Space4Good | X-Europe Startup Interview
Welcome to our X-Europe startup interview series. We have virtually sat down with a number of our founders from past cohorts to hear all about their solutions, vision for the future, and what made them tick during our X Europe programme. So whether you are a deep tech founder looking for startup support, an eagle-eyed investor, or simply interested in the possibilities that technology can bring to society, then we welcome you to take a read. Please meet Space4Good, a startup using earth observation for social and environmental impact.
Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
Space4Good's mission is to use earth observation for social and environmental impact. Our core product is a geospatial intelligence platform hosting diverse applications helping our clients to map and track their social and environmental impact activities. Accordingly, we offer IT infrastructure, data collection, processing, and analytics at the same time to provide a one-stop-shop experience for our clients.
Our beachhead market is on tropical agroforestry in which we lead with our Re-Forest-ER proposition, an integrated monitoring and management platform providing insights, alerts, and suggestions to landowners, operators, project developers, and local governments alike. Its uniqueness stems from the integration of all crucial, earth observation-enabled applications ranging from deforestation monitoring, fire detection, watershed analysis, infrastructure, biomass assessments, and many more.
What led you to start or join your company? What is the key motivation and mission behind the startup?
I started my career at the European Space Agency. That is where I learned how space technology can be used for a plethora of different uses on earth. I was particularly interested in how it can contribute to sustainability topics and decided that entrepreneurship was the best way forward to explore and implement this combination.
Since 2013 I (co-)founded several ventures but Space4Good somehow combines them all in the spirit of using “Space Technology for Good”. The fastest, most scalable, and directly applicable way of achieving this zealous goal is through the use of satellite earth observation and collaborating with the most ambitious and impactful partners on tackling the UN SDGs.
What’s the biggest milestone your startup has achieved so far, and what has surprised you most on this journey?
To be honest there have been so many since 2017 and lately, they seem to accumulate on a weekly basis. A big milestone for sure was our transition from a network organisation to a dedicated, fully operational enterprise in 2020. This transition enabled us to work more efficiently, attract bigger clients and partners as well as build an amazing team of intelligent, passionate, and empathetic individuals.
The nature of our work with different cultures and landscapes brings daily surprises but the biggest is how much satisfaction and joy we experience in serving impact makers on the ground with insights from space.
How has X-Europe helped you during the past few months?
X-Europe can help us to create more awareness about earth observation-enabled monitoring, reporting, and verification applications and how Space4Good is offering services around this proposition. We also benefit from X-Europe's existing network of potential tech and commercialisation partners as well as access to talent through their wide social media presence.
What are your goals over the next 3, 6, and 12 months?
Our main goal for the coming 12 months is to introduce and brand our service and subscription services in particular for fire detection and prediction, deforestation analysis as well as biomass assessments. Our work and expertise on these topics have been spread through successful pilots and personal introductions so far, but we know that there are many potential customers and users out there who haven't heard about us yet. Accordingly, you will see and hear some surprising new partnerships and clients emerging on our website and social media channels so stay tuned!
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the Space tech landscape?
My first advice to upcoming SpaceTec entrepreneurs is actually posing a question: What are you passionate about? This can be a topic that really upsets you or make your eyes sparkle. Then you need to ask yourself what is the underlying problem which causes the frustration or inhibits its wider uptake. And then you need to ask yourself whether SpaceTec is the best way of solving this problem or whether there is an easier, cheaper, and more accessible solution out there. These are the questions we are asking ourselves before engaging with new customers or applying for a project and they have served us well.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Embrace your personality and follow your passions.
What’s unique about the X-Europe programme?
X-Europe is creating an innovation ecosystem around impactful core technologies and sectors to advance Europe's global competitiveness. We feel honored to be part of the SpaceTec cohort and expect great outcomes through this collaboration.