Making environmental observations accessible: Obscape’s story
Obscape is a company that develops, produces, and sells environmental observation equipment, that can measure waves at sea, wind, and other weather-related parameters. All the equipment the company develops is real time equipment, so it sends the data in real time to the data portal where customers can access it.
To get more insight into what Obscape is all about, we interviewed one of the co-founders, Max Radermacher.
Where did the idea to start Obscape come from?
Obscape started when I met my business partner, Zane Thackeray. When we met, he started chatting about all kinds of equipment that he thought he could develop at a lower cost than what was already available, and he was looking for someone with software skills to complement his own hardware and electronics skills and have expertise on hydrodynamic processes. The bonus was that I already had access to the Dutch market.
The first thing we started developing was our wave measurement buoy. That was essentially our first product. We started developing in 2015 and already within one year we had a commercial product that we saw worked well on the market, so quite quickly we had the first clients. At the same time, because we went to the market so quickly, the product still needed to be improved. While our launching customers understood that our product only just came out of the prototype-stage, they were happy to use it already.
So Max, what discerns you from other parties in the market today?
What discerns us from other parties in our market currently is that we make our equipment compatible with each other creating an ecosystem of products. We have a very strong background in the water markets, so that’s what we are mainly focusing on. Among our target groups are offshore construction and dredging companies needing to monitor waves around their project sites. We also do work for governmental bodies such as Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands who monitor their surface waters. We make our equipment incredibly easy to install and to control so that it’s easy to use. We enable users to start collecting real time environmental observations without the need for highly specialized personnel to operate the equipment and without the need to hire a third-party survey service to install and operate the equipment. With that combination, these views and affordability, we try to make environmental observations more accessible to anyone who needs them. Because we do notice that the rather high purchasing price of existing equipment and the complexity of that equipment limits many parties who would want to collect environmental observations from doing that.
How do your products relate to aerospace?
I knew about the Aerospace Innovation Hub because of another company that used to be here. This was Bonanza.aero who were recently acquired. I told Dennis, one of Bonanza’s founders that we were looking for office space and he said that there was office space left in the Hub for relevant new community members and that it would be nice to become neighbors. And then I realized that there are lots of cross links between Obscape and all the aerospace related companies that are here at the Hub. Just thinking about software development, electronics development, and the fact that we use satellite communication on quite a few of our products, etc.
Do you feel like you’re benefiting from the AIH community?
Absolutely yes. We’re on the same floor here as Pats drones. They develop electronics themselves and also have a software platform that their data are being sent to. You know, there are so many crosslinks there which is great!
We are on the same floor as Dimple as well and they do a lot of wind tunnel testing of airplane hulls. We are currently developing a wind measuring sensor which we could test in in a TU Delft wind tunnel with their help. They basically granted us some wind tunnel testing time during their own experiments, so those kinds of combinations are very useful.
Where do you think Obscape will be in 20 years’ time?
In 20 years we aim to be a mature equipment manufacturing company that keeps pushing the limits of product pricing and user experience. Hopefully this will allow all data-deprived areas of the world to finally start collecting environmental data and improve their climate resilience. Growing our team in the Netherlands is also part of our ambition for the coming years.
Closing words from the team at the Aerospace Innovation Hub
One of the AIH’s focus areas is finding crosslinks between technology that originates in the aerospace industry but finds applications in other industries or vice versa. Obscape is the perfect example of this. As Max states, there are many overlaps with their technology in the aerospace industry. They use the network of startups and companies we have to their advantage to push their business to the next level. We encourage this and hope to see them grow in the future!
If you are interested to learn more about what Obscape does, check out their website: Obscape.com