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Safer, smarter flying

Is this a new era for aviation?

Environmental data intelligence startup Satavia needed financial help and mentorship to turn its unique business idea into a reality.

Satavia is an environmental data intelligence company that aims to enhance safety, performance and operating costs in aviation. It built a platform that combines data, models and advanced analytics to track aircraft exposure to atmospheric contamination (such as dust, sulphur and volcanic ash).

Founder and CEO Dr Adam Durant was able to gain access to working capital with help from the Barclays High Growth & Entrepreneurs team, while the Barclays Eagle Labs gave him the facilities he needed to grow his company.

Satavia has plans to make big changes to the world of aviation.

Read our Q&A with founder and CEO Adam below.

Why did you set up Satavia?

I spent many years as a professional scientist before becoming a full-time entrepreneur. I could see there were a lot of problems related to the environment that needed solving in the everyday world. The driving force was the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland that grounded European aviation for almost a week. I got involved with a spin-out company working with a major airline, which motivated me to form a software company to help solve these issues.

What kind of problems do you address?

Flight through environmental factors, like dust, air pollution, ice and volcanic ash damages aircraft components. Some of the maintenance-related costs for engine manufacturers can be incredibly large (hundreds of millions of pounds for an individual manufacturer) so we try to reduce them initially and ensure airlines can operate their flights reliably. Over time, we’ll be able to work with the airlines and make the flight operations process more efficient which means they’ll burn less fuel – this will have a positive impact on climate because there will be fewer emissions.

How has digital technology affected your business?

The aviation industry is going through its own digital revolution. Many processes are now being done digitally. We have technological advances in cloud-based services. We have advances in aircraft connectivity. All of these technologies and capabilities mean the time is ripe for big changes in the aviation industry. The data we now have at our fingertips could revolutionise the industry.

What challenges did you face as a new startup?

The biggest challenge was access to working capital. This affected how quickly we could expand our team and what space we could afford to rent. We were also lacking access to business mentors. It also took a lot of time to find an early-adopter lead customer who would be willing to work with us to demonstrate the value that could be created using our data.

How were you introduced to us?

We were struggling to get a foothold then a few things happened. We became part of Accelerate Cambridge and then were finalists at Pitch@Palace 6.0, an entrepreneurial initiative set up by The Duke of York. It was at this event we connected to the Barclays High Growth & Entrepreneurs team which then led to us to setting up our operations in the Barclays Eagle Labs in Cambridge (the Cambridge Incubator).

How did the Barclays High Growth & Entrepreneurs team help you to grow your business?

We joined the Barclays Eagle Labs, a co-working space and private offices with access to mentorship. This gave us the facilities we needed to expand our team and provided a scalable way of costing business growth. This took away the worries that come with setting up an office and enabled us to flourish. We had our own Relationship Manager which was valuable for helping us make decisions that affected company growth in the early days. Together we were able to discuss and resolve issues which really helped us to grow us in the right direction and helped us to gain access to working capital.

What are you planning next?

I’m excited for the immediate future. We’re a rapidly growing team. We’ve won over £1.5 million worth of grant funding and customer revenue in the current financial year and we’re looking at scaling internationally. Our vision is to be the world leader in environmental data intelligence on atmospheric contaminants. It’s going to be an exciting journey. We have a highly ambitious vision and with Barclays’ help, we’re able to pursue it.

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