London Tech Week ’22

It as has been three years since Exodus last came to London, and so much has changed since then. In 2019, we learnt about the UK’s Enterprise Investment Scheme and how an EIS accredited company can attract significant support from early stage investors due to government tax incentives. Now, with the equivalent Early Stage Innovation Company status in Australia, we can offer Australian early-stage investors the same types of incentives to what they receive here in the UK.

Our big news of the last few months is that we have pivoted focus from our Kinetic Solution for Space Debris (KiSSD) to our Carousel Spacelab project, which is an enabler for In-Space Applied Research and Manufacturing (ISARM) applications. The Carousel Spacelab will provide a new platform to researchers and company R&D departments, enabling them to expand on over 20 years of research on the International Space Station, which has the potential to change industries like drug discovery, metallurgy, optical fibres, and more.

Our second trip to London has allowed us to experience once again the big-thinking optimism that the London tech scene is known for, but also approach the UK space sector with a much better understanding of the global space industry’s supply chain. Whilst finding a cost-effective and scalable solution to the technical problem of space debris is important, we have found that it will likely still be a few years before active debris removal will be a big enough market to make a company like Exodus viable. Instead, our Carousel Spacelab concept (a small, free-flying space centrifuge) is the result of significant effort to understand and address the existing customer pain points around doing research and manufacturing in space.

With an estimated market potential at least as big as the three other major markets in space (Communications, Earth Observations and Location-services), In-Space Applied Research and Manufacturing (ISARM) is a field with several leaders located in London, and we were fortunate to meet with some of them. It is only the start of some of these conversations, but we are glad to say the utility of a service like Carousel Spacelab was immediately obvious to those we spoke to.

More broadly, London Tech Week is about the startup ecosystem, and here’s a brief summary of key takeaways and acknowledgements:

  • The UK innovation ecosystem is 3rd largest in the world after USA and China.
  • The understandable emphasis of London Tech Week is to showcase the highly developed facilities available to help foreign companies enter the UK market. It includes initiatives like the Global Entrepreneur Program, as well as government grants and other financial assistance focussed on helping companies to understand the local economy, acquire local talent, and thrive.
  • It’s not all about London, and all of the regions around the UK have differentiated themselves in one way or another, often by having hubs of dozens or hundreds of startups that focus on FinTech, Cybertech, Gametech, PropertyTech, and of course SpaceTech.
  • The West Midlands for instance, claims that the overall cost of running a business in Birmingham is approximately half that of London, whilst retaining all the UK government incentives.
  • It was obvious that Australia can learn plenty from the incentives that attract innovative tech companies to the UK, which is why it was fantastic to have Western Australian Deputy Premier Roger Cook attend numerous events with the Tribe Global mission to London Tech Week.
  • We are especially grateful to the WA Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, represented on the trip by Richelle Gornik, for contributing funding to Exodus as one of ten Western Australian-based companies on the mission.
  • We’d also like to thank the WA Government Office in Europe, particularly Charlotta Kemp and David Burrows, for their above-and-beyond efforts to help us make the most of the trip.
  • Deputy Premier Cook attended the UK-Australia Space Bridge roundtable at Australia House in London on Wednesday, 15th of June, which was a productive discussion of efforts to bridge the skills gap in the space-trained workforce, and about how to use the strong bilateral ties between our countries to boost the space innovation ecosystem.
  • Points to consider: Suggested that we should stop referring to space as a separate ”sector”, and instead talk about it as it is: an enabler for activities that cut across a broad range of sectors, and attract talent from those same broad range of sectors.
  • We need to change the perception that you have to be an engineer to get into the space industry! Instead, all space organisations incorporate expertise from a range of fields, with Mike’s medical science background a case in point.
  • The companies in the Australian delegation attended numerous networking events where Mike spent time with some fantastic founders. A special mention goes to Ricci Schwarzler of Spydertech, Tim Brewer of Functionly, Katie Richards of Law on Earth, Dave Newman of PlanCare, Sofie De meyer of Resonance Health, Guan Tay of Customa and Simon Turner of SensaWeb.
  • Locations with events included the QEII building (LTW Hub), Australia House, Lancaster House, The Swan restaurant at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, TechUk, the Plexal co-working hub (at the former London Olympics media centre), and Octopus Ventures.
  • Another highly-recommended event run separately from London Tech Week was the MeetFounders event with 350 attendees, 30+ VCs over 8 panel sessions, plus 40 startup pitches competing for £10,000 in prize money. These events run monthly, and are well worth a visit for any startups/scaleups in London.
  • Here Mike also met the inspiring Indiana Gregg, who related the story behind her company Wedo.
  • We also visited the Harwell Space Cluster and Satellite Applications Catapult yesterday, and will visit to Surrey Satellite Technology tomorrow – more on these visits to come in future.
  • London Tech Week 2019 and 2022 are what we hope will be our bookends to the pandemic, and each trip was incredibly valuable. Time to go home, and hit the ground running, because there’s so much to do!

Published by mikelepage

CEO and Design Lead for Exodus Space Systems

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