The PARSEC Bootcamp, a learning and networking event that launched the first stage of the accelerator was successfully held on the 27th of March 2020. The bootcamp was redesigned to take place entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and united the 100 winners of the Open Call 1 with the accelerator team and guest speaker, Frank M. Salzgeber from the European Space Agency.

At the bootcamp, 170 participants were welcomed as members of the thriving Earth Observation (EO) ecosystem by the coordinator of the PARSEC Accelerator, Emmanuel Pajot from EARSC. In his speech, Mr. Pajot offered an overview of the trends in the EO industry, including the promising growth rates in the sector. He also emphasised the increasing importance of EO in food, energy and environment, the three focus sectors of PARSEC.

Finding the right partners to team up with is key for a start-up to succeed, which is why we dedicated the first half of the day to learning more about the #100PARSEC. Start-up representatives pitched their activities and vision and described the ideal partners they would be eager to team up with to further develop their ideas. The diversity of the proposed ideas highlighted the creativity and capacity for innovation of #100PARSEC. PARSEC’s first stage includes start-ups and SMEs working in many diverse fields, such as; ocean, snow or vineyard monitoring, prediction of river flows, tracking of food supply chains, improving urban planning and mobility, waste management, beekeeping, enabling energy transition, sustainable tourism and many more. The winners also demonstrated a common goal of using more efficient and sustainable methods by exploiting approaches at the forefront of technology, such as AI.

The inspirational talk by the guest speaker Mr. Frank Salzgeber, Head of the Innovation and Ventures Office at the European Space Agency (ESA), was the motivational highlight of the day. Mr. Salzgeber discussed why “we need more space” and how space brings a great potential that still needs to be utilised more by businesses, industries and society. Moreover, he presented the direct support opportunities provided by ESA for entrepreneurship and innovation. He invited #100PARSEC to discover ESA’s programs, including ESA’s technology transfer and Business Incubation Centres, as well as the benefits that can be achieved through ESA’s connected partners network.

At the last bootcamp session, the #100PARSEC were introduced to the PARSEC business catalysts. These three tools, which support big data processing, in situ data access and access to the EO marketplace are now at the winners’ disposal. Peter Baumann from Rasdaman showcased the Big Data Toolbox (a tool developed together with Geomatrix) and how it facilitates access, processing, analysis and storage of big EO data. Yanis Nasiopoulos from DRAXIS presented the In-situ Data Hub, a platform which provides access to free and open in situ information that is essential for finetuning and enhancing satellite-based observations. Last but not least, Alfred Balcewicz from Eversis offered tips on developing effective content and targeting the right audience to promote a product or service. Together with EARSC, they provide the third business catalyst – the dedicated eoMALL galleries.

Wrapping up the PARSEC Bootcamp, the #100PARSEC were happy to meet and interact with each other, marking the best possible start to the matchmaking process. Today, PARSEC matchmaking is available for all SMEs and start-ups willing to join the community and work on a solution for food, energy or environment to apply for the Open Call 2. The Open Call 2 was launched on the 30th of March and will be accepting applications until the 20th of June 17:00 CET from consortia of 2-4 SMEs or start-ups keen to launch new Earth Observation-based solutions into the market. You can read more details about the call in our article “Equity-free funding and support for SMEs innovating in food, energy or environment: PARSEC Open Call 2”.