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Tilebox Aims to Kickstart Space Data Revolution in Europe

By Mark Holmes | October 10, 2023

Tilebox’s co-foudners Stefan Amberger, left, and Laura Costa, right. Photo: Tilebox

European space startup Tilebox has a vision to radically improve how organizations manage and utilize space data. Co-founder and CCO Laura Costa recently spoke with Via Satellite about Tilebox’s mission, after the company recently raised $1.7 million in a pre-seed funding round.

Costa believes Tilebox is bringing to market the first integrated platform purpose-built for end-to-end satellite data workflows. From ingestion to processing, analytics and insight delivery, Tilebox is building a streamlined solution to remove these constraints.

“This unified architecture reduces friction and enables an easier scaling, from single satellites to full constellations. By bringing software engineering best practices to space data management, we deliver the flexibility and reliability required to de-risk operations and accelerate time-to-value. This allows companies to focus resources on product and innovation,” Costa said.

Tilebox targets a customer base of space companies and organizations that require efficient and reliable space data management solutions. She believes this will range from companies launching their own satellites to companies using space service providers, to companies utilizing commercially or open data to generate insights or products.

“Our early customers are companies utilizing space service providers to launch their constellations,” she said. “Our deal flow is robust, with promising prospects lining up over the next months, we are on a good trajectory to establish our position in the market. As a startup focused on growth and innovation, our primary focus is on product development and expanding our customer base.”

Tech investors including Cocoa VenturesPossible VenturesRemote First Capital, along with Findus Ventures and Luis Sanz, CEO of CARTO led Tilebox’s recent funding round.

Costa said Tilebox will use the funding to to accelerate hiring and product development. “Our experience in an early funding round is that with the strong fundamentals — a solid team, a clear vision and some early customer traction — the pre-seed and seed investing climate remains robust.”

According to Costa, the exponential growth of space data brings “immense opportunities” for space data management and she hopes Tilebox will play a crucial role here by ensuring data is managed efficiently. At the core, Costa says Tilebox sees companies taking the concept of vertical integration to “extreme and dangerous” levels.

“Space companies have immense expert know-how in building and operating payloads or satellites, in creating algorithms to extract actionable insights from their data, or a strong specialized expertise in customer needs and preferences. Requiring – on top of that core expertise – subject level mastery in collaborative data management, workflow orchestration, resilient and distributed parallelization tooling, or interface design is like requiring that every entrepreneur should also be his own accountant. This not only holds back companies, but it often threatens their survivability,” she said.

Tilebox’s ambition is that its integrated platform will mean costumers can tap into the full potential of their data without losing focus.

Looking at recent advancements in AI technology, Costa said Tilebox believes machine learning algorithms can enable space companies to gain deeper insights and make more informed, impactful decisions.

“There’s this Chinese parable about the farmer’s good luck, and it’s very much applicable to ML in general. This level of foundational technology has the potential to change the arc of humanity, and it is not clear upfront if that will turn out good or not, in the end,” she said. “But as of now, machine learning has already incredibly useful applications, also in the space industry, with easier classification, segmentation, insights generation or interaction with datasets via natural language.”

Some of the challenges in the space industry around rapid growth, talent, and regulatory compliance can be opportunities for Tilebox, Costa said.

“The fact that space is still developing rapidly, isn’t standardized yet like other industries, isn’t easily accessible for many and intimidating to some. The fact that there is a massive talent shortage. The fact that regulatory compliance to work with larger actors can be a challenge. These are all great opportunities, as well as challenges and even more a reason for us to abstract and solve these topics for our customers,” she says.