Partner Network


AZO’s mission is to boost the user uptake of data provided by the European space programmes by aiding visionary entrepreneurs in bringing their innovations to market. AZO has established profound expertise in the organisation of international innovation competitions by coordinating two of Europe’s major ideas competitions – the European Satellite Navigation Competition and the Copernicus Masters. Furthermore, on behalf of the European Space Agency, AZO manages the ESA Business Incubation Centre Bavaria – one of the most successful incubation programmes involving the commercial use of space technologies and infrastructures. Multiple other forward-thinking AZO initiatives, such as App Developer Camps, Matchmaking events and the brand new crowdfunding platform SpaceStarters for space-related entrepreneurs, foster the creation and the acceleration of jobs as well as Europe’s competitiveness and beyond. Thereby, AZO offers visionary entrepreneurs the Space of Innovation they need to launch their business.


Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2015, it generated revenues of €64.5 billion and employed a workforce of around 136,600. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

2017 Airbus launched the “SpaceDataHighway” Challenge. The aim of the competition is to identify and promote innovations for the satellite communication system "SpaceData Highway". For the second-placed project, Airbus Defence & Space is funding a Crowdinvesting campaign on SpaceStarters. 

Copernicus Masters

Since 2011, the annual Copernicus Masters competition awards prizes to outstanding ideas, applications, and business concepts that utilise Earth observation data for commercial purposes and socially relevant projects. Participants can choose from various topic-specific challenges that are awarded by an array of prominent partners. Along with cash prizes, the winners receive technical support in realising their ideas, access to satellite data, and startup support from a prize pool worth a total of more than EUR 600,000. A newly created European Commission programme, the Copernicus Accelerator, offers tailored business coaching support to the top 40 applicants of the Copernicus Masters. Geared primarily towards startups and other companies, researchers, and students, the competition requires entrants to submit their applications at


The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) annually seeks outstanding services, products, and business innovations that use satellite navigation in everyday life. The 2016 edition’s prizes awarded by some of the most relevant institutional GNSS stakeholders: the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), and the Horizon 2020 project BELS. In addition, more than 20 partner regions from the entire world host regional challenges. The ESNC 2016 prize pool contains a value of approximately EUR 1 million. Prizes include: cash awards, business incubation, business coaching, patent consulting, technical support, access to testing facilities, prototype development, publicity and marketing support.

New Space Vision

With more than 600 members NewSpaceVision is the biggest and fastest growing European New Space Visionaries Community. NSV has the goal to strengthen the European Space Startup scene. It is addressed to space enthusiasts who are looking for inspiration, open discussion, network as well as resources for space projects. Since it was founded in Berlin in May 2016, monthly events give companies, VCs, projects and organizations an audience of open minded and visionary people from inside and outside the space industry. With space company lab visits, high profile presentations, pitches, workshops, networking sessions, conference (2018) and hackathons NSV creates a basis to raise awareness of all space related hardware and software applications. The growing media platform is complemented by blog posts, podcasts, job offers and more. NSV motivates aspiring entrepreneurs and skillful engineers to start their own space venture.


The STARTUP WORLD initiative by Messe München International and AZO provides a unique marketplace of innovation and a matchmaking platform to aspiring startup companies, industry and investors at leading international trade fairs. The go-ahead for the STARTUP WORLD was given at the LASER World of PHOTONICS, 22 - 25 June 2015, in Munich. Going far beyond the common exhibition stand, STARTUP WORLD was accompanied by the new PHOTONICS Technology Award and the 3D Printing Award. This future-oriented initiative enables committed people to position themselves as drivers of innovation.


Much more than a mere exhibition stand, this new initiative of Messe München GmbH and AZO offers an exceptional marketplace of innovation. At AUTOMATICA 2016 in Munich, STARTUP WORLD offered aspiring startups from 21 June to 24 June 2016 the possibility to position themselves as drivers of innovation at this leading international trade fair. With the STARTUP WORLD Market, its dedicated Award, and the STARTUP WORLD Stage, this matchmaking platform brings together thriving startup companies, investors and industry, to network, foster innovation exchange and initiate potential partnerships.


Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (BAND) is the federation of the Business Angel market in Germany and is engaged to strengthen the Business Angels Ecosystem. BAND organizes the exchange of experiences among the actors of the seed investment landscape and supports cooperation. BAND serves as the voice of the German Business Angels and their networks towards politics and the public. BAND stands for the model of the "two-winged" Business Angel, who supports young innovative companies with both capital and know-how. For Start-ups, BAND serves as the central contact point of the German angel market.


INI-Novation ist ein internationales Beratungsunternehmen mit Fokus auf Innovationsmanagement und Technologie-Vermarktung. Das Unternehmen bietet maßgeschneiderte Dienstleistungen für drei verschiedene Kundentypen: lokale Regierungen, Universitäten und F&E-Institute sowie private Unternehmen. Die Aktivitäten von INI-Novation werden auf internationaler Ebene durch ihre Tochtergesellschaften und Partner auf der ganzen Welt kontinuierlich ausgebaut. INI-Novation verfügt über ein breit gefächertes Netzwerk von Risikokapitalgebern, Technologie-, Markt-, Lizenz- und Unternehmerexperten. Diese Partner-Experten beteiligen sich aktiv an den Screening- und Nutzungsprozessen. So bietet INI-Novation seinen Kunden individuelle Beratung, um den individuellen Anforderungen gerecht zu werden.


Triangle is one of the few European venture capital firms with an exclusive focus on investments in research spin-offs. Since its inception in 1997, Triangle has advised three fund generations: FirstGen, which started investing in 1999, Fund IV, with vintage year 2006, and the Open Sky Technologies Fund in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), with vintage year 2010. The three fund generations have invested in 18 start-up companies with Triangle investing as lead investor in all portfolio companies and completing more than 100 transactions, including follow-on funding rounds and exits. Triangle is actively looking for new investment opportunities all over Europe, as we are a big believer in Europe being the innovation hot spot of the world.