Meet the founders – The European Space Network
1- Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
The European Space Network aims to facilitate collaboration among entities in the European Space Industry by providing an easy way to find the right business partner through an online platform connected to a large database with an efficient and intuitive search interface. The uniqueness is given by how easy, fast and intuitive the platform is. You could see it as the Alexa/Siri of space procurement and collaboration.
2- What’s the story behind your company? How was the idea for this business born?
We initially joined the SUN program with a slightly different idea, but after going through a few mentoring sessions we decided to slightly shift the focus from a downstream marketplace to a marketplace oriented more upstream and with a focus on the European space industry. Therefore SpaceLead became The European Space Network (ESN). The idea was born based on the experience the founders had while working in the space industry, especially when working on ESA projects, where a high emphasis is put on international collaboration and where finding the right partner was sometimes difficult.
The implementation plan was also changed as in the end we decided to consider ESN as part of an existing space consultancy company (Initium Space Consulting) that was founded last year (2021) in august with the aim of supporting entities (both new start-ups and established non-space entities) to join the space ecosystem.
3-Which is the challenge that your solution tackles, and how do you set apart from the other companies with similar solutions?
We are very focused on the European Space Agency (ESA) projects and how the work is being performed under ESA contracts. There is a constant need of finding the right partner for establishing a project consortium. Often the need of the partner comes together with other constraints like partner nationality, SME status, space heritage, etc. We want to build a digital platform that is fast, reliable, easy to use and where all the entities have validated and complete profiles.
4- What are your goals, and what’s the biggest challenge you are trying to overcome at this moment?
At the moment we are still working on validating the business model and on establishing the platform framework and features. We are constantly discussing with possible customers and adjusting our concept based on the feedback we receive.
5- What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the space sector landscape?
The space business ecosystem is going through changes, shifting from a regulated, institutional-dependent environment to an actual business environment that is based on the demand and offer principle. Therefore the best advice would be to do your best in order to validate your idea and confirm its need in an actual business case.
6- About SUN, why did you apply?
We wanted to discuss with like-minded people and get valuable feedback from the mentors.