An entrepreneur who is behind the largest space entrepreneurship network in the world. Heading the Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Center at the European Space Agency, Frank is convinced that high-tech and innovation is the only route which Europe should go. 

What potential do you see in space technologies?
I think there are no space technologies as such. Take for example making a phone call, watching a sports match live or using navigation. These things have become an everyday part of our lives that we do not even realize that they used to be made for space. Therefore, I say that space technology is more the infrastructure for our digital economy.

How do you gain access to sophisticated technologies to use them in a startup? Are they not patented?
Some of them have a patent. My office is trying to give these patents to our industry and maximize returns of tax payers. A lot of stuff is industrial secret, though, but programs like Copernicus provide space data for free. On the whole, I would say that the access to technologies is normally not a problem, rather their usability. In the past to get Earth observation data and images from satellites was very difficult and required scientific knowledge. Now, the situation is changing. We are pushing our partners to make data so easily accessible that you can take your phone, get access to them and use them.

Can you recommend any hot areas in the space tech industry? What are the gaps that entrepreneurs should be looking for?
I think that there are three layers where space can get commercial. The first is telecommunication and satellites which is all the standard stuff. You know companies like SES Astra or SAP that are good in this area. The second is navigation, we all use it daily and it is also quite well-covered. The hot subject will be the Earth observation. ESA produces with the Copernicus satellite 14 terabytes of data per day. This big data can be used for industries which have never thought about space.

Like?
Agriculture, disaster management, water management, emergency response, climate change observation etc. A satellite image has up to 350 layers and the resolution goes down to 30 centimeters. If you go swimming in the lake, I can tell you what the water temperature, visibility, quality, height of the waves, and wind speed is. I can even tell you which sun cream to take based on the radiation level. Or if you have a problem with asthma, what the ozone level is. Those are just a few examples.

Let’s say I know how to use this data and have an idea for a startup. How will ESA BIC help me?
We are like a nice uncle with 50 k in the pocket and the right address book. Besides the investment, we coach you, help you with marketing, business development and technical support, give you access to our network and provide you offices. Even after two years of incubation, we still stay in touch with startups and support them.
We are sending four of our companies to a big congress in the US where they will sit together with the heads of delegations of space agencies and space companies on the same panel. So, our job really is to give outreach, help you grow, and increase the likelihood to be successful.
 

Sounds great. I am curious to know whether it is possible to get support from ESA BIC in other countries?
Yes, it is. We are like a big family. With every new member we become stronger. In Brno, you have facilities on life science and materials. In Frankfurt, you have smart guys who specialize on navigation. It is the same guys who invented the MP3 algorithm. If you need chips, you go to IMEC Leuven. If you want to have a sectron, you go to STFC. If you need a clean room, special facility or engineers for solar, you speak with ESA. We are a partner network which is levered on local excellence and ESA is just giving a frame on top of that.

Do you also cooperate with some other partners?
We do the same with big corporates. Last year, we signed an agreement with T Systems about free cloud services. With SAP we are discussing the possibility to use their cloud service HANA. Satellite data is already embedded in the system and you do not have to worry about where you get the data from, you just program your algorithms on the platform and SAP does the rest. They have also customers in the salesforce. 
The Irish have a nice saying “On the shoulders of the giants, you see further.” I like this saying because for startups incubators, corporates and government agencies are the giants. The only thing we have to do is allow startups to stand on our backs.

Sounds almost romantic. I am wondering now how you see the #brnoregion. Are there any giants?
I think you have got a good combination of universities, research centers and innovation and technology centers which are literally just across the street. People can change buildings and faculties and keep even the coffee warm by running because it is so close together. Overall, there is a good environment here and I think we should not only go to the big cities because bright heads are spread across the country and also here in Brno.

How will ESA BIC help the #brnoregion?
I don’t know if it will help. You know, I am convinced that we should plant trees to get the forest later. If we do not support young entrepreneurs and students, then we are doing something wrong. It is our job to be the good gardener, to give them the right sun, the right water, sometimes also to get them out of heat. This is what every region needs. See, I have twins who are 11 years old and I am sure they will not work in the coal industry or become farmers. If we want to keep our standard of living, high-tech and innovation is the only route which we can go.

 
 
09. 07. 2018
Source: JIC  

More articles

Foreigners in #brnoregion: Vincent van Scherpenseel Work

Foreigners in #brnoregion: Vincent van Scherpenseel

If the Dutch and Czech authorities ever competed to see in which country it was faster to establish a company, the Dutch would beat the Czechs by a mile. Nevertheless, in other cat... Read more
UV radiation in fight against adulterated wines Work

UV radiation in fight against adulterated wines

In the beginning, there was light… actually, more like UV radiation. And it enables the chemists from Brno to differentiate among hundreds of samples of various wines. And they wan... Read more
“I will return to Brno,” young scientist promises Work

“I will return to Brno,” young scientist promises

For two months, she participated in research of neural cells. In an interview, Katja Klosterman told us how she liked working here and what impressions Brno made on her. Read more
Ondřej Veselý: Machine learning is a big thing Work

Ondřej Veselý: Machine learning is a big thing

As a student of IT technologies, Ondřej Veselý got excited about machine learning and teamed up with his colleagues to later develop a plant-identifying app. Today, the app identif... Read more
Foreigners in #brnoregion: Johan Nilsson Work

Foreigners in #brnoregion: Johan Nilsson

A constant runaround – that’s how Johan Nilsson described the lengthy process of establishing his company in #brnoregion. It was much more complicated than back in Sweden, where yo... Read more
Foreigners in #brnoregion: Hassan Šejk Work

Foreigners in #brnoregion: Hassan Šejk

He spends nights at Petrov, talking to the city he loves more than to people around him. He says he didn’t choose Brno – Brno chose him. Still, he can see a lot of places for #brno... Read more
“Dálník” – the dream of a pilot who wasn’t allowed to fly Work

“Dálník” – the dream of a pilot who wasn’t allowed to fly

The history of this single-track cabin motorcycle is a story of freedom. “Dálník”, which is what this Czech invention is called, was supposed to be a cheaper and more economical al... Read more
Unique registry improves care for stroke patients Work

Unique registry improves care for stroke patients

Patients who have suffered a stroke get world-class care in the Czech Republic. One of the reasons is the RES-Q international registry, created by Czech experts, which helps partic... Read more
Foreigners in #brnoregion: Emanuele Ruggiero Work

Foreigners in #brnoregion: Emanuele Ruggiero

“A dynamic country with a wide range of job opportunities.” That’s how Emanuele Ruggiero, founder of Kinovision Production, sees the Czech Republic. And for him, Brno is a city whe... Read more
Stay calm! We’ve found life Work

Stay calm! We’ve found life

In their experiments for the CEITEC research centre in Brno, scientists Judit and Jiří Šponer travel four billion years into the past to try and figure out how life emerged on our ... Read more
Expert on product reliability and safety: I have to do a top-quality job Work

Expert on product reliability and safety: I have to do a top-quality job

One of the best experts on the reliability and safety of products in the Czech Republic lives and works in #brnoregion. While this discipline isn’t too common here, Michal Vintr al... Read more
Laboratories with no white coats Work

Laboratories with no white coats

The extraordinary concentration of universities and research centres in our region create an ideal environment for research. However, once the thorough research is done, where is t... Read more
GAMING INDUSTRY BOOM IN #BRNOREGION Work

GAMING INDUSTRY BOOM IN #BRNOREGION

Anyone who knows at least something about the video game industry in Brno knows Jakub Bedecs and Zdeněk Záhora, as they’ve been very actively pushing game developers from #brnoregi... Read more
Winemaking technologies in #brnoregion Work

Winemaking technologies in #brnoregion

Even though we’ve been making wine for over a thousand years, in #brnoregion there’s always room to innovate. In fact, we’ve been researching new methods and inventing new technolo... Read more
Needles don't fly Work

Needles don't fly

What do hot-air balloons and your jeans have in common? And what’s the relation between physical laws and the Civil Aviation Authority? Why can’t needles fly? And why is constructi... Read more
Man in the Room? Work

Man in the Room?

We’ve learned how to protect our virtual accounts as well as computers in various ways and companies use sophisticated solutions to protect their data. Yet new threats keep emergin... Read more
Kentico plants a tree for each bug found Work

Kentico plants a tree for each bug found

The developers at Kentico Software are proud to say that bugs in their website design tool are very rare. For every one that shows up, however, Kentico plants a tree. Why do they d... Read more
Psychology diagnostics remotely Work

Psychology diagnostics remotely

Since the day it was created, Hypothesis software has travelled an unusual path – from cartographers directly to the army, which uses it for remote psychology diagnostics of its jo... Read more
Left Netflix and Elon Musk Work

Left Netflix and Elon Musk

David Pavlík graduated from the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University. Strong-minded as he was, he went on to successfully work for several top American companies in Silicon... Read more
The Industry 4.0 has arrived in #brnoregion Work

The Industry 4.0 has arrived in #brnoregion

Digitalization, robotic process automation, autonomous production, machines taking people’s jobs… Hey, slow down, would you? Each industrial revolution brought changes. In #brnoreg... Read more
The devices by PSI are used all over as well as beyond the planet Earth Work

The devices by PSI are used all over as well as beyond the planet Earth

Photon Systems Instruments from a small village in #brnoregion has been developing and producing devices for research of plants for over twenty years now. Read more
The best care for your head and heart Work

The best care for your head and heart

No, we can’t help with your broken heart in #brnoregion (well, we actually could, but let’s leave it for some other time…), but if you’re looking for the best experts on diseases, ... Read more
4 centres of excellence – 4 reasons to be proud Work

4 centres of excellence – 4 reasons to be proud

Some people know the word of “excellence” only from the diplomatic protocol, since expressions like “Your Excellency” abound there. If this word existed only in the sense of an h... Read more
Red Hat presents Brno as an example for the whole world Work

Red Hat presents Brno as an example for the whole world

Software giant Red Hat launched its Brno subsidiary in 2006. At that time, it was manned by just a couple of people and its office wasn’t larger than a flat. Today this company emp... Read more
University spin-off companies drive innovation Work

University spin-off companies drive innovation

Universities research, explore and develop. Useful things emerge! They can also come in handy outside of the academic sphere, where they can bring money (that can be used for furth... Read more
Girls and Technology? Perfect couple Work

Girls and Technology? Perfect couple

Right. There is still majority of men in Czech IT and engineering. However, #brnoregion supports bright brains regardless of gender, and ladies and girls take the plunge! Read more
We Don´t Hack Around Work

We Don´t Hack Around

A gang of professionals, limited time, uncompromising deadline and useful software at the end: congratulations, you’ve just passed a fast track hackathon. This programming format i... Read more
Sound Engineers Work

Sound Engineers

You have certainly seen many movies with agents filtering off sound layers off a crime suspect’s phone call to discover where the caller is. Nowadays the real job is very very simi... Read more
Ice flowers for scientists Work

Ice flowers for scientists

There’s winter in #brnoregion, however we still haven’t got any snow. A team of scientists from Brno couldn’t wait and set off to a polar district ... thanks to their special elec... Read more
DO YOU BELONG IN #BRNOREGION? Work

DO YOU BELONG IN #BRNOREGION?

Region of South Moravia is one of leading centres of science, research, and innovation in Europe. Let´s check if you belong to this region too! Read more
TIME TO MAKE IT REAL! Work

TIME TO MAKE IT REAL!

JIC STARCUBE is now launching registration for its ninth run. Teams with promising technology or products now have until 31st October to apply to central Europe’s longest running a... Read more
From #brnoregion into space. And back Work

From #brnoregion into space. And back

#brnoregion has had a great influence on the relationship between the Czechia and the rest of the universe. And it still holds true to this day. Read more
Enantis: Out of University Lab into Business Work

Enantis: Out of University Lab into Business

Interesting conclusions of university research do not necessarily end up in academic files. They often become the driving force in business. One of the ways to introduce the scient... Read more
WHY INVEST IN #BRNOREGION Work

WHY INVEST IN #BRNOREGION

RedHat, Honeywell, or NetSuite. And Kiwi, Y Soft, or Safetica. These are very successful companies based in Brno. The list of leaders and their achievements is much longer and beyo... Read more
BRNO: PROMISED LAND OF ELECTRON MICROSCOPY Work

BRNO: PROMISED LAND OF ELECTRON MICROSCOPY

In 1947 the first electron microscope was brought to Brno as part of UNRRA help after World War II. Only three years later, in 1950 scientists in Electron Optics Laboratory at Czec... Read more
LIFE BALANCE IN #BRNOREGION Work

LIFE BALANCE IN #BRNOREGION

In April 2017 an IT company Artin introduced unlimited holiday. Their web informs that they are not interested in overworked employees sitting in the off... Read more
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more