January 29, 2018 – Catalyst Accelerator, a defense and national security accelerator and the first accelerator program to be held in Southern Colorado, is launching its inaugural cohort today at the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation in downtown Colorado Springs. Catalyst Accelerator’s mission is to promote technology advancement for the warfighter and to guide technology transfer between the government and the commercial market.
Atypically, Catalyst Accelerator represents a collaborative effort between public and private organizations, including Catalyst Campus, the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) and the Boulder Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and in partnership with Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and Colorado Springs SCORE.
Catalyst Accelerator is partnering with the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) for the first cohort. The AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate serves as the Air Force’s “Center of Excellence” for space technology research and development; through their partnership with AFRL/RV, the Catalyst Accelerator will expose the AFRL team and other government partners to commercial technologies with innovative solutions to warfighter needs.
Catalyst Accelerator will be utilizing the Economic Gardening-based curriculum provided by SBDC-Boulder. Two things that make Catalyst Accelerator unique among accelerator programs are its co-location in Colorado Springs with Air Force Space Command and a potential rapid funding mechanism, available through the government. By locating the accelerator on the Catalyst Campus in proximity to the customer, the customer discovery process – wherein the participants gather an operational perspective from Air Force personnel and decisionmakers and come to understand their needs – will be greatly reduced, from an average of two years in the typical government market to less than three months through the Catalyst Accelerator.
The intensive 12-week program will task participating companies with developing solutions for providing better terrestrial weather data and other commercially-viable, related products. The Catalyst Accelerator will give the participating companies direct access to operational weather experts and stakeholders from the United States Air Force and other government agencies, as well as the Catalyst Campus, SBDC, PTAC and SCORE National network of mentors, partners and investors.
The promising teams chosen to participate in Catalyst Accelerator after undergoing a highly-selective application process are Colorado-based companies Adaptive Systems, LLC, Advanced Radar Company, Guidestar Optical Systems, Inc. and XplotraX, as well as two California companies, Koolock, Inc. and SaraniaSat. The participants will receive immediate capital of $15,000 from Space Capital Colorado, a Catalyst-endowed accelerator fund. Space Capital Colorado may further invest in any of the accelerator companies if they show potential.
The program will culminate with a demonstration day at Catalyst Campus in mid-April, when each team will pitch to government and commercial investors for an opportunity to raise additional capital or follow-on government funding via Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for further prototype development. OTA funding is designated for research and development and prototyping, and was developed as a quick way for the government to support an innovative new idea without elaborate contract requirements and masses of red tape.
“It’s an honor to have a hand in introducing the Air Force to the Catalyst Accelerator cohort of entrepreneurs who are developing next-gen solutions to bring accurate weather forecasts to our warfighters,” enthused Dr. Rebecca Decker, Program Director of the Catalyst Accelerator. “Our team is eager to immerse the cohort in a concentrated customer discovery experience so that they have a greater understanding of the military’s requirements from a decision making and operational perspective. Our cohort will also have the opportunity to explore further commercial uses of their technologies to benefit industries like agriculture, insurance, retail, energy, outdoor sports, and transportation.”
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.
XplotraX 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. XplotraX is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation will hold an invitation-only Catalyst Accelerator Kick Off event on Tuesday, January 30, at Catalyst Campus.
When: Tuesday, January 30
Time: 9:00 ‒11:30 a.m. MDT
Where: Catalyst Campus for Technology & Innovation, Harvey House, 555 East Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Catalyst Campus, C-TRAC, SBDC and Colorado PTAC representatives will be available to speak with the media after the program.