• Henry Sung

What are the Space-connected entrepreneurial opportunities in Taiwan & Europe?

Hubble Space Telescope

On the 21st and 22nd of April, Tiger Accelerator hosted the ‘Taiwan-Europe Space Connection Opportunities Roadshow’. The event consisted of two segments. Firstly, on April 21, Tiger Accelerator presented the knowledge-sharing TW-EU Space Opportunities Seminar. In front of an online audience of 70+ people, experts from Taiwan and Europe shared several keynote presentations on various aspects of developing and participating in a space-connected entrepreneurship ecosystem, and the business opportunities therein.

Then, throughout April 21st and 22nd, the Space-Connection Face-to-Face meetings took place. In this segment, European experts met with 11 groups of space-connected innovators from Taiwan, discussing each group’s entrepreneurial ideas and their potential for connecting with Europe’s space-sector stakeholders.

Supporting Space-Connected Ecosystem in Taiwan

The notion of ‘Space-connection’ is not only limited to business activities within the Space sector. ‘Space-connections’ can also be identified in any sector of industry, as any companies can potentially identify opportunities to connect to the value chain created by space technologies and space systems. For example, some possible types of space-connections are: 1)The use of Space-Systems (telecom, navigation, earth-observation etc), 2) The transfer of technologies to and from and space sector, 3) The development of space technologies and systems, and 4) The development of ground segments to operate space systems.

On this theme, ESA BICs founder Bruno Naulais shared his insights in the TW-EU Space Opportunities Seminar, regarding the potential for Taiwan to further develop its own space-connected business ecosystem, and to cultivate a generation of new local space-connected startups. Specifically, the successful ESA BIC model can be a source of inspiration in Taiwan, where existing high quality Taiwanese innovation centres and incubators can incorporate a space-connected dimension. Furthermore, for mature space-connected startups and SMEs from Taiwan, it might be advantageous to pursue scaling-up opportunities in Europe, and in return, European space-connected companies might also seek to develop their business in Asia via Taiwan.

A relevant example of a space-connected startup from the ESA BIC network is the French company TerraNIS. Founded in 2014, TerraNIS uses Earth Observation data in designing geoinformation products for markets such as agricultural monitoring and environmental monitoring. During the seminar, TerraNIS CEO David Hello shared an overview of how the company uses space resources in various commercial applications, and also shared the company’s positive experience in being a part of the ESA BIC space-connected ecosystem, especially regarding the helpful business and technical support TerraNIS received from the ESA BIC network. Imaginably, an equivalent network in Taiwan can be greatly beneficial for the local space-connected entrepreneurs.

Example of space connected industry sectors

Space Technology Transfer

Other than the direct use of space systems, another aspect of space-connection is the possibilities to use space technologies in non-space applications via technology transfer. In fact, space technologies have been used in diverse domains such as the manufacturing of crisps, the filtration/production of drinkable water, air decontamination, the production of automotives, high performance batteries and so on.

On this note, Benoit Rivollet from In Extenso Innovation Croissance presented insights on the space-connected technology transfer process. On the one hand, the space industry is interested in pushing various technologies into other markets. On the other hand, various industries have existing needs that can be addressed with space-sector-originated tech solutions. An effective space-connected ecosystem, with appropriate public and private support, can mediate and connect these incentives from both sides to facilitate technology transfer.

Connecting Taiwan’s design & manufacturing ecosystem with international needs

As high as 75% of crowdfunded projects are delivered late - this is often due to the difficulty in finding reliable manufacturing partners, and the mismatch between design and the reality of mass production. The Taiwan Rapid Innovation Prototyping League for Entrepreneurs (TRIPLE) was established to help partners overcome these challenges. By connecting and matchmaking international entrepreneurs with the Taiwanese industrial design and manufacturing supply chain, TRIPLE can help (space-connected) companies to bring their product innovations into reality.

In the seminar, Jerry Lee from TRIPLE covered the main services provided by TRIPLE. When it comes to design and manufacturing, TRIPLE’s services can link partners with both hardware and software capabilities in Taiwan. Furthermore, TRIPLE’s matchmaking platform includes a rich portfolio of providers that can support the whole process of a product’s journey, from initial design ideas to system integration, to prototyping, to mass production. For many tech startups, this can be a highly relevant channel for identifying the most fitting manufacturing resources.

Building a Space ecosystem with SpaceSeed

Philippe Lattes is the founder of SpaceSeed. The company is created by a team of highly experienced professionals in Europe’s space industry, and is based in Toulouse, the heart of Europe’s space sector. The aim of SpaceSeed is to facilitate and support the development of space entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world, by providing and connecting these ecosystems with various European space-connected resources, including technical, business, and financial support.

During the seminar, Philippe identified the various dimensions in which SpaceSeed can support the development of the space-connected ecosystem in Taiwan. Amongst them, a possible first step may be to create a soft-landing channel for Taiwan & Europe’s startups to expand to each other’s regions, to identify potential partners, and to access new space-connected markets & resources.

Introducing the TESSA Program

Those interested in the TW-EU opportunities presented in the Roadshow can direct their attention to Tiger Accelerator & Space Seed’s upcoming initiative: The Taiwan-Europe Space-connected Solutions Acceleration (TESSA) Program. In the second half of 2021, the 3-month TESSA program will introduce its first group of Taiwanese space-connected companies into European space ecosystems and European markets. Interested companies can visit the TESSA information page to learn more about the program's content and the application procedures. TESSA welcomes your participation!