Slingshot Aerospace, Inc., an advanced analytics company, today announced that the United States Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) awarded the company a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract, which encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) to pursue high-tech innovation that has the potential for commercialization. In conjunction, Slingshot Aerospace venture capital backers ATX Venture Partners and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund matched the government’s funding as part of the RAPID Innovation Fund, a program at the United States Department of Defense that seeks to accelerate fielding of promising technologies into military systems.
The combined $3 million will support rapid development and deployment of Slingshot EDGE, the company’s Artificial Intelligence-powered EDGE platform for use with small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), in particular with software development, engineering and system tests. Slingshot EDGE will help enable Air Force Special Operations forces to pivot from manually intensive situational awareness processes to a more tactical, timely and autonomous decision-making solution.
“This partnership is a groundbreaking testament to the power of government working with technical and financial innovators,” said Melanie Stricklan, CSO and Co-Founder of Slingshot Aerospace. “Our team looks forward to focusing our advanced EDGE development on meeting the high standards set by the U.S. Air Force. This award will undoubtedly accelerate real-time situational awareness on the battlefield and provide a unique opportunity for us to take a validated product that provides decision advantage to entirely new markets.”
Slingshot Aerospace pursued the RAPID program and contract funding after successfully demonstrating the technical feasibility of Slingshot EDGE during the first phase of the SBIR application.
The Air Force’s drive to increase the speed from development to commercialization through endeavors such as the Air Force Pitch Day has been led by Dr. Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
“The thing we wanted to prove with Pitch Day is that it’s tough to do change in government, but not impossible,” said Dr. Roper. “This Pitch Day is about keeping a competitive EDGE and keeping a competitive mindset in acquisition that refuses to allow a technology that exists to be developed faster by any adversary.”
Additional Quotes From Investors:
“We are excited to be able to help propel Slingshot, another great company based outside of Silicon Valley, to market while benefiting Air Force Special Operations Forces in the process,” said Steve Case, Founding Partner at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. “The company’s mission is to help government and commercial customers predict the unexpected and optimize their situational awareness, and this capital will help to bring that to fruition.”
“This is an incredibly unique partnership in the venture capital community to be able to partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to help quickly drive a critical technology like Slingshot EDGE to market,” said Chris Shonk, Managing Partner at ATX Venture Partners. “We jumped at the chance to further these leaders in geospatial AI and EDGE technologies to improve operations around the world with the U.S. Department of Defense.”
About Slingshot Aerospace
Slingshot Aerospace, Inc. (“Slingshot”) revolutionizes how people use situational awareness to create a safer and more sustainable world. The company employs trusted autonomy to draw insights from a synthesis of satellite, aerial, drone and other contextual data streams for defense, disaster response, and commercial applications. Slingshot’s user-centered situational awareness products rapidly close the gap between data analysis and critical decision making. Founded in 2016 and based in Austin, TX, and Los Angeles, CA, Slingshot aims to significantly improve the value of data customers consume, allowing them to gain decision advantage, reduce risk, and lower costs. Visit www.slingshotaerospace.com, follow Slingshot Aerospace at @sling_shot_aero, Facebook and LinkedIn.
For founder bios and photos, please visit the company press kit.