SKUDO – the Estonian Space Startup That Offers Cybersecurity Solutions

The company is currently negotiating a contract which will take its technology in space on an orbiting satellite

SKUDO, an Estonian startup offering deep-tech cybersecurity and hardware based encryption for high level niche markets such as the space industry, is one of European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) Estonia success stories.

In an interview with Space Business Today, the company’s founder Stefano Alberico talked about SKUDO’s beginning and its development under the ESA BIC Estonia’s programs.

SKUDO’s story began in January 2020, when the startup entered the selection process of the ESA incubator, and subsequently was selected to participate and to work on its space applications.

“We designed an encryption solution entirely contained within a single FPGA chip which allows to protect any data communication (e.g. satellite, drones, IoT, etc). Having a working technology, we needed access to the market and contacts with customers.” Alberico tells Space Business Today.

Source: SKUDO

“The contract with ESA helped providing an important customer validation while the ESA BIC helps providing a stimulating supporting eco-system, funding, networking and all around support.”

According to Alberico, Estonia has been also pushing hard to become leading in the cybersecurity sector and space is also one of the possible application where the country wants to play an important leading role.

“SKUDO is negotiating for a new large contract where in partnership with CGI-Estonia we are going to bring and test our technology in space on an orbiting satellite, where we will provide an end-to-end encrypted data link (ground-satellite) based on our own FPGA chip technology.” Alberico told SBT.

Since Estonia is a full member of the ESA since 2015, this also allows Estonian startups to compete in many public tenders and national space projects. Additionally, companies can also take part in large international projects and help foster a strong local space economy, Alberico said.

However, when it comes to investing in space technology, the human capital is a very much important aspect as well, especially with small countries such as Estonia, which have a limited budget, Alberico tells SBT.

“It’s all about human capital, especially when the budgets are limited compared to other regions in the EU. People need to be very smart, creative and strong minded if they want to become innovative and competitive in this segment.”

At the moment, there are around 20 space-tech startups in the ESA BIC Estonia, and many of them are already showing early-stage growth.

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