Nurturing the Next Generation: Startups in Space

The EU has big plans to boost startups working in Europe’s space economy.

Even though we know the health risks, millions of us end up getting sunburned every year – often just for the sake of a tan. The Munich-based startup, Ajuma, is attempting to improve our age-old relationship with the Sun.  Ajuma has developed a gadget that monitors a person’s exposure to UV rays. Ajuma’s UV-bodyguard device sends data to your smartphone to warn you before it is too late, by harnessing satellite earth observation technology. Satellite and UV measurement data are combined to provide the user with the most reliable recommendations for healthy time in the sun based on their skin type.

The co-founders of Ajuma received a 12-month business coaching programme thanks to the Copernicus Accelerator. Ajuma is what is more commonly known as a downstream space company. This means they are harnessing upstream space technology in its case satellite earth observation – which then creates an application back on earth. In the next decades, it is expected that the downstream space sector will generate the greatest number of commercial opportunities and growth.

Ajuma also received support from an EU initiative called the Copernicus Accelerator. The accelerator offers a variety of services that help startups in Europe’s space industry get off the ground. In the case of Ajuma, that resulted in a 12-month tailor-made business coaching programme.  This support already appears to be paying off. The company has recently struck a huge deal to sell its product with a large European outdoor retailer.

Europe also recently launched its CASSINI initiative to build on the success of the Copernicus Accelerator.  That means there is a huge €1bn European Space Fund to boost innovation and turn SMEs and startups working in Europe’s space sector into world-leading companies.

One important element of the CASSINI initiative will be the dedicated space fund, which will give fresh venture capital to startups. But they will also launch an important competition for stimulating the development of highly innovative products. Support for business growth support will take place in the form of an accelerator and they will certainly try to bring more startups and industrial partners together.

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