Oasis500 has launched a new multimillion dinar venture fund which seeks to develop businesses based around space technologies.
The startup accelerator’s Jordan Space Ventures Fund will provide funding and mentorship to entrepreneurs using technologies like satellite communication systems to tackle challenges facing fields, like tourism, the environment, and transportation.
The fund was created in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD). The ambitious project hopes to “form innovative solutions to existing problems,” using “entrepreneurial talent to explore a wide range of areas,” explained Jasper Persson, The EIB’s head of Equity Operations.
The program will begin with seed finance, provided jointly by the KAFD and the EIB. Successful applicants will then take part in the acceleration program run by Oasis500, which will offer mentoring and entrepreneurship training. Technical support will be on hand from the ESA, while strategic and advisory support will come from the EIB. Participating startups will also benefit from the networking connections of the KAFD in the region.
The six-year funding will give entrepreneurs three years for development, and three years for exit, with around JD38,000 to JD189,000 available for each investment from the JD12 million available.
While at first glance it is a somewhat unusual prospect to create a space ventures fund in Jordan, the ESA said it has significant experience in the area. Davide Tomassani, a project manager of space-based application projects at the ESA, highlighted several examples of past successful ventures. These include the development of a network of 1,000 ATMs across sub-Saharan Africa using satellite technology, and the creation system to track the transport of hazardous goods with a very long-life battery which allows for less high-risk human involvement.