The manufacturing of satellites is complex, time-consuming and expensive, as production and integration into systems rely on custom-made components and are difficult to automate.
SPiN (Space Products and Innovation) is introducing spin-in technology from other industries into the space sector, thereby generating advanced concepts that are contributing to more sustainable processes. The company specialises in plug-and-play satellite hardware manufacturing kits, enabling customers to easily build satellites and simplify their integration with a universal adapter.
The three co-founders started SPiN in 2015. The company was the first spin-in start-up to be incubated at ESA BIC Bavaria and has been an alumnus since 2018.
ESA BIC Bavaria Manager Pia Feurstein (PF), interviews Giulia Federico (GF), co-founder of SPiN.
PF: Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
GF: SPiN offers a universal and smart plug-and-play adapter that connects each component without user intervention, removing customisation and therefore commoditising components. With our adapter, it is possible to assemble satellites similar to a LEGO set. The commoditised components connected through SPiN’s plug-and-play adapter can reduce up to 40% of a satellite’s cost and time to production.
SPiN’s development team includes its three co-founders: Ran Qedar develops the embedded software, Giulia Federico works on the design of the adapter product and its software support, and Saish Sridharan focuses on the hardware development and production.
PF: What has been your company’s biggest challenge so far?
GF: Our team’s biggest challenge was to attract the attention of the big market players in satellite manufacturing. They are very big groups depending on established processes that are difficult to innovate. Over time, SPiN developed close relationships with key managers inside the industry and kept them updated through newsletters and 1:1 meetings (and, nowadays, teleconferences). The team met European manufacturers to listen to their issues and deliver the best plug-and-play solution that satisfies their customers’ needs.
PF: Can you explain the three main ingredients of your recipe for success?
GF: Our recipe for success is diversity, focus and perseverance. Our team members have different backgrounds, both educational and cultural. We appreciate everyone’s unique point of view and enjoy learning from others. We are very focused and perseverant on growing our business – failure is an option, as long as we can learn from our mistakes and restart with even more energy to reach our objectives.
PF: What did you expect from ESA BIC Bavaria?
GF: We were very excited to join ESA BIC Bavaria. Its network of professionals and connection to the Bavarian start-up ecosystem was very attractive to us. Its proximity to satellite manufacturers such as Airbus and OHB has been instrumental for the development of our prototype.
PF: How did ESA BIC Bavaria and its network help you to kick-start your business case and to prepare you for your recent achievements?
GF: We connected with other companies incubated at ESA BIC Bavaria and exchanged experiences. The team introduced us to local investors and entrepreneurs. ESA BIC Bavaria supported us with the preparation of a business plan, helped us define our intermediate goals and create a better understanding of our customers. Thanks to the BIC team’s support, we were able to find our first customers and set up our start-up business.
PF: Let’s reach for the stars – what is going to happen in SPiN’s future?
GF: SPiN has recently become a Techstar portfolio company, allowing the team to participate in the 13-week mentor-driven programme, the Techstar Allied Space digital accelerator, which connects start-ups to industry leaders and investors to prepare their business scalability. SPiN’s founders are thrilled about this opportunity and are planning to fly the MA61C adapter and have an in-orbit demonstration by 2021.