Start of Batch #2 with our Intensive Week in Toulouse from June 13 - 16, 2022
For the second time, ten promising space tech startups have been selected for our European accelerator program and three intensive months of learning, networking and engagement. The kick-off week in Toulouse gives you a glimpse into what this entails: A moonshot in itself.
We did it again. The 10 space tech leaders selected for the "Cohort 2022" of SpaceFounders, the European accelerator program of CNES, the University of the Armed Forces in Germany and the Italian Space Agency, kicked off in June with an intensive program of conferences, meetings, masterclasses, networking and workshops to accelerate their space tech startups. The cohort so far has shown success, as the funding received is impressive, as the result of hard work. SpaceFounders is a 10-week bootcamp that takes place virtually and in person in the heart of major European space capitals.
The kick-off traditionally takes place in Toulouse, at the heart of the French space ecosystem. Commercialization, funding, sustainable development, feedback... the week was very rich in exclusive exchanges and working sessions with a remarkable group of experts.
BOOST TAKEN LITERALLY: A FIREWORK OF KEY NOTES
It's intentionally called "Boost Camp" What that means becomes clear when you look at the speaker list for the intensive week. To give you a little insight: SpaceTech startups were welcomed by SpaceFounders' three European partner institutions: CNES, the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich and the Italian Space Agency.
Thomas Fouquet, Deputy Director for NewSpace and Ecosystem at CNES, said, "This second cohort builds on the success of the first cohort in 2021. With SpaceFounders, CNES is helping to ensure that French startups aren't the only ones developing solutions and/or innovative technologies to meet the challenge of increasing commercialization with a strong focus on sustainable space. We're pleased to support this endeavor through our 'Connect by Cnes' funding program." Thomas Fouquet got hands-on, detailing the support and funding mechanisms CNES is putting in place for NewSpace startups. This, along with an exchange with Géraldine Naja, ESA's Director of Commercialization, about the program's available to scale-ups, gave a sense of the direct connections and doors that open to participating start-ups.
Not enough of the high-profile speakers. Antoine de Chassy, president of Loft Orbital and poster boy for the new space ecosystem, shared with the class his experiences and advice on how to run a company that's growing dramatically and is established on two continents. What to look for when growing a team, how to implement and sustain a productive company's spirit, and how to manage funding rounds while delivering your product? The privilege of learning from experienced industry leaders is priceless. When it's done in such an intelligent, witty and entertaining way as Antoine did - what more could you ask for?
It's one thing to hear from successful business leaders, but it's another to hear directly from VCs. If all you get otherwise is a polite "No, thank you," but no further help or support, no feedback on what you can improve, SpaceFounders gives venture capital managers space to share their secrets.
Emmanuel Daugeras of Cosmi Capital was one of them, and he did just that: he provided strategic information to help participants understand their fundraising. What is a venture capitalist really interested in? What are red flags? What part of the pitch deck do they pay the most attention to? How much can you ask for? And what is too little?
Pumped full of information, the stage opened to SpaceFounders' first-ever board member and supporter, Hélène Huby, Founder and CEO of The Exploration Company. Hélène is a living example of how to get excited about space - a true space fanatic - and candidly shared her extraordinary journey from Airbus to investment fund Urania Ventures to founding her highly ambitious startup. Indeed, Hélène detailed to the audience her strategy for the fund's funding rounds through a very interactive and instructive whiteboard session, with key diagrams. It was a real privilege to see a living role model who exemplifies what she preaches and embarks on this exciting journey, taking others along with her.
GET PRACTICAL: GUIDED VISITS TO THE BIG PLAYERS IN SPACE
But the intense week wasn't just about listening to keynotes. Pack your bags and get ready to visit the big players on the ground. At Thales Alenia Space, Spacefounders' startups visited the company assembly line for satellites while exchanging in an informal way with the innovation experts of the company. This field trip was followed by a lunch with the intrapreneurs present; rich in exchanges and important information for the development of space technology.
SpaceFounders Startups were also honored at Airbus Defence and Space, where they were invited to present their activities to all employees. They also met many other experts with the aim of establishing future partnerships. The day at Airbus was also the occasion to sign a partnership agreement between Airbus and SpaceFounders to anchor this collaboration in perpetuity and strengthen the unbundling of the space industry for the benefit of European innovation.
But Airbus was not the only company presenting: each space company was given 10 minutes to present its company, its vision, its product and its ambitions, putting into practise what it had learned. The energy that was felt, the engagement, the feedback and the conversations that resulted were enriching for both sides: Spacetech and Airbus employees alike. That's why we call it an ecosystem!
While addressing topics such as fundraising, storytelling, scaling, and team building, SpaceFounders decided to be a thought leader and dedicate a large portion of the program to sustainability and the impact of global warming. The criterion of sustainability isn't only important from an environmental standpoint but also becomes a criterion for vendor selection. Therefore, it's important to prepare the participating startups for this.
SpaceFounders managed to attract Laurence Monnoyer Smith, Director of Sustainable Development at CNES, and Raphael Lebel, Head of Sustainable Finance Observatory - Climate Investor & Entrepreneur, as speakers for the program. The learning objective was clear: to help startups better integrate climate and sustainability considerations into their activities and give them the tools to better design their projects with sustainability in mind. Not just to raise money, but for the planet.
NETWORKING : THE CHERRY ON TOP OF THE CAKE
The goal of this intensive week is twofold: to strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of the founders, but also to foster meetings and future partnerships that will enable these structures to achieve the exponential development envisioned by the acceleration program. SpaceFounders is proud of an exclusive network of more than 100 mentors from all over the world and all sectors. In this sense, numerous networking sessions and evenings complemented the work program and underlined the idea that socializing is an excellent business vector. Be it a city tour or a visit to a restaurant. Opportunities to socialize, engage, exchange business cards and ideas were plentiful. And even 40 degrees couldn't stop it.
IT IS JUST THE BEGINNING
There is a saying that to make a good article, start with fireworks and then slowly pick up the pace. The same is true for the SpaceFounders program. This was just the beginning. The program continues virtually, with inspiring working sessions and conferences that will lead us up to the second intensive week of attendance, which will take place the week of July 18 in Munich, in the heart of German space tech.
The program will conclude in Paris in September with a Demo Day attended by SpaceFounders partners, investors and supporters, including CNES, ESA and the European Commission.