Prague’s space incubator receives its first six start-ups
14 Dec. 2016 | CzechInvest | At ESA BIC Prague, the companies will develop a range of projects – racing and trekking bicycle frames, digitisation of aeronautical data, a mobile application for hiking, management of African agriculture and a spectral x-ray device for verifying the authenticity of artworks
The companies participating in ESA BIC Prague are Festka, NG Aviation, Triphood, TuddyTuddy, Big Terra and InsightART | They will be able to draw up to EUR 50,000 over two years for their projects using space technologies | The projects were assessed by a committee composed of representatives of Czech partners and the European Space Agency (ESA)
Triphood’s application accompanies hiking trips with original stories and is thus intended to encourage mainly children to go outdoors more frequently. Another application, from TuddyTuddy, connects travellers with local residents. Festka is developing Spectre, a new road-racing and trekking bicycle frame. NG Aviation’s goal is to develop a new solution in the area of digitalising aeronautical data. Big Terra wants to aid the development of African agriculture. And InsightART’s spectral x-ray device offers an effective tool for verifying the authenticity of artworks. These companies will be supported in their efforts by the ESA Business Incubation Centre in Prague.
When we officially opened the incubator seven months ago, we looked forward to the initial participants and their ideas and projects. And here we have them. Six Czech start-ups, whose ideas appealed to the European Space Agency, underwent an evaluation and now have ahead of them a two-year incubation in the Prague space incubator,” says Karel Kučera, CEO of CzechInvest, which is the operator of the ESA BIC Prague project.
“We are excited to see the first start-ups move into the ESA BIC Prague. The good quality of the applications showed us that there is extremely high potential in space-related businesses in Prague. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with CzechInvest to support these start-ups with both technical and business advice,” says Frank Salzgeber, Head of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office.
The selected start-ups participating in ESA BIC Prague will be able to draw support in the amount of up to EUR 50,000 for completion of their products and introduction thereof to the market. In addition to ESA, the City of Prague is providing financial support. Nearly CZK 45 million has been allocated for the programme. At the incubator, which is located at Palác Adria in Prague, the start-ups will have access to consulting and advisory services focused on both technological and business aspects, marketing support and contacts to potential partners and investors. ESA BIC Prague will support up to 25 selected start-ups over the course of five years. CzechInvest and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are ensuring provision of facilities for the project. The Ministry of Transportation and Komerční banka are also partners of ESA BIC Prague.
“We are convinced that this is a bilaterally beneficial partnership. For Prague, it is an honour to take part in this project. At the same time, we believe that in the near future the city will benefit from the incubator’s results in the form of technologies that we will be able to use in, for example, the development of transport and services for the residents of Prague,” says Petr Dolínek, deputy mayor of Prague.
“Development and support of new businesses is our standing priority. For projects supported and developed within ESA BIC Prague, we have prepared a preferential offer of banking services and financing tailored to the course of the incubation process,” adds a representative of another project partner, Martin Ehrenberger, manager of Sector Management for Small Businesses at Komerční banka. “Our specialists are also prepared to provide consulting and expert mentoring for the individual projects.”
Festka, a manufacturer of state-of-the-art bicycles, focuses on hand-crafted production and technological innovation. The company cooperates with leading science and research institutes and technological innovators such as the Czech Technical University, CompoTech, Nippon, Campagnolo, GRM and Meopta. Festka is currently in a growth phase in which it is concentrating on the development of a new road-racing and trekking bicycle frame called Spectre, which is intended primarily for professional bicyclists on the Czech national team.
NG Aviation has the objective of introducing new, state-of-the-art solutions to the field of digitalising aeronautical data. The company offers a portfolio of products under the name AIME - Airport Information Management Environment which contains three solutions in one bundle. The AIME DINO application will connect the needs of airports with air navigation service providers. The AIME Digital Data Creator tool is able to create digital maps according to ICAO standards and provides customers with a unique way to enter the digital world. The company wants to use the advantages of a touch interface and a virtual reality solution in order to make working with aeronautical data as convenient as possible. AIME Viewer GNSS- A-SMGCS, an AIXM 5.1 digital 3D aeronautical data viewer, is able to integrate the position of the GNSS monitoring system and thus monitor airport traffic and integrate it into a digital airport map, which eases navigation, especially if there are obstacles or if parts of services and taxiways are shut down.
The mobile application from Triphood tells original stories during trips and excursions, which has the purpose of encouraging especially children to spend time outdoors instead of in front of a television or computer. The application is appropriate particularly for tourism and information centres, hotels, national parks and zoos, among others. The application’s development consists in its optimisation and addition of new functions with the long-term goal of being the biggest available database of trips.
TuddyTuddy is an application for mobile devices that helps local residents/guides with visitors to be well informed. It is already available in the AppStore and GooglePlay and has two types of customers: travellers and local guides, who can use the app to share information about themselves and present their offer of services which are in some way unique or interesting for others (for example, language skills, knowledge of local attitudes and history, etc.). The application does not have any direct competition, especially in Prague.
Big Terra is bringing forth the latest advances in the management of African agriculture. The company is combining satellite date, weather stations and numeric weather models in order to provide farmers and other entities involved in agricultural infrastructure a single space for data supporting their decision-making in the area of managing agricultural activities, including suggestions on when to start planting, information on how their crops are growing, how they can best support their yields and indication of the optimum harvest period.
InsightART is bringing out a globally unique and state-of-the-art spectral x-ray device for inspecting and authenticating artworks by providing information on the composition of pigments in paintings and thus offering unprecedentedly detailed data on scanned works. The product helps to verify the authenticity of works and, at the same time, offers a unique and highly detailed view of the top layer of a painting, thus assisting restorers in their high-precision work. InsightART’s x-ray technology is derived from space-based particle research. The detectors used by InsightART are operated as dosimeters and particle trackers on the International Space Station and are also used as detectors for highly demanding experiments in the field of particle physics at CERN. The globally patented technology of these sensors was developed by InsightART’s parent company, Advacam, a spin-off of the Czech Technical University in Prague.