09 March 2016: Inmarsat and AP-Swiss have awarded a $50,000 grant to satellite communication technology startup, MapTasking, at the Seedstars Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The competition finale marked the culmination of the third edition of the Seedstars World challenge, which commenced in April 2015, to find the best startups from emerging tech hubs around the world. It also marks the first time Seedstars has partnered with Inmarsat and AP-Swiss, the joint initiative of the European Space Agency and the Swiss Space Office, to offer a dedicated ‘Space Prize’.
MapTasking is a platform application to send tasks to remote employees and track their progress. The company is based in Panama where there is a lot of dense jungle and little cell phone coverage. By working with Inmarsat and AP-Swiss they have discovered the possibilities that satellite connectivity can bring to the success of their business model.
“MapTasking is the revolution of field operations and we feel humbled at this opportunity. It will do wonders for our engineering team, to improve our product, be true to our mission and change the world a little bit in what we are doing,” said Vittorio Calcagno from MapTasking.
Joao Fernandes from MapTasking, added: “For us this prize will give us the chance to partner with Inmarsat to start growing vertically and get solutions to hard places, to people and places who usually don’t have this kind of communication. It is very, very exciting, not only for Panama but for all the countries in Latin America who have very similar problems.”
Seedstars received more than 3,000 worldwide applications from which 600 were invited to pitch their ideas at one of the 55 countries visited. Only 55 were invited to attend the Seedstars Summit, where they took part in a week-long Bootcamp with industry experts, investors and entrepreneurs.
“Our involvement in Seedstars World marks an important step by Inmarsat to reach out to the people and businesses that remain unconnected in emerging markets,” said Yasrine Ibnyahya, Inmarsat Senior Systems Engineer.
“We teamed up with Seedstars to inspire startups to start thinking about space applications and what can be done with satellite communications, a technology that they might not have considered before but one which they could use to expand their businesses.”
“When we talked to many of the businesses at the beginning of this journey they had no idea what satellite communication was really going to bring to them, and they were just curious to understand.
“But when we met with them a few months later at Bootcamp, some of them were already saying “we’ve contacted your distribution partners” and “right now we’re trialling a prototype with one of your customers”, and here is the satellite terminal we’re going to use for the trial”. That’s an amazing achievement and it shows the speed at which start-ups can innovate,” continued Yasrine.
Inmarsat and AP-Swiss will continue working closely with MapTasking to provide invaluable industry knowledge and technical expertise, and in turn help them evolve and grow their business.