Apex of First-Ever Accelerator in Southern Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colo – As the grand finale to the first accelerator program ever held in Southern Colorado, six companies will pitch to 100 government and corporate strategic investors, weather experts, venture capital organizations and angel investors on Monday, April 16 at the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation in downtown Colorado Springs. Demo Day is hosted by Catalyst Campus and the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization in partnership with the Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center Advanced Systems & Development Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, and the Small Business Development Center of Boulder. Each company will showcase their disruptive technology in a quick pitch to potential customers, partners and investors, all in the hope of growing their business to the next level.
Catalyst Accelerator’s inaugural cohort focused on terrestrial weather challenges, prompting 1st Lt Jacob Singleton, Program Manager for the Center for Rapid Innovation, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), to comment, “The onset of small satellites has lowered the barrier to entry for space access and a new space race has included virtually every nation and tech giant in industry. The Department of Defense has a limited relationship with the small business/startup community that functions with the innovation, efficiency, and agility required to remain ahead of adversary technology development. The accelerator model helps these small companies to remain market-focused and mission-aware, allowing them to strengthen their business model and expand to include defense partners.”
The promising teams of founders chosen to participate in Catalyst Accelerator underwent a highly-selective application process and were ultimately hand-picked by Space Capital Colorado, a Catalyst-endowed accelerator fund. The participants received immediate capital of $15,000 from Space Capital Colorado, and the fund may further invest in any of the accelerator companies if they show potential. Space Capital Colorado has also gathered over a dozen venture capital and private investors to witness the pitches at Demo Day and, it is hoped, find viable investment opportunities among the cohort.
The Economic Gardening-based curriculum was provided by SBDC-Boulder. Catalyst Accelerator is unique among accelerator programs due to its co-location in Colorado Springs with Air Force Space Command. By locating the accelerator on the Catalyst Campus in proximity to the customer, the customer discovery process – during which the participants gather an operational perspective from Air Force personnel and decisionmakers and come to understand their needs – was greatly reduced, from an average of two years in the typical government market to less than three months through Catalyst Accelerator.
“Through the 12-week Catalyst Accelerator program, the terrestrial weather cohort engaged with Air Force stakeholders from pilots stationed across the United States including Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington and Washington D.C., to Meteorologists at the 557th Weather Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, as well as scientists and engineers in the national Air Force Labs, to understand the current and future weather operations of the military. Immersing the cohort in intense customer discovery allowed the cohort to quickly gather Air Force requirements and pivot their technologies. In fact, one company, AeroLynk, determined the need to pivot their technology at week three,” said Dr. Rebecca Decker, Program Director of the Catalyst Accelerator.
Demo Day will consist of each team using their newly-learned skills to pitch to government and commercial investors, hoping for an opportunity to raise additional capital or rapid follow-on government funding via Other Transaction Authority (OTA). OTA funding is designated for research and development, prototyping and follow-on production, and was developed as a quick way for the government to support an innovative new idea without burdening the innovators with a heavy bureaucratic hand. Since the Air Force is currently looking to improve agility and efficiency and timeliness, OTAs have proved to be ideal rapid funding mechanisms that move disruptive technologies and innovative ideas forward immediately.
ABOUT THE COHORT:
Adaptive Systems, LLC
Founded in 2011, Adaptive Systems LLC is a technology integration and services startup with a focus on developing weather intelligence and data integration products for next-generation impact-based decision support. They leverage progressive technologies to develop sophisticated autonomous intelligent decision support systems for enhanced weather risk decision making. Adaptive Systems, LLC is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Advanced Radar Company
Advanced Radar Company (ARC) was founded in 2006 by the UCAR Foundation to commercialize a new generation of advanced weather radars (hardware, software and customized products). These systems are simple to maintain, calibrate and operate while still maintaining accuracy and reliability. ARC is located in Boulder, Colorado.
Guidestar Optical Systems, Inc.
Guidestar Optical Systems, Inc. develops advanced optical measurement and control systems for light propagation through the atmosphere. Applications include beam control and adaptive optics for free space laser communications, directed energy, and astronomical observatories, as well as atmospheric monitoring and remote sensing. Guidestar is located in Longmont, Colorado.
Koolock,Inc. is a geospatial company providing satellite thermal-imagery to monitor weather-related events and natural hazards. Their service enables situational awareness and decision making in real-time. They are working on providing on-demand access to the past, present, and future state of the environment through an advanced analytical pipeline and cloud-based platforms. Koolock is located at Moffett Field, California.
SaraniaSat was founded to address a Grand Challenge facing the agricultural industry, which is to break through the current “logjam” blocking the widespread acceptance of satellite remote-sensing data and information products by the industry. SaraniaSat was recently written up in VentureBeat as a “Unicorn” with a unique solution. SaraniaSat is located in Los Angeles, California.
AeroLynk is committed to connecting the world by simplifying satellite communication to be as easy as your iPhone. They have perfected short burst data over satellite to be used for GPS tracking & communication and ground-based weather systems. They specifically design their technology for everyone, to be used anywhere. AeroLynk is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
ABOUT CATALYST ACCELERATOR
The Catalyst Accelerator is a defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The accelerator’s mission is to promote technology advancement for the warfighter and guide technology transfer from the government to the commercial market and vice versa. Catalyst Accelerator has partnered with the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC), Colorado Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) in the Boulder and Pikes Peak regions, Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and Colorado Springs SCORE to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams.
ABOUT CATALYST CAMPUS FOR TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation is a research and development campus focused in aerospace, space and defense technology headquartered in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The vision of Catalyst Campus is to create an economic development “cluster” to expand the aerospace and defense industrial base in Southern Colorado through a collaborative infrastructure platform that supports entrepreneurs and small businesses. This unique, cluster environment stimulates economic growth and accelerates the development of new companies; promotes industry innovators, entrepreneurs, and start-ups; supports business training and workforce development; offers access to an applied research and development laboratory; and provides business development, support services and venture capital investment to accelerate innovation and the commercialization of technologies.
Rebecca Decker, Media Relations, Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 719-896-5087