Turku-based startup UrbanZee wins Copernicus AtmosHack

Last weekend ten teams competed in the Copernicus AtmosHack, where they came up with innovative ways to use and visualise Copernicus satellite data on air quality. UrbanZee, a Turku-based start-up, won the challenge with their real-estate service.

The teams were selected out of 35 project applications and competed for prizes worth 30.000€, with the top price including entry into the European Copernicus Accelerator programme. Other prices awarded to the top six teams included tickets to Slush and continued access to the WEkEO satellite data platform so teams could continue developing their ideas.

“We, and other teams, faced many challenges during AtmosHack working with satellite data for the first time”, remarked UrbanZee CEO Aschwin van der Woude. Aschwin continued: “we were fortunate enough to have domain experts available from the sponsoring organisation to help us overcome these challenges”.

UrbanZee had developed their real-estate service prior to AtmosHack and sought to improve the service by combining open data from satellites and ground stations with data from UrbanZee’s own devices.

“I believe that UrbanZee had the best business plan, that made innovative use of satellite data by merging them with ground-based air quality observations and data from hand-held sensors. They were a great team, combining business acumen with expertise in web design and statistics” said Johannes Flemming, Principal Scientist at ECMWF.

AtmosHack was arranged by Ultrahack, an expert organisation focusing on encouraging innovation through Hackathons.  “I have seen Aschwin compete in other Ultrahack events and he was even elected best mentor in one of the events we organised in Turku last year”, noted CEO and co-founder of Ultrahack Mikko Järvilehto, “it is a pleasure to see him succeed in AtmosHack, especially as the topic relates to his Startup business”.

As the winning team, UrbanZee will participate in a bootcamp in December, which is the start of the ten month intensive Copernicus Accelerator programme. “We are very excited to enter the Copernicus Accelerator and join the other 50 teams from across Europe”, says Aschwin van der Woude energetically. “We hope not only to use satellite data to develop and implement our ideas, but also gain some visibility to help the success of our business. Our aim is to reduce pollution world-wide through a platform of economies connecting all the necessary actors, and we will need all the help we can get to succeed”.