“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
The eleventh week of the Hybrid Data Movement (#CAHDM) cohort kicked off with the filming of each company’s Demo Day pitch with Joe Marney. The final Demo Day video will be posted on the Catalyst Accelerator website on May 23rd, 2022. Please be sure to watch this video prior to attending Demo Day on May 26th from 8:00-10:30am. The cohort was then fortunate enough to hear from Fred Taylor, Vice President of Space and Cyber Applications at Viasat. Fred is currently serving as a Commercial Sherpa for the #CAHDM cohort company krtkl. He offered an incredible overview about Viasat and their involvement in hybrid data movement.
The cohort companies had the distinct honor to listen to an investor panel. The panel members included Mark Arnold, Mike Siegel, Carie Lemack, and T.J. Cook. Mike Siegel of AVP mentioned, “When we evaluate a company for a potential investment, we first want to see the passion come through from the management team. The entrepreneurs are devoting their careers and very long hours to something that they hopefully think can positively impact the world. We want to feel that energy from them and really want them to turn us into believers. Next, we want to hear a thoughtful plan for how they will reach their vision. What are the milestones in between? How will they know they are making the right kind of progress along the way? It’s okay to be wrong and making mistakes comes with the territory, but we’re looking to see a team that is methodical in their planning and has thought through a variety of outcomes. Of course, we’d love to hear about the attractiveness of the market they’re targeting and why, and how, their offering fills a much-needed gap. We want to feel comfortable that there is a potential for big upside if the team’s business plan is executed well, and we’re willing to take the risk that execution to that plan might not be as intended or market dynamics might shift. With a necessary and essential offering, combined with a management team capable of adaptation, success can be achieved in any number of ways.”
Over 20 subject matter experts donated their time to speak with the cohort during week eleven. Two of these experts included Kyle Hurst and Vince Pecoraro from the Air Force Digital Transformation Office. Vince gave wonderful advice to the cohort by stating, “Don’t give up hope. The government can be a difficult customer to work with. Its rules and bureaucratic systems can be maddening, but we need you to provide cutting edge technology and to teach us how to properly use it. China is coming, fully leveraging digital will keep it at bay by allowing us to deliver better capabilities faster.” Kyle then followed by stating “Effectively leveraging digital tools and technologies is the direction industry has been heading for decades. The Air Force has been trying, but we’re not great at it yet. We operate in silos of every kind: organizational, functional, budgetary, and more. Creating a hybrid data approach that enables better sharing and access to data across these silos is the only way we can succeed in our Digital Transformation journey. And this area is ripe for help from innovative companies with novel solutions.”
On Wednesday morning, Lt Col Michael Dunn offered a Grand Forks hybrid data movement use case. He explained to the cohort companies, “I would advise those who want to work with the DoD to find good collaboration partners. There are many within the department, at all levels, who are tired of the bureaucracy and want to break down barriers and innovate. Sometimes it can be difficult to battle the system. But don’t give up! Sometimes when I’m out in public in uniform, people say, “Thank you for your service.” I appreciate that, but it’s not just those wearing the uniform that serve. By continuing to push the DoD to adapt and innovate, to break down traditional bureaucratic barriers, you are serving too. You are doing a patriotic duty by working with your military. The DoD needs to change. We know we need to change. We need acquisitions practices and development timelines that allow us to compete. The way we did things to get where we are today will not carry us into the future. It really is as Gen Brown, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, says, “We must accelerate change or lose.” Thank you for helping us accelerate change and thank you for your service!”
Towards the end of the week, Stephanie Amend, Allie Clark, and Will Jinkins donated their time to speak with the cohort. Stephanie presented on post award compliance. She offered great advice by stating, “The biggest takeaway regarding post-award compliance is not to be fearful of what may be ahead, but to be prepared. Knowledge and strategy are key to being successful, saving money and staying sane.” Allie then offered a wonderful overview of equity in lieu of compensation. She stated, “I think the most important takeaway is that there are important tax implications when issuing equity and reaching out to your advisors for guidance in this area will save you money down the road.” Lastly, Will offered a hybrid data use case from GBSD. He mentioned, “It is great to see engagement from diverse companies coming together to solve hard hybrid data problems. Seeing you bring the art of the possible is encouraging and exciting. As you work through addressing this tough problem, think about cases where the user is getting their capability through a coffee stirrer straw instead of a real data pipeline. Focus your efforts on enhancing and expanding the pipeline.”
Thank you to each of the subject matter experts who donated their time to speak with the Hybrid Data Movement cohort and answer their questions. The Catalyst Accelerator team is looking forward to what the final Demo Day week has to offer!
Demo Day will be held on May 26th from 8:00-10:30AM MT at Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This free event is sponsored by Microsoft, Long Capture, and Amergint Technologies. You do not want to miss out on meeting the 8 cohort companies and learning more about their technologies. Breakfast and refreshments will be provided. Learn more and register here: https://catalystaccelerator.space/cahdm-hybrid-data-movement/.
Author: Kate Menendez, Marketing Specialist