From PULQUI XXI to Adventure Interstellar: the adventure of the second-place team at #T-TeC 2021

22 November 2022

Selected by an incubator and ready to open a real company. Tomas Boschetto and the team that, with PULQUI XXI, placed second in the 2021 edition of #T-TeC summarize their adventure this way.

It has been one year since your participation in #T-TeC. What have you learned?

This past year has taught us a lot about what it means to bring forward the changes we want to see in space and the world. The #T-TeC contest was a very inspiring, huge leap ahead in it. We had put together our group and started our project in previous open innovation contests but being selected by space industry experts and having been associated with the immense history and values that Telespazio and Leonardo represent convinced us that we had something interesting in our hands.

And after #T-TeC? I know there is some important news...

Chastised by #T-TeC experience and having reviewed the conceptual foundations of the mission we proposed, we thought of ways in which we could materialize our dream of revolutionizing access to space. Establishing a commercial venture for this was a road that seemed as obvious as tremendously challenging. Our team had no experience in business administration, legal frameworks, strategy, and the overreaching fields that play a role in constituting a successful company. The European Space Resource Innovation Centre incubation framework provided just those tools. It allowed us to build a business case and acquire the personal network necessary to succeed as a young company. Fundamentally, we learned about long terms competencies at innovating, on one hand; and profiting from innovation, on the other. We learned that without these, our dream would hardly materialize.

Is your team still together?

Even though some names changed, the bonds that bind us became stronger and the hard experiences we have been through strengthened our profiles and characters. Intense learning, failing, starting over, and praying for the day to have more than 24 hours were all part of the journey. I believe that surmounting those as a group is an experience we will hardly ever forget. I value the team’s commitment and hard work, especially because we all have parallel obligations and, in the end, this is all but a huge, risky, and above all tremendously exciting bet on our capability to succeed.

Why did you and your team decide to participate in this contest? Did you expect to be among the most appreciated projects?

We remained humble about our possibilities, and were thoughtful of our limitations, but we still decided to be evaluated in the same line as the hugely talented and motivated individuals who took part in the contest. If we succeeded, we would find ways of developing our dream into a tangible project; and importantly, if we failed, it would still constitute valuable teaching.

We never doubted giving in the commitment that has characterized us, and I think this was fundamental in achieving the final stage.

Your project, PULQUI XXI, was literally aiming for the moon. How far have you come?

Importantly, we now call ourselves Adventus Interstellar. We chose this name because it represents our objective of reaching new horizons. Moreover, we no longer see ourselves as a team concerned with a single mission, but as an agent with broader implications for space exploration.

We aim to constitute a company in the short term. We are having talks with investors to develop more prototypes that are functional. We have met and characterized customers according to their specific needs. We now also see important terrestrial verticals for our business. 

The contest put you in direct contact with a company like Telespazio, has the collaboration continued afterwards?

In our case, collaboration with Telespazio continued sporadically afterward. We consider three possibly complementary explanations for this. First, the contest did not include a formal, explicit structure to collaborate after the selection process and awards. Second, our project, or the way we conceived it, was perhaps not closely aligned with what we see as the company’s core business, in terrestrial imagery and the use of LEO. Third, we understand that what we envision entails a huge amount of risk and would require resources and attention that are usually scarce within a corporate structure such as Telespazio’s. I consider that the new framework will address all these points. We are however very recognizing of the possibilities conferred to us, we value the opportunity to stay in touch and participate in activities such as #T-Talk.

This year for the first time #T-TeC will promote an acceleration program for the winning project.

That #T-TeC now includes an acceleration program is, in my opinion, a very wise choice for Telespazio. It will help the company better exploit ideas present in the ecosystem, and facilitate the process of integrating innovations with its main business. I also consider that open innovation is fundamental in catalyzing space exploration through collaboration and intertwining of the different stakeholders in space. Therefore, I applaud the initiative and humbly invite other similar actors to follow suit.

Do you have any advice for those who will apply for #T-TeC?

I would like to say I admire your bravery to give a step toward the fulfillment of your dreams. From my humble experience, I recommend that you remain attentive to the enriching connections you might establish, not only with Telespazio but also fundamentally with the other participating teams. Those are all human and professional groups of the highest quality.  As I see it, the journey from now on will involve skills that are fundamental in all spheres of life: be prepared to challenge what you believe, be flexible about what might lie along the way, and try to achieve the right balance between following structures and acting boldly.  Lastly, trust your team if you want to go far in this incredible learning process.

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