Reik Leiterer

Environmental Data from Space

Geoinformatics expert Reik Leiterer specializes in remote sensing, and drew on his expertise to develop a business idea that culminated in the foundation of the spinoff company Exolabs in 2017. “We develop and market services and software related to earth observation,” explains the CEO of the fledgling business that he started with three colleagues. The satellite data are made freely available by NASA and the ESA; on behalf of its customers, Exolabs develops different environmental data programs, for example for observing snow or forest cover. For Leiterer, a scientist with broad interests, the company is an exciting new area of activity that currently absorbs around 30 percent of his working time. Depending on how things progress, these hours will increase. On the other hand, the man with a PhD in geoinformatics also co-heads the UZH Science Lab, which is designed to generate interest and enthusiasm for the natural sciences among young people and the public at large. There Leiterer can indulge his passion for science communications and education. “The company and the Science Lab are ideal complements,” he explains. While the young entrepreneur is extraordinarily appreciative of the academic environment at UZH, he feels no pressing need to go for a professorship.

Stefan Stöcklin