A column by Marco Fuchs: thoughts about time and space

The story of a good idea

"It is the logical step for OHB to have invested in UNIO"

30 October 2023. I follow the constantly growing start-up scene in the space sector with great interest, and on the one hand I am always amazed at the ideas the founders are putting into practice and, above all, how venture capital is responding to them. For me, this also shows how much space has now gained in importance, that it is seen as a permanent fixture in the broad spectrum of innovation capability. Of course, I'm also observing very closely which start-ups are working on their IPOs (initial public offerings). Especially since I recently decided to retire from the stock market. Obviously, in the course of these considerations, I have also reflected again and again on the reasons that led us to take the step onto the capital market in the first place. I continue to believe that the stock market is the right place for many ideas and companies. At the same time, I consider the step onto the stock market to be a very courageous one. The reports of disappointing or even cancelled IPOs show that the hustle and bustle on the stock market remains an exciting one.
However, there are also ideas that are blossoming into start-ups that look very familiar to me on closer inspection - one of them is UNIO.

UNIO is a start-up founded in 2022 that is driving the development of its own satellite constellation with a focus on application possibilities for vehicle-based logistics companies. The first product UNIO plans to bring to market for this purpose is a hardware solution for seamless switching between terrestrial 5G networks and satellite-based connectivity. So it's primarily about enabling continuous and seamless connectivity.

When the first reports on UNIO emerged, I got in touch with my former OHB comrade-in-arms Uli Schulz, who sadly passed away this year, and we both agreed: this can only be a good idea - after all, we had it before. In concrete terms, the idea of industrial networking by means of satellite communications was, in Uli's and my view, such a promising future market that we went public with OHB Teledata in 2001. We did not integrate OHB's space segment into the listed company until the following year. The core product of OHB Teledata was a box which could create a fleet network from individual vehicles linked via satellites.

At the same time, we took the logical second step by acquiring a stake in ORBCOMM, one of the first companies with its own commercial satellite constellation for industrial communications services in low earth orbit: we became involved where the networking of our telematics products actually took place. ORBCOMM is still successful on the market today; here, too, we were part of a success story with OHB.
So it is now naturally the logical step for OHB to have invested in UNIO last week. A good idea remains a good idea. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait until the circumstances, the time and often also the people have been found to implement it. At UNIO, I see exactly this suitable constellation to lead the good idea to success, also because the invested companies have chosen a new and innovative approach for their own development in their respective market segment. And the fact that the megatrend of digitization is also setting and ultimately demanding completely new standards in industrial networking is a major reason why I believe in UNIO. I am looking forward to being part of this story (again).

Personal details:

Born in 1962, Marco Fuchs studied law in Berlin, Hamburg and New York. He worked as an attorney in New York and Frankfurt am Main from 1992 to 1995. In 1995, he joined OHB, the company that his parents had built up. He has been Chief Executive Officer of OHB SE since 2000 and of OHB System AG since 2011. Marco Fuchs is married and has two children.