UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs announce winners of the UAE NewSpace Innovation Program

The UAE Space Agency, in collaboration with the global innovation hub Krypto Labs, announced the four winning teams that will enroll in the UAE NewSpace Innovation Program. The 3-month program, worth AED 2 million, will incubate these exceptional space projects aiming at graduating Emirati space startups.

The program received over 150 applications from university professors, students, entrepreneurs, and engineers, from private and public companies, universities, and educational institutes in the UAE.

The selected teams that will participate in the UAE NewSpace Innovation Program are the following:

- Compass Nadir, a new sensor that uses the principles of chemistry to measure satellite position.
- Light Trapping Dynamic Photovoltaic Module for Space Applications, an innovative cell internal connection architecture that makes it naturally self-adaptive against any external and internal impacts like soiling, shading, and micro-cracks.
- SAR-Sat Arabia, a group of small satellites to continuously collect data (Earth Observation) using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and provide it for multiple sectors in the MENA region and the world.
- Smart Navigation Systems, a platform that brings to government entities enhanced usage of satellite imageries through AI.

As part of the UAE Space Agency’s digital transformation and under the nation’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, all the activities of the NewSpace Innovation Program adjusted to an online setting, including the selection process, bootcamp training through live webinars and the upcoming stages of the program.

During the first stage of the selection process, the top 8 tech startups that applied for the program competed in a 2-day online competition, where they worked with mentors and pitched their ideas in front of a jury. The best teams moved forward to the second stage, a Space Bootcamp, which determined the winning teams in a virtual pitch day.

The UAE NewSpace Innovation Program is one of the main pillars of the Global Space Industry Accelerator (GSIA) initiative, the first of its kind in the region. Falling under the umbrella of the National Space Investment Promotion Plan, the GSIA aims to position the UAE as a pioneering country in the space industry through innovation. It also seeks to nurture a sustainable UAE space industry, foster a healthy national ecosystem through innovation and R&D, and contribute to a diversified and knowledge-based national economy.

H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said, "During these challenging times, our main priority remains centered around backing innovative entrepreneurs, whose startups can contribute to catalyzing the space industry’s growth. Our objectives also remain unhindered, as we work towards building the local entrepreneurial activity in the space sector and providing practical solutions for a knowledge-based society under the UAE’s strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Naser Al Rashedi, Director of National Space Policy and Regulation at the UAE Space Agency and Program Director of the GSIA said, "We are extremely proud of the four teams; they have exceeded all expectations on different aspects, like business quality, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We followed an international approach in filtering those applicants, based on practical and clear criteria that considered innovation and feasibility, as well as the teams’ capabilities, various risks involved, and technical approach, and we were pleased to find Emirati team members. All applications were identified to serve space and non-space industries’ interests and needs. We would also like to thank our esteemed panel of judges, where I worked alongside Mr. Fahad Al Mheiri and Mr. Talal Al Kaissi from the UAE Space Agency, Mr. Omar Al Mahmoud from ICT Fund, Mr. Salem Abdalla M. Bin Shabib from DED. Mr. Qussay Abdul Wahab from Khalifa Fund, Mr. Johan Maree from MBRSC, and Mr. Anas Zeineddine from Krypto Labs.”

He added, “The next step is the incubation program, which will develop the four space projects into Emirati business startups that are ready to compete in the national market, and next, globally and internationally. The incubation will be conducted over four phases, to build the technical and business aspects of each project, starting with researching the market to validate the business assumptions, the next phase is to grow customer interest, and later to focus on investment and growth strategies. We will soon connect the incubatees to mentors, investors, customers, and potential partners from the space and related sectors, to take their innovations to the next level.”

Dr. Saleh Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Krypto Labs, said, “Today, we are reaping the fruits and benefits of the UAE Space Agency’s partnership with Krypto Labs, and it is this mutual commitment towards encouraging innovation within the UAE that helps us achieve our mission of ranking on the global space map. With the UAE Space Agency’s continuous support, we endeavor towards supporting scientific research and local talents whose space exploration innovations will pave the way for positioning the UAE as a leader in space sciences, and an exporter of space solutions.”

77% of startups have not yet benefited from any government support policies, and 27% of investors are changing their mandate towards positively impacted technology-driven industries, our latest report on the impact of COVID-19 on MENA's startup ecosystem has found. Discover more in our FREE H1 2020 MENA Startup & VC Sentiment Report.