S&T and SBIC Noordwijk sign technical partnership

S&T (Science and Technology), the R&D and innovation firm from Delft, and SBIC Noordwijk have signed a technical partnership to foster innovative collaborations between space based startups from both entities.

In more detail, S&T will support startups in our ESA BIC Noordwijk program, while always on the lookout for future collaborations as the company has several space data based spin-offs itself. Some of them have successfully graduated from the program before (Sensar and Orbital Eye) and a current incubatee (Meandair) also has its roots at S&T. 

The S&T Group are established in The Netherlands (headquarters), Norway and Italy. One of the Dutch entities focuses on Talent Acquisition in hi-tech industries. The other, S&T BV, the company which is our new technical partner, focuses on high-tech projects and the development of innovative decision support solutions.

Making sense of data

“Within this part of the company, we have 3 competences, all focused on data. First is collecting data from hardware like sensors. Second is processing large amounts of data. And third is data science, so interpreting that data with AI and machine learning. So throughout the whole ‘chain’ we use data for companies to enable data-driven decision making. That’s why our slogan is ‘making sense of data’,” CEO of S&T, Roland Hooghiemstra explains.

Space is an obvious sector to apply those data competences in. “We distinguish ourselves by working with earth observation data. And apply those rich data to solutions for our customers.”

Entrepreneurship at its core

One of the other main reasons for joining SBIC Noordwijk, is S&T relation to entrepreneurship. Hooghiemstra: “S&T was born and is still running thanks to our entrepreneurial mindset and culture. That’s why we give space to our employees to start a project and possibly make it into a business. Exactly like that a few of our spin-offs came to be. We love collaborating with other entities like SBIC Noordwijk that work with young, entrepreneurial and tech-savvy people. This way we stay young and innovative as well – this is how we stay flexible.”

From left to right: Erik Zoutman (co-founder S&T), Roland Hooghiemstra (CEO S&T) and Martijn Leinweber (COO SBIC Noordwijk)

ESA BIC startup support

S&T can help startups in the ESA BIC program with the aforementioned data competences. The company is experienced with the Copernicus and Galileo environments thanks to projects done with ESA. “We don’t see this partnership as just helping out space startups with data competences. We see partnerships like this as an opportunity to work together and share knowledge – aiming for a win-win situation”, says Hooghiemstra.

“Next to that, we are aware of common pitfalls in partnerships like the ‘passive partner’. We are certainly going to be present at the SBIC Noordwijk premises, and at the same time invite ESA BIC startups to come visit us as well”, he adds.

Shared value in the space sector

According to S&T, it is the sharing within the sector that makes space such an interesting industry. “I’ve worked in several other industries, and never have I seen a sector so network oriented as space. It’s a tight community that understands the value of working together to achieve something big.”

However, there is some work to be done. Hooghiemstra: “The biggest advantage of a tight community can also be a disadvantage. Within the space sector, we know what space technology is capable of here on earth. Outside that, not so much. S&T wants to be part of ‘building that bridge’ to a greater audience. There’s still a lot of untapped potential to let the world know what the space community is capable of.”

As you probably have noticed, SBIC Noordwijk has that same mission. Martijn Leinweber, COO SBIC Noordwijk: “We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we are happy to have S&T as a technical partner – a partner that openly shares our values.”


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