First Indian startup wins Copernicus Masters Social Entrepreneurship Challenge

S Vishnu Sharmaa, INN/Chennai, @Svs037

There is some happy news on the home ground this time. Esteem of India rose to skies once again, thanks to Blue Sky Analytics. Delhi based startup has become the first Indian startup company to win ‘Copernicus Masters Social Entrepreneurship Challenge of the European Space Agency and bag ‘Space Oscars’ award.

Blue Sky Analytics is a startup into Geospatial Data Intelligence and is the winner of the competition for its innovation in using geospatial data for for improved environmental monitoring. The company received the award on 4th December this year during the European Space Week held at Helsinki, Finland.

The company was cofounded by Ms. Abhilasha Purwar, a Yale and IIT alumn and Mr. Kshitij Purwar, who dropped out of college at the age of 20 to become a full-time developer.

Blue Sky Analytics is one of the pioneering Indian startups analyzing large volumes of Copernicus data. Just within a year of Sentinel 5’s launch, Blue Sky’s team of four in November 2018 was sitting on the dining tables of their home office in Gurgaon crunching incoming datasets from Sentinel 5P for ambient air quality and farm fire monitoring.

Copernicus Masters is an international competition that awards prizes to innovative solutions based on Earth observation data. Big data produced by various Earth Observation (EO) satellites holds huge potential for the creation of innovative products and services.

Abhilasha Purwar said it is very exciting to be here. Just one year ago, we were trying to convince people on the possibilities of emerging data sets, and now here we are interacting with different actors in the value chain on future possibilities.

‘It is exciting to meet the upstream pioneers like Planet, Maxar, Airbus. However, for the downstream value proposition in geospatial data intelligence, I place my bet on Indian startups. We have some of the best tech and data talent pool and one of the best global ecosystems for entrepreneurship.’

Kshitij Purwar said they are very glad to be recognized for their efforts. ‘Look at where our (Indian) technological progress has reached today, the cheapest internet in the world, 30-minute food delivery services, rise in mobility with Uber/Ola. Bring satellites, AI, Indian engineers and we will lead in Climate Solutions.’

European Space Week is the leading event for the European space programs in 2019. It brings together business, policy-makers, international experts and the space application user community. The event presents insights into the European Union’s Space Programmes Copernicus, EGNOS and Galileo and updates on the New Space Economy. The key topics of 2019 Space Week were discussions on how space solutions can contribute to a sustainable future and lead in climate action.

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