Bremen – The listed space and technology group OHB SE has actively supported the first INNOspace Weekend (September 15 - 17 in Cologne) in order to promote fresh business ideas at the interface between space, automotive engineering and logistics.
65 students, young professionals and people interested in space and mobility issues developed new business ideas in cross-disciplinary and international teams. Technologies and expertise from space, automotive engineering and logistics were used as a basis for solutions to address present and future challenges.
Pitch your idea!
Two winning teams now have an opportunity of pitching their business idea to OHB Venture Capital GmbH to assess its viability as a start-up:
- A six-strong team has developed “Crop Spy” to provide farmers in developing countries with assistance and services. This app for smartphones and notebooks interprets Earth observation data for agricultural purposes to offer farmers specific recommendations.
- A team of eight members convinced the jurors with their “Take me home” idea. An autonomous mobile vehicle for elderly or handicapped people can transport shopping or be used as a walker or support/seat and knows its own way home.
OHB Venture Capital GmbH was incorporated in May 2016 and holds a share in the Luxembourg-based start-up Blue Horizon s.à r.l. and the German start-up astrofactum GmbH “I am crossing my fingers for both teams for their second pitch to OHB Venture Capital as both ideas are good examples illustrating the benefits of space technology and showing how important it is to think and work in cross-disciplinary terms,” adds Dr. Timo Stuffler, who is responsible for business development at OHB System AG and was one of the jurors.
Coming up with a business idea in 60 hours
The ten teams had 60 hours before they were called on to convince the jury of the potential of their idea in a brief presentation. The teams were advised by more than 30 mentors and specialists from the international space and mobility community. Dr. Franziska Zeitler, head of Innovation and New Markets at DLR Space Administration, founded the INNOspace Initiative: “If you consider that the participants just had two days to organize themselves as a team, this is a remarkable achievement. We as the jury did not have an easy task selecting the three best business concepts”.
“It was a true joy to see the teams work with such dedication and creativity and to then learn about the very different approaches and ideas. I hope that we all will be able to benefit from one or other of these ideas one day,” says Dr. Stuffler.
Robin Ravi Gajria from team Crop Spy (winner of the 2nd prize) adds: “If anyone has any doubt about coming to INNOspace Weekend, feel the fear and do it anyway. I was surprised how you don’t have to be a space expert. I normally go to student conferences, which are a lot of fun but lack clear outcomes. The next steps for our startup are clear“.
The Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) launched the INNOspace® initiative in 2013 to leverage innovation potential and synergistic effects from cross-sector technologies more effectively and systematically. Since 2014, INNOspace® has been part of the German Federal Government’s high-tech strategy as a measure defined in the National Space and Innovation Program organized by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. More information: https://www.dlr-innospace.de/