Geospatial data analysis is easier said than done. By adding Space4Good to its technical partner network, SBIC Noordwijk makes sure ESA BIC startups get the support they need – from an entrepreneur who has been in the programme himself, twice.
We talked to Alexander Gunkel, founder of Space4Good, about the partnership and its business.
What is Space4Good about?
We are a geospatial analytics company working in sectors with a high social and environmental impact. Our team is leveraging our skills and experience in GIS, remote sensing, environmental science as well as AI to the best use possible. Basically, Space4Good supports impact makers on the ground with insights from space.
We operate in sectors in which our services, expertise and motivation can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular regenerative agriculture, biodiversity, climate & infrastructure and peace & justice.
To do this, we help in three different ways. First, we work on a consultancy basis, advising how impact makers can profit from geospatial data and systems. Second: by acting as a project partner. We can join consortia with other startups, corporates, research institutions and universities and contribute to their larger ambitions. Third, we offer automated earth observation technology services and products. We have our own GIS portal where data can be uploaded, stored, processed and visualized. It runs several applications and services and while also being accessible through APIs.
How can you support our community and vice versa?
Being part of the SBIC community helps us and the community. I was an ESA BIC Noordwijk incubatee myself twice (as co-founder of SkyTree and as the founder of RoadEO). What always helped us back then and now, is the relation to ESA. We are always able to reach out to them and receive high-level technical advice. We get to know what are relevant trends and what might be redundant eventually. Hearing that from industry experts and decision-makers makes us confident in what we’re doing. Through them, we learn to be future proof.
Did you know?
Alexander is the second graduate of the ESA BIC Noordwijk programme to come back as a technical partner. Last year we welcomed back SkyFlox.
We also support the community ourselves but are more hands-on than ESA. By organising hackathons in the past we realised there’s a lot of interest and needs for capacity building among researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs who are already used to working with data – but might have little experience working with geospatial data. If we can help those individuals and teams in educating them on how to use satellite data and systems, they can kick start their own development. If it’s a startup or non-profit, we can eventually form a partnership that could go beyond the ESA BIC framework. Having gone through the good and the bad during my own incubation period allows me to understand the particular needs of early-stage startups and anticipate future needs with the founders once they are ready to expand their operations.
What’s it like to ‘come back’ for the second time?
It feels like I never left, which I guess might be somehow true. I would say since 2013 I had a continuous relationship with SBIC Noordwijk. The roles changed a bit, obviously, but it doesn’t feel unnatural. I’m happy to have created a company that can provide coaching and deliver professional services to the ESA BIC incubatees.
Martijn Leinweber, COO SBIC Noordwijk: “It is great to see that Alex, who was connected to us before through other businesses, is now supporting that same community as a technical partner. To me this shows how strong our community is.”
What can you tell us about your team?
We are a very technical organisation, with 11 full-time people and some additional freelancers. What drives our team is to dive into and solve technical challenges. Our tech lead, Lisa Broekhuizen, went through the ESA BIC Noordwijk programme as well with her own startup, so we both understand the environment and challenges startups are in. Space4Good has a mantra: helping by learning from each other. Within the technical partnership with SBIC, that is no different.
What is your ultimate goal with Space4Good?
We want to be the contact and service point for organisations that consider using remote sensing applications in their operations to unlock their full impact potential. We believe this collaborative way we can contribute to as many SDGs as possible while leaving a footprint.
What are you proud of?
We are the first European geospatial social enterprise according to B. Corp. That means that “impact first, profit second” is legally incorporated into our overall business structure. That’s our working principle.To have the B. Corp certificate to us is really important for us and our clients.
How can our community reach out to you?
Email me at email@example.com – and I will answer within a week. Otherwise, you will find me at the “kaasstengels” at the community events!
About the technical partnership
ESA BIC Noordwijk incubatees and SBIC partners get:
+ Capacity building on the top of geospatial data and application development
+ Access to Space4Good expertise, applications and infrastructure
Interested in joining our space business community as well? Become our partner!