UK Government announces International Space Pitch Day winners

The winners of the inaugural International Space Pitch Day were announced on November 17 by the UK Government, marking several world firsts.

Ten tech start-ups successfully secured same-day contracts worth up to £53,000 ($66,000) to fast-track the development of their innovations after pitching direct to UK, US and NATO military leaders.

Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, UK Director Space, unveiled the winners following an afternoon of pitches in front of a global audience during the first day of the Defence Space Conference hosted from London.

It is the first time two nations anywhere in the world have come together to award defense contracts based around a pitch-style event, similar to Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank. It is also the first time two nations have awarded joint defense innovation contracts to an overseas-based enterprise in this way. And it is the first time same-day contracts have been awarded in this way to industry by the UK Ministry of Defence.

Air Vice-Marshal Smyth said, “Congratulations to the winners and all those that took part in the first International Space Pitch Day – it has captured the imagination of innovators and militaries not just across the UK and US, but all over the world. It has achieved several world firsts and we look forward to building on its success as we seek to fast-track innovation and cutting-edge technology to the front line quicker than ever before with fresh ways of working with industry to make sure we stay ahead of our shared adversaries and the threats they pose.”

Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said, “Pitch Days open the government’s aperture to work with commercially-focused companies. Competing for technology outside of our fence lines has been a major U.S. Air Force and Space Force theme. Partnering with our allies to compete globally is the natural evolution. Space is especially exciting with so many ideas brought to the table by these firms, and I’m confident international space cooperation has a bright future.”

Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl chief executive, said, “International Space Pitch Day represents an innovative way of working, ensuring that UK and US Defence are able to keep up with the rapid pace of commercial technology development. We aim to connect world-class space innovation to military end-users at pace, supported by business and commercialization training.”

The winning companies are:

  • 114 AI Innovation Ltd (India)
  • Clearbox Systems Pty Ltd (Australia)
  • Clutch Space Systems Ltd (UK)
  • Cognitive Space, Inc. (US)
  • precursor SPC (US)
  • Riskaware Ltd and Telespazio Vega UK (UK)
  • Rocket Communications (US)
  • Slingshot Aerospace, Inc. (US)
  • Spire Global UK (UK)
  • ai, Inc. (US)

Source: UK Government