In the U.S., the links between private sector technology and the defense industry are long and well-known. And in the realm of startups, DARPA, has long fostered new technologies such as those around drones.
But despite the world-class defense sector in the U.K., historically speaking, it has not reached out quite so overtly to startups. That is beginning to change with the announcement today of a brand new link between the pioneering U.K. space accelerator Seraphim Space Camp and the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory. Dstl will now become the newest corporate partner to support the programme in 2019, joining Rolls Royce, Inmarsat, Airbus and the European Space Agency, among others.
In summer last year, Seraphim unveiled its first six startups.
Through its sponsorship, Dstl will be able to engage with Seraphim’s pipeline of emerging technologies to address upcoming defense and security challenges, as well as develop proof-of-concepts and pilots to work out whether these technologies could have real applications within the agency.
Michael O’Callaghan, Space Programme Manager at Dstl, told us this was a new move for the agency working in this way with a private sector tech accelerator: “From advanced space technologies, through to state-of-the-art earth observation startups, Seraphim Space Camp’s deal-flow of companies has huge applications within the defense and security sector.”
Dstl is an Executive Agency of the MOD, run along commercial lines, and is one of the principal government organizations dedicated to space and tech in the defense and security field, with six sites, including the famous Porton Down, near Salisbury.
Rob Desborough, Seraphim Capital investment director and director of Seraphim Space Camp, commented: “Bringing on the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is a big deal for us. Not only are our visions very much aligned but I believe the startups on our programme will really benefit from having such a big player in the U.K.’s defence and Space Sector so closely involved; and will be a great addition to the high pedigree of corporate partners we’ve been lucky enough to have on board so far.”