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Cerberus Game - The Netherlands

Cerberus takes satellite images or aerial photography to players who are then asked what it is they can see in the image. These could be sediments on Mars or damaged roads after an earthquake... Research has shown that when enough players make an assumption about a spot in the satellite image it is actually to correct definition. The ‘crowd-sourcing’ results are achieved via an online portal similar to Google Earth and maps can be generated quickly and effectively by players from the age of ten upwards. The game is not just a map-making tool; it is fun and informative, and enables players to directly impact the outcome of a variety of activities...from space exploration to management of natural disasters around the globe.

The challenges

Cerberus, like most companies, started with a plan that unfortunately made no allowances for setbacks. The programming of the actual game was outsourced and went through four rounds of negotiations with various companies, none of which worked out. It was eventually outsourced to a company in Egypt. In 2011, at a conference in the US, however, the director of Streaming Creativity, a games studio, showed interest in the project and it seemed that both sides found the other a good fit professionally and creatively. Early stage finances were a concern as well.

The incubator advantage

Cerberus was Hans van‘t Woud’s master’s degree research at the University of Amsterdam. It was a chance meeting with someone from the University of Leiden that resulted in an introduction to Niels Eldering from ESA’s technology transfer office. This meeting provided the inspiration to apply for and scout for other business opportunities that went beyond the mapping of Mars. Besides the product development angle and legal cost benefits, there were other practical benefits as ESA has enabled access to knowledge that has increased scientific performance of the game in relation to space domain. Hans also feels, there exists within the ESA framework, enormous network?ng potent?al that might be beneficial at a later, post-incubator stage. The ESA business incubator offers “great and affordable office facilities”, interesting events involving space-related companies and so much more. He feels there is a distinct plus in being with other start-ups, and sharing similar aspirations and obstacles.

And more...

According to Hans van‘t Woud going into an incubator puts you into the ‘entrepreneur mindset’ and puts you in touch with a network that can be beneficial to the business. ESA has provided him valuable access to media contacts, for example. This does not mean complete dependency on the incubator, however, and for the most part it is business as usual for most incubatees, he feels.

Where to find us


BlackShore - creative
Diamantlaan 132
2332 GR Leiden
The Netherlands


ESA BIC Noordwijk
European Space Innovation Centre ESIC
Kapteynstraat 1
2201 BB Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Published on 06-06-2012 11:59 by David Tee. 1521 page views

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