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ISU Incubator

The start-up incubator at ISU’s Central Campus is the right place to launch your space business and benefit from a multidisciplinary expertise in research & development, business and finance. The location is a hub for you to meet with ISU faculty and visiting lecturers from academia, space agencies and industry from around the world. Virtually every day, you can have informal discussions with ISU students and, who knows, with your future technology partners, customers or employees!

An incubator has been initiated at the Central Campus of ISU to accommodate start-ups. The first start-ups have installed themselves but still a few offices are available. The creation was based upon a survey with ISU alumni. This study revealed that 80% of the recent alumni were in favor of such an ISU incubator. On the other hand, the study revealed that commercial incubators (also called TBIs, Technological Business Incubators) are requesting rather high equity shares (as an average some 6%) for limited services besides providing short-time accommodation and limited seed money (10-25K€).

It was therefore decided to create a local ecosystem in the first place to allow to provide an incubation service to alumni at the ISU campus.

The strong advantage of this localization are the resident staff but, at least equally important the many visiting lecturers. This provides not only an interesting source for advice, but also, in the case of Agency and industry related persons, a potential relationship with clients.

As a second step, with the strong support of the Eurometropolis, provisions were made for the accommodation and pre-incubation support, as well as support for seed funding, as will be further detailed hereafter. A number of aspects, for those interested, are recalled hereafter.

More details can be found in the incubator’s brochure, downloadable here in French and in English.

Seed Funding

In order to enable the startups in the first phase, agreements were made with two options:



The ISU incubator is recognized within the ESA-BIC system. For those interested in this option:

Local Funding


In cooperation with SEMIA, a start-up incubator in Alsace, a grant of 30,000€ can be obtained based upon the approval of a simplified slide-deck presentation to a committee. A template for such presentation is provided further on this page.

Useful Information

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy.

Its mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life.

Its program is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, and ESA Business Applications programme.

Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from space technology transfer, early stage incubation programs, feasibility studies to large-scale demonstration projects.

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The format of the business plan depends on the seed funding option chosen by the incubatee.

In case the funding via ESA-BIC is preferred, a detailed business plan has to comply with the ESA requirements. Further information on ESA-BIC can be found here.

In case the local funding option is chosen, it is recommended to prepare a short PowerPoint presentation. The standard format of this presentation is 10 slides. A template for such slide-deck can be found here.

Once the project is approved either via ESA-BIC or via the local option, the start-up is offered accommodation in a dedicated part of the ISU Building.
A number of offices are available, between 15 and 27m2. All the offices are equipped with basic furniture.

A rental agreement of 2 years is foreseen, at special favorable conditions for start-ups.

Additional facilities such as a shared meeting room and audiovisual equipment are ordered and will be installed.

During this 2 years-period, the start-up will be supported by the whole ecosystem (ISU, locals, government bodies like BPI) to make the project successful. The incubation period can leverage up to 200K€ from public grants.

In order to assist ISU alumni in the first steps, ISU offers a pre-incubation period (up to 3 months) to the candidates.

During that period advice will be given by experts on the preparation of the business plan (business model definition, clients typology, technical partnership …) as well as local contacts as appropriate, e.g. to test a Proof of Concept. During this period, an office could be allocated to get an easy access to the appropriate contacts.

The objective of the pre-incubation period is to prepare the candidate and mature the project to bring them to the requirements specified by the local public funding organizations.

In order to assist candidates in the formal company registration, ISU has performed a study leading to a recommendation of the most appropriate legal structure for a local start-up.

In addition, a template with questions, and detailed information on visa and working permits (if needed) can be found here.

In order to complete the ecosystem, after initial incubation there is the possibility to join the Rhinespace Booster. A direct link with the CNES and the French aerospace industry will be established in order to apply, test and assess the technology or service in an industrial environment.

“WaterShed Monitoring develops and markets innovative solutions that meet the needs at every stage of water quality monitoring, from the source to the tap. Opening an office within the new Incubator in the buildings of the International Space University in Strasbourg is part of our global business development strategy in order to add to our portfolio the use of satellite data to improve water quality monitoring and predictive modeling of events which affect water quality.”

How to Apply

For further information, feel free to contact the ISU Incubator

Call 0033 388 65 54 30 or Write