Ready, Not-Steady, Action! Read our First Topio Testimonial!
11—May—2022, by Intza Balenciaga
Meet Daniela Dobreva-Nielsen, Head of Business Development at AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.
With more than 25 years’ experience, she is an expert in international business development and account management in technology, space, and global media. Her focus is on innovation consultancy, entrepreneurship support, and strategic communication. Daniela has contributed greatly to positioning AZO as a European leader in fostering space-driven innovation and entrepreneurship by setting up and advising several initiatives relating to the user uptake of the EU space programmes on Earth observation (Copernicus) and satellite navigation (Galileo).
Ms. Kathrin Lenvain, Business Development at AZO, and Intza Balenciaga, Project Manager at AZO, spoke with her about the market potential of Europe’s new geospatial marketplace and how space companies can benefit from it. Don’t miss the interview below, hot off the press!
AZO has been part of an international consortium to build a European marketplace to share, trade and search commercial geospatial data since 2021. Can you tell us more about it and how it relates to the space innovation ecosystem?
The marketplace is called Topio. It is a digital marketplace to trade, share and use geospatial data. It targets companies that produce geospatial data or services willing to sell them, as well as companies that need additional data by allowing them to search for it on the marketplace. As the geospatial market is highly fragmented in Europe and companies/SMEs/start-ups need different data to build their applications or services, it is beneficial to have everything centrally in one place. The functions and purpose are similar to eBay. It acts as a kind of “one-stop shop”, where you can find what you are looking for in different categories and easily offer your services.
AZO has been in the space innovation business for more than 18 years. Why is space relevant for everyone and where is the connection to geospatial data?
Space is not just about rockets and astronauts. AZO has always been highly focused on how we can use the data gathered by satellites commercially in our everyday life down on Earth. The European Space Programme provides us with plenty of data and signals on a daily basis. This information is essential and can be used, for instance, for environmental monitoring, climate change, agriculture, urban and infrastructure planning, as well as many other relevant application fields. It leverages geospatial data, and it can greatly improve geospatial services and applications. Space and geospatial data go hand in hand.
Your company supports new ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship along the value chain with a variety of different initiatives. How does that fit together with the Topio marketplace?
Our vision from the very beginning was to create a value chain for entrepreneurs, where they can go through different programmes according to their development status. We organise thematic innovation competitions, hackathons, accelerators, manage an incubator, organise matchmaking, and coordinate open calls, to name just a few. I have seen many entrepreneurs walk through these programmes that are now established companies on the market. Within our ecosystem, we have supported plenty of entrepreneurs that used data from satellites and set up new companies, providing specific services as a combination of space and geospatial data. However, very often, small companies have limited capabilities to scale up and they need a lot of time to get to know new market segments. Therefore, the marketplace is a great opportunity for companies on the market to offer their own data in addition to their usual business, to get access to other sectors, countries, and new potential clients.
In your view, what is the future of the space and geospatial data sectors and where do you see the biggest potential?
It is clear that both sectors belong together, even more so in the future. It has recently been announced that there will be 6 new Copernicus missions. That means new additional data on, for example, urbanisation, biodiversity, environmental information, monitoring rising sea levels, diminishing polar ice, CO2 emissions, etc. We have to start thinking now about how this data should be used. With a rising volume of data and number of services, it is even more important to create a marketplace to easily find, buy, sell, use, or share data and services. I especially see enormous potential for the New Space companies that launch their own satellites and produce and collect plenty of new data in addition to what Copernicus satellites provide. Topio.market can help them sell their data to more users. Since space data isn’t bound by borders, it’s interesting for users from all over Europe and beyond.
Can you provide us with concrete examples of which space-related domains – like a marketplace – offer great potential?
If we have a look at the latest Market Report for Space, which was released in early 2022 by EUSPA – the EU Agency for the Space Programme, great potential for space applications and services is predicted in a wide range of areas, including urban development and cultural heritage, agriculture, climate services, energy and raw material, infrastructure, biodiversity, ecosystems and natural capital. These sectors add up to more than half of the expected total revenue of €2.8 billion in the near future. All services and applications in these areas are the result of hand-in-hand developments using space and geospatial data. The geospatial sector can leverage their services with data from space and vice versa.
Is a single digital marketplace the solution that is currently missing in the space industry? How will this make a difference? If so, will you encourage companies to consider joining Topio?
Each additional distribution channel offered to young start-ups or/and SMEs helps them to take off and focus on developing other areas of their businesses. Platforms like Topio.market can be an additional booster to network and get to know new clients to sell, buy or use new data and services. The platform can be an additional source of income and knowledge. Any company that produces or needs data can benefit from it.
Did you enjoy this interview? Anyone interested in Topio can test and explore Europe’s new geospatial data marketplace to trade, purchase and use geospatial data whenever you want and wherever you are! Contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or/and sign up to the Topio mailing list to get all the news as soon as the public beta phase starts.