomed the audience and gave the guests an insight into the work of SpaceFounders. SpaceFounders sees itself as an independent network organization in the New Space sector.

Kästner, Head of founders@unibw and Managing Director for the German part of the SpaceFounders program, presented the ecosystem. "We don't want to be just one of many accelerator programs," said Kästner. "With us, it's the quality of the startups that counts!"

After the short introductory speech, the ten start-ups in the fourth round of the SpaceFounders program each had seven minutes to present their innovations to the audience. Visionary projects met technological progress. The dual-use benefits of pioneering scientific discoveries were also presented.

During the subsequent panel, Matthias J. Wachter, Managing Director of the NewSpace Initiative of the BDI e.V., emphasized the relevance of events like this one. The space sector has incredible potential, but politicians are still too cautious, he said. "Europe is in danger of repeating the mistakes that were made during the rise of digital technologies," says Wachter. Space development must not be allowed to fall behind - it is a great opportunity for the entire industry and society."

Sven Przywarra, co-founder of LiveEO, a provider of AI-supported satellite monitoring of large infrastructure networks, was of the same opinion. "We have a lot of great opportunities in the EU - a lot has already been done," said Przywarra. His summary was positive: "Entrepreneurship has now slowly arrived." We need to be much more "consistent and determined" when it comes to new technologies in order to stand out from the crowd. According to Przywarra, this means getting better at the things you are not yet good enough at.

Call for closer cooperation: "Europe runs the risk of repeating the mistakes made during the rise of digital technologies"

Also on site in Berlin was Prof. Dr. Rafaela Kraus, Vice President for Applied Sciences, Entrepreneurship and Equal Opportunities at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich. She was proud of the start-ups and success stories to date, she told the audience. However, European spin-offs and companies need to work together even more closely than before and less within their own national borders.

The EU's course in terms of security sovereignty must be further strengthened. However, this can only be achieved through cooperation that inspires and motivates others. The event in Berlin should therefore also be seen as an invitation: "We need more start-ups from all over Europe!" said Kraus.

All pictures: Marc Beckmann


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