Scotland is Innovation

Peter Platzer

Peter Platzer is the co-founder and CEO of Spire, a nanosatellite and data analysis start-up company based out of San Francisco.

In simple terms, what this means is that they specialise in gathering data from  small satellites which they have launched into space in a low-earth orbit. Founded in 2012, the company has already taken the world by storm and, as part of its global expansion, recently committed to opening a new European headquarters right here in Scotland.

The company looked at numerous different locations around Europe when scouting for their new base, but were instantly enamoured with what Scotland had to offer them. But what brought the Austrian-born and Harvard-educated entrepreneur to Scotland, and why did he think it was the perfect venue for his rapidly expanding business?

“Where Scotland won out was the access to risk capital, the flexibility and, importantly, the eagerness to support innovative companies – this really stood out here!”

The small start-up aims to eventually create up to 50 new specialised job opportunities across a range of areas, from software engineers to systems engineers to hardware engineers. Their goal will be the designing and building of small satellites – known as nanosatellites – and launching them into space. These satellites will help collect information on the world’s weather patterns in a way never before done.

“The confidence placed in us from Scotland enables us to expand our global footprint to attract the skills and talent we need to deliver on the next generation of weather satellites”.

“No-one else has as much access to space as we do”

Glasgow builds more satellites than any other European city.

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Where current weather satellites do a great job providing us with information, Spire’s new nanosatellites could gather up to 100 times more information. Peter co-founded the company in 2012 with a vision to provide satellite-powered data from any location on earth. He is now regarded as one of the pioneers in launching small form factor satellites into space – a meteoric rise in a small space of time.

Today they have the world’s only commercial weather data constellation and their unique weather data means that, around the world, we can be better prepared to meet changes in our weather system. Data – like that provided by Spire’s nanosatellites – can be the key factor in fighting the extreme and unpredictable weather events that cause so much destruction globally.

Scotland has a well-known reputation for providing a first-class welcome to all our visitors and from the moment Scotland was chosen as their new home, Peter and his Spire colleagues were blown away by the warm and open reception they received.

“We had a number of overseas staff come here for a temporary position to help set up who have since decided that they want to stay here permanently. […] Glasgow is a really great place to live and Scotland in general – our people really enjoy being here. The words friendly and hospitable are really not rich enough in meaning to describe the experience of being a part of everyday life here in Scotland”.

As well as the amazing welcome and help that they have had to settle into life in Scotland, Peter was also very keen to point out the amazing access to an incredibly talented Scottish work force.

“Glasgow is probably the friendliest place I have ever been in the world – and I’m not just saying that. In particular, when we looked at Scottish staff we found that the passion for what they do, their character and work ethic, is absolutely world-class”.

Scotland is Innovation. Scotland is Now.


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