European Copernicus accelerator pitching competition won by start-up in Finland

The Copernicus accelerator is an initiative by the European union to accelerate the use of earth observation satellites launched by the EU. The accelerator hosts fifty teams from countries across Europe. Each team either won a Hackathon, got selected based on a open call or won a challenge in the Copernicus masters programme.

This ten month mentoring programme was kicked off during a boot camp in Marseille, France on the third and fourth of December. Each of the teams was paired up with a mentor who had previously been through the same programme and now have successful businesses. The teams will be mentored for ten months with another camp at the end of the programme.

After winning AtmosHack in Helsinki, UrbanZee, a small air-quality related start-up in Finland, qualified for the Copernicus accelerator programme. They were paired up with Hans van ‘t Woud, who is a past Copernicus overall winner and the founding director of BlackShore. His business is successfully using the power of the crowds to analyse satellite imagery.

“Our ideas use a crowd-based approached to create impact on the air quality in cities”, says Aschwin van der Woude, CEO of UrbanZee, “so I am excited to work with Hans, especially as we have already evolved our initial ideas to the next level during the boot camp. The next ten months in the programme promises to be interesting”.

“I have mentored several other teams in the Copernicus accelerator programme, after my own successes”, explains mentor van ‘t Woud, “as a conceptual designer, I always look for ways to integrate and innovate ideas. And as an entrepreneur, I seek to create a positive impact in the world. UrbanZee’s ideas are very interesting and I am keen to help them succeed”.

During the second day of the Copernicus accelerator boot camp all fifty teams had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas within one and a half minute. The teams were spread over four separate pitching sessions with different juries. UrbanZee became the winner in one of these sessions, earning them an opportunity to pitch at another European start-up/investor event.

“AtmosHack and the Copernicus accelerator boot camp provided us not only with some validation on our direction by the judges, but we also gained access to a wider range of experts to help us succeed”, concludes van der Woude, “we’ll continue going forward to impact the air quality of cities around the world”.