IAF Startup Pitch Session

Tuesday 2 October 2018, 14:45 – 16:15

Location: Bremen Conference Center – DLR Hall


The IAF Startup Pitch Session is an event where startups will be able to present their companies in front of an audience and get feedback from a panel of world renowned judges.

The 10 startups with the most compelling applications will be short-listed and notified on September 10th. On October 2nd, Each start-up will have 5 minutes to pitch their idea or business and 2 minutes to answer questions from the judges. The winning startup of this Pitch Session, will get access to exclusive coaching sessions from Airbus Bizlab and from Boeing Horizon X, and will receive an IAF Certificate and goodies bag. Lockheed Martin will award the winning startup with up to three free registration to the IAC2019.

In addition, OHB will be awarding the two startups with the most amount of public votes, with the following:

  • 2nd Prize: diploma and bag of goodies
  • 1st Prize: diploma, bag of goodies, consultancy session with OHB Venture Capital (with 300€ to partially cover any travel costs), and a second pitch opportunity at the OHB Fostering Innovation Session in the OHB Booth on Wednesday at the IAC.

The IAF will also provide the two startups with the most amount of public votes with IAF goodies bags.

The 10 Startups that have been selected to participate in the IAF Startup Pitch Session are:

  • Space Products and Innovation (SPiN)
  • Sensovo GmbH
  • Dawn Aerospace
  • AlphaLink
  • Insitek
  • Precious Payload Inc.
  • Manastu Space Technologies Pvt Ltd
  • Virtual Space Systems
  • Valispace
Organized by:
IAF Industry Relations Committee (IRC)

Masters of Ceremony

Victoria Alonsopérez









Kyle Acierno

Managing Director,

ispace Europe,








Bruno Correia Da Costa

Accelerator Director,



Full Bio

Bruno Correia Da Costa currently manages the startup acceleration activities in Europe of Starburst. He is responsible for scouting, qualifying and developing world-class startups that bring innovative solutions to the current challenges in the Aviation, Aerospace and Defence industries.

Prior to Starburst, Bruno was the Aerospace Engineer responsible for Ariane6 mission and performance analyses, the European next-generation rocket launcher developed by Ariane Group. There, Bruno developed a strong expertise in large-scale industrial programs and experienced first-hand the importance of key enabling technologies to solve high-stakes challenges. Passionate about challenging the state-of-the-art, Bruno enjoys contributing to a large array of innovation-related ventures and actively supports open innovation events in the Paris area such as start-up weekends and hackathons.

Bruno received his Master of Sciences in Engineering from the Ecole Centrale in Paris France, with a Major in Aerospace and Project Management. Before graduation, he developed and tested innovative techniques for turbojet engine design at Cambridge University and in a London-based start-up.


Jonathan Hung


Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA),

Republic of Singapore

Full Bio

Mr. Hung is President of the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA), Singapore’s lead, industry association focused on developing the space technology industry.

His international work experience includes senior management roles with the Contraves Group, a Rheinmetall Defense & Boustead JV, CAE Inc and Flex, where he’s credited for establishing and leading their successful Advanced Incubation Centre in Singapore. Prior to CAE, he managed Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Singapore Technologies Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) and ST (Satellite Systems).

Earlier in his career, Mr. Hung was the Centre Director for Middle East & North Africa Operations at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). There, he handled portfolios in aerospace, marine/offshore and super yacht sectors. In particular, he led the development of the space incubator unit that is presently EDB’s space office.

Mr. Hung currently serves on the Board of the Air Transport Training College, Synspective Pte. Ltd., Space Generation Advisory Council, International Lunar Observatory Association, and is an ExCom Member of the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum.

He also serves as:

  • Vice-President of the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers (SIAE)
  • Co-Chair of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Aerospace Technology & Engineering Conference
  • Advisor to Transcelestial Technologies Pte. Ltd.
  • Strategic Advisor (Singapore) to UK-based Seraphim Capital
  • Impact Partner to Hong-Kong based Fresco Capital
  • Industry Mentor for FocusTech Ventures
  • Member, Singapore Tourism Board’s Conference Ambassador Programme
  • Member, International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Commercial Spaceflight Safety Committee
  • Member, Ngee Ann Polytechnic Aerospace Technology Advisory Committee

Jonathan graduated Magna Cum Laude from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, double majoring in Aerospace Science and Aviation Business Administration.


Michael Lohnert

Investing Director,

Boeing HorizonX,

United States


Full Bio

Michael Lohnert as Investing Director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures identifies and invests in startups from around the world that are developing revolutionary concepts and business models.  Lohnert is current board member or board observer with C360 Technologies, Gamma Alloys, Cuberg, Myriota, and Aylstor, a peta-scale computational storage company among others in the HorizonX Ventures’ portfolio.

Prior to his current role, Lohnert was a senior strategist for the Boeing Company responsible for emerging business opportunities, corporate strategy, and mergers & acquisitions and partnerships.  He was also program manager and instructor for Boeing’s enterprise strategy training course.  Outside of Boeing, Lohnert is on the board of directors of Pasadena Angels, ranked by Forbes as a top ten angel investor group, a cleantech startup, and director emeritus for a financial services firm.

Prior to Boeing, Lohnert was director of energy investments for a private equity group where he invested in the alternative energy, natural gas, and electrical generation sectors, as well as led turnarounds of portfolio investments.  He was also involved in the acquisition of several operating companies that bolstered the group’s ability to maximize the returns of its portfolio.  Lohnert has held strategy and M&A responsibilities for a specialty chemicals division of a major oil company and while living in Zürich, a global financial services company.  He has also worked on a foreign currency trading desk and the treasury group for a Fortune 500 utility.

Lohnert received his MBA from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University where he concentrated in Investment Management and Strategy.  His bachelor degree is also from Ohio State with dual majors in Finance and a Real Estate Finance.  Lohnert also has also completed programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the Swiss Banking Institute at the University of Zürich, and University of California Haas School at Berkeley.


Gary Martin

Senior Advisor,

Luxembourg Ministry of Economy and Luxembourg Space Agency,



Full Bio

Gary Martin is Senior Advisor to the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy and Luxembourg Space Agency on space education and research.  He retired from NASA in 2017.

At NASA, he worked for 32 years at multiple NASA Centers across the Agency (LaRC, NASA HQ, GSFC and ARC) supporting science missions, advanced technology development, and human spaceflight.  In 2002, he became NASA’s first Space Architect, leading strategic planning at the Agency, and provided the analysis used to develop the Vision for Space Exploration announced by the President Bush in 2004.  For this work he was awarded NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal.

Mr. Martin was seconded by NASA to the International Space University in Strasbourg, France as the Director of the Space Studies Program for SSP06, SSP07, SSP12, and SSP13.

Mr. Martin holds a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering/Astronautical Engineering from George Washington University, dual Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University and Bachelors in Anthropology from Colorado State University.




Rolf Janovsky

Director of Predevelopment,





Full Bio

Rolf Janovsky


Born 1962 in Hürth/Germany, married, one daughter

1982-1988 study of mechanical engineering with specialization on aerospace systems at the University RWTH Aachen

1988-1994 research assistant at the institute for aeronautics and astronautics at the University RWTH Aachen

1994 PhD at the institute for aeronautics and astronautics at the University RWTH Aachen on “Analysis and assessment of horizontal take-off space transportation systems”

Since 1994 – employee of OHB System in different positions. Presently responsible for the directorate “Pre-development, space systems and proposals“ with five departments at two sites with focus on the system definition phases of all kinds of space systems

Since 2013 consultant of European space agency ESA for their technology harmonization programme

Since 2013 consultant of German space management DLR for research in space environment

Since 2016 presidium member of the German aerospace association DGLR


Ahsan Choudhuri

Director, NASA MIRO Center for Space Exploration & Tech Research, 

University of Texas at El Paso,

United States


Full Bio

Dr. Ahsan Choudhuri is Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He is the founding Director of the UTEP NASA MIRO Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR) and holds the endowed Mr. and Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Chair II in Engineering.

Dr. Choudhuri is currently overseeing the development of UTEP Applied Research Institutes (ARI) and leads the university’s academic, research and economic development expansions in the eastern region of El Paso. The strategic focus of the ARI is to catalyze a regional talent and technology development ecosystem by providing strategic capabilities in Aerospace and Defense Technologies and Advanced Manufacturing.

As a Department  Chair from 2010 to 2018, Dr. Choudhuri led the transformation of the Mechanical Engineering Department to a nationally preeminent education and research program. Under his leadership, the enrollment in mechanical engineering graduate and undergraduate programs grew from 482 to 1426 students. During this time the department also became of the top producer of extramural research funding within the university, Dr. Choudhuri led the development of mechanical engineering doctoral program. Under the direction of Dr. Choudhuri, cSETR performs frontier research in aerospace and energy engineering while developing regional talents. cSETR supports an average of 100 students.

In his leadership role, he also formed strategic collaborations and partnerships with NASA, DOE, DOD, aerospace and defense industries, and other universities. This is reflected in the more than $30 million in external grants, contracts, and capital funding generated by his effort. Dr. Choudhuri has mentored 7 Research Assistant Professors, been the research supervisor of 20 PhD and 73 MS graduates, and co-authored more than 150 technical publications. Many of these students have been recruited to the job market obtaining positions within academia, federal agencies, and aerospace and defense industries.

Dr. Choudhuri’s academic career has evolved within the paradigm of UTEP’s access and excellence mission. He is a part of UTEP’s strategic vision to create abundant educational opportunities to ensure social mobility for the residents of Paso Del Norte region. Dr. Choudhuri has received numerous awards and recognitions including recognition for Faculty Award for Research Innovation from NASA and an Outstanding Leadership Award from UTEP. Dr. Choudhuri received a B.S. in Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering and Technology Department of Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.


Thomas Snitch

Director of Federal and Government Programs, 

Bowling Green State University,

United States

Full Bio

Dr. Thomas Snitch is Director of Federal and Government Relations as well as counsellor to the President of Bowling Green State University. During his 43 years in Washington, DC, he has served at NASA, the US Department of State, the White House and the National Academy of Science. In addition, Dr. Snitch spent 10 years as the Senior Advisor to the CEO of Geoeye.

His research work at Bowling Green focuses on using high resolution satellite imagery, UAVs, and mathematical modeling to address transnational criminal activity including rhino and elephant poaching in Africa, illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean, and global human trafficking.

Dr. Snitch holds a BA in Chinese, an MA and PhD in International Economics, an MA in Japanese and did his postdoctoral work in nuclear and reactor physics. He is a member of the IAA, AIAA, the British Royal Astronautical Society and the Chinese Society of Astronautics.


Antje Bulmann

Manager and Coach, 

Airbus BizLab – Aerospace Accelerator,


Full Bio

Antje is a Startup Coach specialised in Business Development in the Airbus BizLab campus in Hamburg, where she also leads the design of the Acceleration Program.  She understands her role as ambassador for entrepreneurial mindset and innovative thinking.

Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace accelerator, where Startups and Airbus intrapreneurs speed up the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable businesses. Prior to her current position Antje led the Change Management for an Airbus merger and worked in Marketing and Business Development in the Airbus Customer Service area. Before entering Airbus she worked in Investor Relations in the WestLB in Düsseldorf. Antje founded a FinTech Startup on her own and led it successful until the exit. Antje holds a Diploma in International Management; she has studied and worked in UK, France, Germany and Argentina. Antje lives with her family in Hamburg Sankt Pauli.


Chris Moran

Vice President, Corporate Development & Executive Director and General Manager,

Lockheed Martin Ventures,

United States

Full Bio

John Christopher “Chris” Moran is the Executive Director and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures; the venture capital investment arm of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading the Corporation’s investments in small technology companies which support Lockheed Martin’s strategic business objectives.
Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Mr. Moran served in a variety of increasingly responsible positions at Applied Materials, Inc., Santa Clara, CA. He served most recently as the head of the Business Systems and Analytics group in the Applied Global Services Organization. Mr. Moran was with Applied for over 32 years. Prior to his most recent role, Mr. Moran was head of Corporate Strategy and General Manager of Applied Ventures LLC; the strategic investing arm of Applied Materials.
Mr. Moran is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he obtained both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering.


Grégory Pradels


Newspace Factory,


Full Bio

After 10 years working as project manager for various space missions, Grégory has focused his interest on space economy and developed specific assets on innovation management and business analysis. First position as PhD in physics at the French Aerospace Laboratory (ONERA), Grégory worked on the MICROSCOPE space mission to assess disruptive on orbit calibration methods for the embedded payload. The thesis has been awarded by an international price, delivered by the IAF. Second position at the French Space Agency (CNES), to develop ground segments and satellite units for various scientific space missions. During these years, Grégory developed very good knowledge of space engineering, collaborating with various experts from all over Europe and major countries involved in space activities. He has delivered numerous papers and conferences in international congresses. After a MBA devoted to innovation management, Grégory took a new position at Aerospace Valley cluster to support the development of small satellites market. In 2017 he creates a group called Newspace Factory to launch a new dynamic within the French space ecosystem. The members are small companies, very agile due to their size and very experienced thanks to the strong heritage of the French R&D in space technology.