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Nigerian start-up among 12 selected for development by Airbus BizLab

An Aerial Industries crop spraying UAV.Start-up accelerator Airbus BizLab is hosting twelve new start-ups from around the world – including Nigeria – over a six-month period at its facilities in Hamburg and Toulouse, during which they will perfect their concepts for new aerospace industry ventures.

Nigeria’s Aerial Industries is based at the Airbus BizLab campus in Hamburg. It has developed a concept using high-performance drones for crop-spraying on farms in developing countries. “Our technology is faster, cheaper and more precise than tractors. Moreover, because it uses less chemicals it is more environmentally friendly and safer for farm workers to use compared with traditional methods”, says CEO Ndubisi Arinze Eze.

“Being taken under the Airbus BizLab’s wing is a great opportunity for us. It has access to Airbus’ incredible expertise in drone technology and a worldwide presence that will help to position us for our future markets and partners.”

The accelerator takes a hybrid approach, bringing together external startups and so-called intrapreneurs based at Airbus, who will work together to ensure that their innovations are market ready. Being accepted into the programme, these new startups join an illustrious group of 56 start-ups and projects that have already graduated, Airbus said on 6 December.

“We were really amazed at the sheer quantity of applications,” explained Head Of Airbus BizLab Bruno Gutierres. “This year we received applications from around the world, and were in touch with over 2,000 interested contacts.” The selected firms hail from nine different nations – from Vietnam to Nigeria – and cover a broad range of topics, from big data to drones and robotics. The diversity of this season’s cohort was no accident: “This time around we specifically sought out startups that aren’t directly involved in the aerospace industry, yet who are developing ideas that hold great potential for our industry,” noted Gutierres.

Along with start-ups from the aerospace industry, for the very first time candidates with a humanitarian approach, such as Aerial Industries, could also apply as part of the “Humanitarian Challenge”. Andrea Debbane, Executive Director Airbus Foundation, explained that, “We’re constantly amazed by some of the innovative solutions that people across the Red Cross and Red Crescent network are developing in response to the challenges they face in their own communities”.

The BizLab is an integral part of the Airbus innovation strategy. As such, it serves as a petri dish for new ideas in the aerospace industry. In the programme, start-ups first complete a six-month acceleration phase, focusing on skills like business modelling, technical feasibility and team competence. The first phase concludes with a “Demo Day”, where company founders are given an opportunity to present their start-ups to Airbus management, investors and industry partners. This way, young companies can be fully integrated into a global company right from the start.

Start-ups at the Hamburg campus:
Aerial Industries (Nigeria) works with high-performance drones for crop spraying in developing countries.
AlulA (Miami, USA) enables the real-time in-flight transmission of flight and maintenance data to a ground-based crowdsourced network of antennas.
Artisense (Palo Alto, USA): Intelligent sensors for live mapping and computer vision. The data collected feeds a new 3D map and enables autonomous navigation.
Holo|One (Switzerland): uses an Augmented Reality platform that allows companies to map their data and processes them in AR. This includes a video-sharing mode so experts and employees can cooperate live while doing their tasks.
Neuron SW (Czech Republic): With the help of audio sensors, defects in machines are predicted. This reduces maintenance times and cost while preventing equipment failures.
SkyBuys (Australia) is an online-to-offline Mobile Commerce app and platform that enhances the duty-free shopping experience for passengers, airlines, concessionaires and brands.

Start-ups at the Toulouse campus:
bizpay (UK) enables consumers to buy airline tickets with instalment payments. bizpay's software helps airlines increase profitability and market share.
BroadBit Batteries (Finland): a novel low-cost sodium battery with better performance, scalability, safety & environmental friendliness compared to Lithium-ion solutions.
Iridium Dynamics (Australia) has developed the 'Halo' Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned airborne system (UAS): a platform adding extended hover capability to fixed-wing missions.
SAFETYN (France) develops life preservation systems and intelligent assistance solutions for pilots. It is relies on Human Factors, Common Sense and Technology.
VRnam (Vietnam): A real-time virtual reality (VR) application in which trainees can learn/drill flows and perfect their procedures in an immersive 3D cockpit.
Zéphyr Solar (France) develops solar balloons to quickly deliver energy and services to isolated sites and promote NGO emergency response.

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