The ESA Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) Switzerland is an initiative of the European Space agency run by ETH Zurich launched in 2016 to support startups that exploit space systems or technologies to develop non-space businesses or which use terrestrial technology for an application related to space. The program provides each selected startup with up to €200’000 in non-dilutive funding over two years, business and technical support, a network, and a community of peers and experts. More than 100 start-ups with a space connection applied so far to join the program, and thus far, young companies from all parts of Switzerland have been supported.
Over the past years, ESA BIC Switzerland supported 40 startups nationwide, investing a total of more than €6.1 Mio non-dilutive funding from ESA. Since its launch in 2016, ESA BIC CH start-ups raised more than €170 Mio 3rd party money and created more than 300 jobs in Switzerland. More than five ESA BIC CH supported start-ups have CHF1 million revenues p.a.
The program supports the start-ups on their journey to reach significant milestones, raise capital, launch products and grow their customer base. Many companies, such as Miraex, attract renowned organisations like NASA or IBM to support their ambition. The best-known alumni of ESA BIC CH is ClearSpace, which has a budget of €86 million from ESA to orchestrate the first space clearance mission.
The very positive feedback from the start-ups, partners and stakeholders of the Swiss start-up ecosystem convinced all involved parties to extend the program for another five years. A new contract has been signed by representatives of ESA, ESA BIC CH, ETH Zurich and the Swiss Space Office. “Our ESA BIC CH team is excited and looking forward to supporting another 50 spacetech start-ups over the next 5 years,” says Nanja Strecker, Managing Director of ESA BIC Switzerland.