Meet the founders – Mark 6
1- Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
Our solution is an advanced material with incredible strength-to-weight ratio (for reference, it has the same resistance as titanium, that is currently used in aerospace structures, but with only 20% of the weight).
Moreover, this material does not shatter like most composites. Another safety feature for this material is that is self-extinguishing, as well as a good thermal insulator, both essential characteristics for aerospace main structures.
In further testing, we want to evaluate how much radiation-proof it can be (it should block almost every spectrum below 0,1nm). We believe it can offer significant protection, from the data we already have, but we need empirical studies to verify this.
This material can be used as a light-weight internal or external structure, adequate for airplanes, satellites and even spaceships.
2- What’s the story behind your company? How was the idea for this business born?
We have always been curious people with a keen eye to find outside the box solutions. Combined with our desire to make the world a better place, and an adventurous spirit, we sought to discover how far we could go. For this, we decided to open a business that would allow us to explore our curiosity and apply our knowledge in solutions that would not only help the world, but also have a good market-fit to make it profitable (and, as such, giving us more resources to keep investing in new solutions!).
Our company is an R&D Center for technology innovation. Here, we have been developing projects in advanced and meta materials, as well as propulsion and aerospace-related areas.
3-Which is the challenge that your solution tackles, and how do you set apart from the other companies with similar solutions?
In aerospace, the weight of the structure in a crucial factor to take into account, that influences how much cargo or people can be carried, how much fuel and equipment can be loaded and, as such, for how long and how far can the plane, satellite, spaceship go. That being said, one of the main limiting factors on advanced materials is often how hard it is to produce the required shapes (and with AI based generative design it only get more complex and intricate).
Our solution is a light-weight material that has a better strength-to-weight ratio than today’s materials, capable of being produced efficiently in very complex shapes, almost anisotropic and with the added benefit of not shattering when it breaks (this is important, as shattering would mean more rogue debris that would endanger other transportation and satellites).
4- What are your goals, and what’s the biggest challenge you are trying to overcome at this moment?
Our goal is to see this advanced material used in the aerospace industry, from airplanes to spaceships. We believe that, sooner or later, humans will expand to the Moon and Mars, that more innovation is required to make it possible, and we are here to help.
The biggest challenge we see right now is getting the technology in front of the aerospace industry players, our target, that would benefit greatly for using this material. We are unsure of how to reach them, and the landscape of lack of space exploration regulation leaves a void in upstream innovation.
5- What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the space sector landscape?
As we are still in the beginning of this road, the advice we could give is to not wait for money to get started. We see a lot of good ideas that never get out of the ground because people think they need more money than they actually do (to get started).
Another advice would be to clearly communicate the benefits (not so much the technical features) of the product or service, and what is really unique. Sometimes, we know what makes our product great, but it does not mean that everyone “gets it” from a technical features list.
6- About SUN, why did you apply?
SUN was recommended to us by Universidade do Algarve, because they knew we were developing other project in a space-related area. As we are very interested in entering this industry, we wanted to know more about the program and get some mentorship to help us navigate this landscape.
This seemed like a good opportunity to understand the space sector and how entrepreneurship takes place, what are the support structures for startups and how can we, as researchers, help to further improve the industry.