Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker

The first week of the Hybrid Data Movement (#CAHDM) cohort was an absolute success! The week kicked off with a delicious catered breakfast which allowed the cohort members to interact and get to know each other a little bit before their Catalyst Accelerator journey began. Programming began with Gabe Mounce, Deputy Direct of SpaceWERX, and Lt Col Walter “Rock” McMillan, Director of SpaceWERX, who gave on overview about the importance of small businesses to the SpaceWERX and United States Space Force.

Ten subject matter experts donated their time to speak with the cohort during week one. One of these experts included Gregg Walsh. Gregg is the Business Development Manager at Microsoft supporting their defense space business. He is part of the Catalyst Accelerator family and has been a Sherpa for all 9 cohorts. Microsoft is the Corporate Sponsor for this cohort and a Sherpa for the cohort company, Swiss Vault. Gregg stated, “Much of the future of the DoD’s hybrid data environments will be driven by the innovation that the startup community is bringing to the table.”

The cohort companies had the opportunity to meet Ed Kase on Tuesday. Ed is the President of EKase Consulting and expert in strategic marketing and business development. Ed wrote a market research report for the Hybrid Data Movement problem statement. He offered wonderful advice to the cohort by stating, “Treat your customer discovery sessions like gold. When these potential customers talk about the issues they face, they are sharing the nuggets that can make your product invaluable to their success.”

Thursday morning kicked off with a discussion from Jonathan Torkelson of Embeddetech and Daniel Huffman of Vigilant Technologies, two Catalyst Accelerator alumni offering their tips and tricks to the cohort. When asked if they could offer any advice to the current cohort Daniel Huffman said, “Make the most of this opportunity with Catalyst Accelerator to find your fit in the DoD marketplace that’s being presented, and to find the people you can team with to strengthen your technology and the solutions you bring to that marketplace. Use your time there to let the Catalyst team bring true objectivity about your company, your tech, and your process that you might not have had access to otherwise and let them help you bring about the growth that depends on the relationships and connections you’re building there. But above all, enjoy yourself and the group – there is so much positive energy to be had, and the sky’s the limit on what you can gain. Your willingness to engage is what will set you apart from the competition, and from the ones that are “hunkering down” and holding back.” Jonathan added by explaining, “This accelerator is an excellent, well-timed opportunity for these companies to demonstrate how their innovative technologies map to clearly defined and high-priority defense problem statements.”

The Catalyst Accelerator is lucky to have Mo Kanwischer, President of Momentum Business Consulting, act as Chief Consultant for our program. Mo met with each of the cohort companies during week one to discuss ABC statements, networking, and customer discovery. On Friday morning, the Hybrid Data Movement cohort members each gave overviews of their companies and answered questions from their fellow cohort members. This was a marvelous opportunity for each company to understand their fellow cohort companies on a deeper level.

The week ended on a perfect note with a spectacular briefing from Lt Gen (ret) David J. Buck and Robert Atkins of Buck Consulting Group. They provided a high-level overview of the Space Force and its structure. They spoke about the organizational chart of all military branches, USSPACECOM, the various types of contracts and more. After their briefing, Lt Gen (ret) Buck mentioned, “In today’s technological race, data is king and meeting the cohorts during the Hybrid Data Movement accelerator gave me confidence that the DoD’s desire to work with start-ups and small businesses is the right trajectory for rapid innovation and novel solutions.”

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 week three has to offer!

Author: Kate Menendez, Marketing Specialist