Archives for November 2018

- Comments Off on A revolution in small satellite engines is happening in the Czech Republic

A revolution in small satellite engines is happening in the Czech Republic

This is our first Press Release of this year related to our SpaceLab EU project working on pretty exciting new things. Enjoy below...


SpaceLab EU and the Czech Aerospace Research Centre (VZLU) have entered into a SpaceLab-logopartnership under which they will, over the next five years, develop and commercialize a unique air-breathing ion propulsion engine that allows satellites to maintain their position on a very low orbit. The engine thrust is created by accelerating the residual atmosphere of the Earth and thus engine itself needs no other fuel. The project of the new engine type is a response to increasing users' demand for small-satellite fleets operation, including prolonging their service life. Think SpaceX or OneWeb plans for thousands of small satellites providing connectivity from space.VZLU

The uniqueness of the joint project is increased by the fact that it is the first opportunity to make very low orbits accessible to sustainable satellite traffic. The benefits of operating on a very low orbit are obvious both in the field of communications – significantly lower latency (signal delay) compared to the present situation and lower transmitter power requirements, and in the field of visual monitoring of the Earth – significantly more accurate and clearer pictures. The value of the joint development is in millions of EUR. The commercial potential is expected in hundreds of millions of euros. The prospects are expected to be the future commercial operators of small-satellite fleets as well as military users.

The teams of both companies are working together on the project at VZLÚ premises in Prague, where both computer simulations and experimental hardware are being born. The teams have there all currently necessary laboratory equipment, including new clean rooms necessary for experimentation and preparation of the engineering model, which will then be tested in space.

SpaceLab EU SE is a newly established entity dedicated to space research and its global

ionoSat; air-breathing ion propulsion for small satellites in breadboard

breadboard of our air-breathing ion engine

commercial use. The entire project, including the SpaceLab EU, was launched thanks to the group of European enthusiasts and investors jointly operating under the brand hDock42, which is focused on promoting and commercial development of European know-how.

The Czech Aerospace Research Center (VZLU) is a national centre for research, development and testing in aviation and astronautics. Its mission is to provide scientific support and bring innovative solutions for the industry.

(this press release was first published at SpaceLab EU website and via EIN Presswire)

- Comments Off on Women are the next big thing in tech! (Journal #8)

Women are the next big thing in tech! (Journal #8)

This is kind of an old story but it will give you a good perspective for the whole “let’s build a venture fund” idea and possibly lessons you can draw from it in case you’d ever decide to go down the venture capital route.

Short summary would be - about two years ago, soon after we actually established hDock42 and the whole European Launchpad idea, we’ve had came to a conclusion, which at that time was hidden to most people in Europe : “Women Are The Next Big Thing In Tech and Business”. It’s who and not what!

And yes, we could debate this till we drop, but it’s a simple fact. If you don’t see it yet, no worries, you will. It’s like gravity, you don't see it or think about it but if you try to understand how we live on Earth, you find out it’s here and it works.

Now let me tell you how we got to this belief; in the early days of hDock42 we’ve traveled extensively to visit different innovation communities across the world to see and feel the vibes, and to establish or re-establish connections and to find out how we could create or transfer those vibes to Europe. Yes, we were kind of obsessed with “how to get the Silicon Valley vibes to Europe”. I mean look, it kind of makes no sense, no one wants to live in Silicon Valley, because of its beauty and culture and history, we all went there because of people we can meet there and vibe (or atmosphere if you want) we find there. Wouldn’t it be much cooler if you could have the vibes, the people and drive to try and experiment in a place where people actually want to live? In a place which actually has culture, history, and streets you can walk on!

American influence

And as we’ve visited trade fairs, job fairs, innovation fairs, makers fairs, business and tech conferences, and startup summits. We loved them all but one trip has felt very special among them all. It was our trip to NYC, Boston, and Pittsburgh. Our main destination was annual EmTech (MIT Technology Review event) in Boston where we went to hear more about emerging technologies cooking in labs around the world.

It was completely unplanned but this whole trip was the first one, after many before, where we saw the female power in action…

  1. organizers of EmTech kept absolutely balanced the diversity on stage and it struck us as an amazing that at the two days conference focused on fields of deep science, robotics, and new materials, that’s even possible
  2. we got invited to Boston meetup community Tech-In-Motion running “Women Entrepreneurs” evening where we’ve seen ladies from 12 years old special ice-cream inventor to lady doctors running a healthcare apps for special-needs care and we’ve found out how city of Boston supports innovators and diversity for over a decade, including mayor himself.
  3. We’ve met amazing female creators at NYC Media Lab.
  4. and many more little instances where the combined presence of both genders has made us think, wow, they are a great team or it’s a great match these two, etc.

It was during this two weeks trip that we started to watch out for the signs of gender equality and the feeling started to grow into belief - that it’s more important who is involved than what is being done or where.

Let's try a venture fund

Then we looked around and thought, if we want to make an impact, we should be able to move female founders forward hence we should build a venture fund. But wait, if we are going to work on building a venture fund, it will be number 1001 in Europe, so we should really find some edge no one has. Could that edge be hard-focus on gender?

I mean everyone will tell you they have smart money, smart ass, great contacts, operational expertise, and…you name it. But very few VCs in Europe actually stand for something special; be it deep understanding of the industry and real hands-on experience like Passion Capital, or building a strong supporting community like Hardware Club. And so we decided (on a very high-level) to get the special edge by focusing on female founders across Europe.

And that was it. Our ideation start for the project to create a venture fund focused on female entrepreneurs. It did not have a name back then but we knew we want to focus on female founders or mixed founders teams across Europe because this can have a disproportionate impact and we won't be competing in a faceless crowd of VC funds. And yes, we thought that everyone will be as excited as we were about this unexploited niche focus. This was early 2017...

Well, we were heading in for a big big surprise…


Wanna know what was the surprise and how we handled it? Subscribe to our 42Newsletter to get notified automatically when we publish the next Journal entry or just check back in a week or so...