Spacetech: unlimited opportunities for the ESA BIC cohort

The ESA Business Incubation Center Switzerland has welcomed its newest cohort, comprising five startups using space technology to solve earth-related problems. Their solutions range from cooling, GNSS reference stations for precision-positioning, agricultural management tools based on earth observation data, and ridesharing to space, among others.

ESA BIC Switzerland is an incubation program offering startups that exploit space systems or technologies to develop non-space businesses or use terrestrial technology for an application related to space. During the next 24 months, selected startups receive technical support from companies and research organisations, business support and access to an extensive network. Each startup will additionally obtain financial aid totaling EUR 200’000 to support their development.

The following startups will benefit from this offer:

Apheros | Zurich | 2023
Metal foams enable unprecedented thermal performance in low gravity due to their high surface area at low density. Using their patented production process that was developed at the ETH, Apheros produces metal foams for cooling solutions that are three times more efficient than current cooling solutions. Beyond cooling, the foams can also be used for lubrication, catalysis, and energy storage. The technology is currently being tested with several academic and industrial partners.

Cassio-P |  Neuchâtel | 2024
Founded by Antoine Delgoffe, Cassio.P is a Swiss OEM startup specializing in the development of all-glass optical systems using its cutting-edge technology that combines miniature optics with engineered glass substrates. Its products deliver exceptional performances in a compact and lightweight package, making them the optimal choice for seamless integration into all kinds of equipment. In the realms of space, the startup has developed compact and lightweight all-glass lasers for telecommunications in space and on Earth.

DPhi Space | Lausanne | 2024
Deploying payloads into space is costly and complex. With the goal to goal is to democratise space access and lay the foundation for future infrastructure that will enable a spacefaring civilization, EPFL Spinoff DPhi Space is designing, building and launching ridesharing platforms. This will allow the fast and affordable deployment of any software or hardware in orbit, opening the doors for launches that were once thought impossible. During their tenure at the EPFL Spacecraft Team, the founders CEO Aziz Belkhiria and CTO Michael Linder, managed to launch and operate a computer from space, marking the return of EPFL to orbit for more than a decade. Building on the success of their mission, they are now working on a plug-and-play solution for customers willing to fly their instruments to space.

Koralabs | Zurich | 2024
Around 60% of food is produced on farms smaller than 20 hectares. Despite their size, farmers ought to also practice sustainable agriculture to protect natural resources because currently, mineral nitrogen fertilisation in Swiss agriculture is responsible for 1Mt of CO₂e emissions (4% of total emissions) due to its misuse and losses in the environment. Koralabs, founded by Matteo Turchetta Luca Corinzia, are developing agriculture digital twins fusing earth observation data and agronomic models to provide farmers with an AI-based management tool, an app, to facilitate better decision-making, especially for fertilisation usage. After 6 months of development in the lab, the team tested the system in the real world with a wheat field trial for the 2023 growing season.

Onocoy | Zug | 2023
Based in Zug, Onocoy is developing a community-powered dense network of GNSS reference stations that provides high-quality RTK corrections by leveraging Web3 technology. Real-time Kinematics (RTK) takes GNSS to centimeter-accuracy by using corrections from reference receivers. However, despite existing demand from fields like agriculture, mining, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, geodesy, and earthquake and tsunami warnings, Constraints in the corrections services ecosystem have hindered the mass adoption of RTK but advances in Web3 technology with blockchain and smart contracts make it possible to build and operate very large, decentralised GNSS reference station networks efficiently and securely. With their approach, the startup enables global coverage and high network density thanks to network integration and deployment of additional reference stations. Last year in June, the startup was among the winners of the #myEUstart competition that is endowed with €100,000.