Space Agency on a mission to boost new technology and services
25 March 2015
The UK Space Agency has joined forces with SETsquared – Europe’s top university business incubator programme – to help foster new innovations in space-related technology.
SETsquared – a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey – helps entrepreneurs, researchers and SMEs commercialise their products and services. The new partnership will see the Space Agency fund 40 businesses to go through SETsquared’s entrepreneurship programme, to help them to hone their business plans, tighten their propositions and gain access to investors. The businesses could harness space technology for a range of applications – such as global positioning, navigation and timing services – using data available from satellites.
Colin Baldwin, UK Space Gateway Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, said: ‘The space sector is a UK success story with aspirations to grow to a £40bn turnover by 2030. To achieve this, we anticipate hundreds of new companies will start providing new products and services that rely upon satellites. We are delighted that SETsquared, with its proven track record, will be on hand to help these companies grow and flourish.’
Simon Bond, Innovation Director at SETsquared, said: ‘We are seeing huge potential in some of the space-related research across the five universities. There are some ground-breaking technologies being developed that could become multi-million pound businesses. This partnership will effectively allow us to connect those “gems” with the space sector and work together to nurture them.’
SETsquared’s incubation programme, ranked best in Europe and second best globally, has already fostered a number of successful start-ups working in the space technology arena. Among them is iGeolise, which relies on satellite data to power its Travel Time Platform.
The company was formed in 2009 when its founder had the idea that it was more useful to find content on the web by the time it takes to travel there, rather than by distance. Since then, its team has built the Travel Time Platform that ‘turns distance into time’.
The platform locates, ranks and sorts content by travel time, not distance. The company’s API can be used by consumer facing websites or apps to help users do everything from search for the nearest pub by journey time to finding a house within a 30-minute commute to work.