IAI to found space technology incubator

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Israel Aerospace Industries MBT Space Division head Opher Doron announced the move at the "Globes" Israel Business Conference.

Space is the next goal that the Israeli high-tech industry will try to reach. This was the most exciting thing to emerge from the "Start-ups" panel that closed the "Globes" Israel Business Conference yesterday. Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, chairman of the Israel Space Agency, who chaired the panel, began the discussion by relating how he had to persuade the Israeli government to set up the agency. "This is a market worth $300 billion annually, and there is no reason that Israel should not take a percent or two of it. Every percent is $3 billion in sales. 2% is already a macro-economic matter. The government agreed to put in a small amount of money, from its point of view, the entire aim of which was to leverage the assets that the defense establishment had built up, in order to commercialize the field and make it economic."

The discussion mainly centered on the question of what differentiates a space industry start up from a regular start up. "Unlike with applications or other products, in space you can't easily put mistakes right, and the price is very high," said Amnon Harari, head of the Ministry of Defense Space Directorate, "Its not a matter of customers who are early adopters of consumer products or applications, who might be forgiving of a product that is not yet perfect. In this area, start ups must first of all think about quality. We need to set up an infrastructure that will give start ups that do not have the know-how, and certainly not the tools, of inspection institutes, an easier life. We have to arrange a simpler path for them."

In order to provide a simpler path, Israel Aerospace Industries has decided to take the matter in hand. Opher Doron, head of Israel Aerospace Industries MBT Space Division, announced that the IAI intends to found a space technologies and applications incubator called Space-Nest for space start ups. "We need to work out how to take our broad and deep experience of success in space and connect it to the enterprise, the energy and the intelligence that start ups bring. Therefore, after considerable deliberation, we are going ahead and are about to found a space technologies and application incubator that will foster start ups. We are basing ourselves on our own money, on funds from the Israel Space Agency and on money from private investors like The Space Angels Network, whose principal Amir Blachman is already engaged with Space-Nest, to encourage and support the start ups. It will be adjacent to our premises, so that they wont have to get past the security officer, but they will be close enough to us, Doron said, adding, At this stage, we are looking for the first start ups to stimulate the symbiosis between an experienced and somewhat heavy company but with the required infrastructure, and the smart ideas."

This article corrects an earlier version

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 10, 2014

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

 
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