In our SAT Chat series, we catch up for a Q&A with one of our corporate leaders. In this installment, E-Space Director of Strategy and Product William Ricard talks about the three focal areas guiding the company’s go-to-market strategy.
Based out of the E-Space office in Toulouse, France, E-Space Director of Strategy and Product William Ricard and his team are preparing for the company’s global satellite constellation to be ready for commercial service. Here’s what he had to say about the ongoing effort to position E-Space in the marketplace:
Q: How do you think about your team’s approach to E-Space’s market opportunities?
Really it comes down to three main focal areas. The first is related to markets and strategy, the second is about business development and programmes that offer grants & incentives and the third is everything related to the investor community.
Q: How do you approach markets and strategy?
Much of it has to do with the verticals we plan to tackle. We’re looking to understand where connectivity matters and where, today, connectivity is an inhibitor for vertical market growth due to gaps in coverage. We ask: What are the areas that have a lot of value associated with connectivity? This research allows us to identify key verticals where we want to be active and where it would be interesting to offer our products and services. We think of the demand by looking at the matrix of where connectivity brings value and market appeal.
The other part of the equation with our market strategy is related to competition. Even if what we’re doing here at E-Space is groundbreaking and we’re making some of our competition almost irrelevant in some areas, we still need to choose our markets carefully to deliver the best return, taking into consideration incumbent and incoming competition.
The aim is to pull all of this data together, inclusive of supply and demand insights, to better frame which areas are the most interesting to enter and translate that information into requirements for the products themselves.
Q: What about the second focal area, business development?
Business development aims at presenting E-Space's unique offering to customers to get marks of interest in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and/or pre-development contracts from the vertical industry leaders E-Space has targeted.
Our approach is to start working with the customer to ensure that our system responds to their needs and that we’re dimensioning our system in line with customer requirements and use case expectations. Further, we prefer to collaborate in terms of value proposition, business model and go-to-market. It’s not enough to say that “our technology is amazing”; we also need to identify how we will deliver and create value together.
Q: What’s a good example of a vertical well suited for E-Space?
Automotive is of high interest to E-Space. This is because OEMs understand the value that connectivity can bring to unlocking new streams of revenue. For example, there is growing interest for autonomous vehicles, and having a satellite-based “always on” connection is critical in an autonomous architecture.
Q: Automotive is such a huge industry; where do you start?
With telematics systems directly. This includes the units in most modern vehicles that send and receive signals to control and monitor a vehicle’s different systems. There are only a few large telematics systems manufacturers, so our approach is to cooperate with them on portions of their telematic control units. The logic is to find a way to give them enough value to be part of their system and then craft commercialization strategies to create benefits for both players. Another consideration for any of our customers is pricing, and how we create those structures based on value. In addition to the use cases, there are other things — such as what would be the actual data rate, the quality of service, latency requirements, patterns of use — all of those things factor into our understanding of how to build and price the right system and dimension they need.
Q: You mentioned another aspect of this area related to grants and incentives. Can you speak to that?
Business development is very different from the incentives that some global governments use to encourage innovation. Grants and incentives provides an opportunity to work with governments and national space agencies to co-fund critical technology development. By gathering public support on the development of key technologies, we can de-risk highly innovative projects that have the potential to re-invent the future of telecommunications. It also allows us to build strong internal expertise in cutting-edge domains while building partnerships with the local ecosystem of technology providers. That in turn supports national employment and contribution to the GDP. This is notably what we are working on in France with CNES and the French government through programmes such as the France2030 plan, supporting the development of our two centers of excellence: payload and communication plus and manufacturing.
Q: And the third area, investors — how do you address their needs?
The space race is a topic that has gained a lot of traction among investors over the past decade. They hunger for more than just innovative ideas; they want a tangible path to revenue generation. For us, we have created a long-range strategy that feeds our vision, mission and purpose and excites the investor community. We're not here to just exist in the market; we're here to stand out among the competition and shake-up traditional thinking as it relates to satellite communications and IoT.
Our unique value propositions are intertwined with how we approach the market and our commitment to capturing value and seizing market opportunities. Investors, understandably, question what sets us apart in the space industry. The answer lies in our technology, our products, our services, our people and our strategic positioning.
Building our strategy has been complex; now we must effectively communicate our story and how our focal areas work together — even if they don’t always seem related. Ultimately, it’s the story of a company creating highly innovative, groundbreaking technology and deploying novel business models to revolutionize satellite-based communications that deliver on value creation and revenue generation. That’s what investors want to know, and it’s up to us to paint that vivid, compelling picture.
E-Space is a global space company focused on bridging Earth and space with the most sustainable low earth orbit (LEO) network that is expected to reach over one hundred thousand multi-application communication satellites to help businesses and governments securely and affordably access the power of space to solve problems on Earth.