Running a start-up is never smooth sailing, but when your start-up happens to involve launching rockets into space then there are some additional hurdles to overcome.
Based in South Australia, Fleet Space Technologies, is preparing to launch its first nanosatellites (pictured above, right) later this year which will establish a global network to connect the world’s IoT sensors and devices.
The biggest risk to the business, according co-founder and CEO Flavia Tata Nardini, is scheduling delays.
“Every business is hard, extremely hard, because you need to turn an idea into a customer success. However, when you think of space you’ve got a massive complication, you have to put them [the products] on a rocket!”
Tata Nardini says creating an infrastructure that is so complicated before getting to know who your customers are and if they’ll buy your product is a mistake.
“As an entrepreneur you need to create a model that helps you to get to know your customer,” Tata Nardini said.
To get to market faster, Fleet Space Technologies began selling a product which uses existing satellites earlier this year. The Portal is an IoT hub that takes information from sensors within a 15km radius, and uses edge computing to discern and deliver only only the most pertinent information.
The Portal is designed to allow businesses to scale their IoT capability quicker and more affordably.
“Because we are leveraging existing satellites we can actually sell to every side of the planet,” she said.
Fleet currently has customers in Australia, US, South America, India, Russia and across Europe. In terms of industries, agriculture is a “huge” opportunity as well as industrial equipment, mining, oil and gas.
The company’s ambition is to accelerate IoT adoption by providing a simple plug and play solution that’s also low cost. Launching its own satellites will further reduce the cost of the product, Tata Nardini said.
Fleet’s first nanosatellite, Centauri I, will be launched in September aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) by Antrix/Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The second nanosatellite, Centauri II, will be launched the following month on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US.
Fleet says nanosatellite technology is ushering in unprecedented connectivity at a fraction of the cost of large scale, multinational space exploration projects, with lean manufacturing capabilities, simpler technologies and smaller payloads.
“At Fleet Space Technologies, our constellation of nanosatellites will power the next industrial revolution, giving businesses new access to data and connectivity, so that many of these issues can be solved, from space,” Tata Nardini said.
Founded in 2015, Fleet is backed by is backed by Blackbird Ventures, Grok Ventures, Horizon Partners, and the South Australian Government.