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ESA BIC UK helps space-tech start-up find route to market


Lacuna Space Ltd provides a simple and reliable global connection service that links physical devices, such as temperature sensors and location trackers, to the internet. It uses low-orbit satellites which connect the devices to its network, enabling monitoring even in the most remote areas.

Challenge

When Lacuna first joined the ESA BIC UK in 2017, it had already developed a number of concepts based on Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), but still needed to produce simulations and demonstrations in order to attract new investors. With plenty of technical expertise in the team, the challenge for Lacuna was in building, testing and creating its services, whilst also finding a route to market. Fortunately, Lacuna was aware of the ESA BIC UK and the opportunities it provided for start-ups.

Solution

  • Offices at a world-leading science and innovation campus
  • Connections into industry players to fast-track to market
  • £41,500 incentive funding
  • Networking opportunities from STFC, ESA, and campus connections

Benefits

left-hand quote markBeing a part of the ESA BIC UK was an important step in giving credibility to our concept, which at first seemed extremely technically challenging. From there, we have gone on to gradually build support and raise significant funding.right-hand quote mark

Rob Spurrett, Co-founder, Lacuna Space

As an ESA BIC UK incubatee, Lacuna saw immediate benefits of having its own office space and shared facilities – helping the team to perform demonstrations and refine calculations. This allowed the Lacuna team to develop an early prototype, which was later tested in a number of high altitude balloon flights.

After frequenting regular ESA BIC UK and STFC networking events, Lacuna built strong connections with other ESA BIC UK alumni and key industry players. This allowed the company to reach agreements with Semtech Corporation, the owner of the core IP used in its long-range signals network, known as LoRa™.

Since graduating from the ESA BIC UK in 2018, Lacuna has added new recruits to the team and expanded into new facilities, including its own laboratory at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on Harwell Campus

Lacuna recently launched its first demonstration satellite; it has since gone on to award contracts for three other satellites to be launched in 2019, one of which will be supplied by fellow alumnus, Open Cosmos.

Lacuna case study (PDF, 184 KB)

Last updated: 21 May 2019

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