Finding Solutions to Meet the Challenges of Hybrid Data Movement

On May 26, 2022, eight companies concluded their 3-month Catalyst Accelerator journey with an on-site demonstration day at Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation. This event brought over 100 attendees from the community. In attendance were Air Force, Space Force, and other Government personnel, subject matter experts from industry leaders, investors assessing the potential of cohort company technologies, and those curious about where the U.S. is heading with space technology.

The Hybrid Data Movement cohort was the ninth Accelerator facilitated by Catalyst. The cohort was chosen for their technology and business readiness from a pool of 32 companies and began their Accelerator experience on March 1st, 2022. The problem statement was framed around how we might provide a secure and scalable hybrid data environment to pull, move and combine diverse sets of data from commercial, public, Allied and Government sources to allow users to find, fix, target, track, engage, and assess on faster timelines. Rajarathnam (Mouli) Chandramouli from the cohort company, Spectronn, explained, “The Catalyst Accelerator provided critical customer discovery and business development skills required to work with the DoD. Since a majority of the startup founders and CEOs in our cohort had deep technical backgrounds, this program equipped us to move out of our comfort zone.” Peggy Bunzli, from the cohort company Zenn USA, followed by stating, “During the course of the 3-month Accelerator, we learned so much, had amazing access to Commercial and DoD customers and grew our network tremendously. We also had a lot of fun and made lifetime connections with the participants from the other 7 companies.” 

Over the course of the Accelerator, the companies were guided by the following subject matter experts: Government Sherpas and end-users, enabling them to better understand Government space needs; business experts, helping them pivot their technology and corporate posture to position themselves well in the Government market; and Commercial Sherpas (Microsoft, Amergint, Ball Aerospace, ManTech, LinQuest Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Leidos, and Viasat), helping them step into the Government arena with advice, consulting, and key contact introductions within the Government and Commercial sectors. “Supporting the Hybrid Data Movement cohort and the ongoing Catalyst Accelerator program is a critical part of Microsoft’s efforts to empower startup companies and bring innovation to address government customers’ challenges,” said Gregg Walsh, Business Development Manager at Microsoft. 

Demo Day was the culmination of the Hybrid Data Movement Accelerator. It was the final product of the cohort’s diligence, the re-imagining of their technology, the shifting of their business model to fit the new customer – Space for the U.S. Government. Each cohort company provided a brief pitch on their technology before attendees had the opportunity to follow-up individually with the small businesses. Patrick Barrett, Chief Executive Officer at Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation explained, “The culmination of this 3-month cohort was the result of an amazing partnership with AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate who have funded our talented Accelerator Team comprised of KiMar Gartman, Shae Thomas, and Kate Menendez with support from Mo Kanwischer along with our Operations Specialists who in turn have enabled the success of eight companies. These eight companies pitched components of solutions to fill capability gaps supporting the National Space Defense Center (NSDC) at Schriever Space Force Base (SSFB). The mission that they support is critical to the security of our nation. Thank you to our Colorado Springs-based Space ecosystem pulled together through Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation that allows us to enable commercially focused companies through the Catalyst Accelerator program pivot into the Aerospace and Defense sector while still maintaining a focus on their commercial technologies. I wish each of the eight companies’ success as they continue to grow and contribute to our Nation.”

Cohort companies included:

Archangel Lightworks https://www.archangel.works/ – Archangel Lightworks is developing laser technology for the next generation of satellite communication. Their technology enables satellite operators to download 100x more data from orbit more quickly and more securely than radio frequency-based approaches. Their laser technology will massively increase the amount of valuable data downloadable from orbit – bringing more data for climate monitoring, agriculture, and many other Earth Observation use cases down to the people who are using it to improve life on Earth. Their vision is a future where disparate networks across space, air, ground, and sea are securely connected using wireless laser links creating truly ubiquitous connectivity.

krtkl (“critical”) – https://krtkl.com/ – krtkl provides high-reliability hardware and software solutions for ‘hard’ real-time applications in the robotics, sensing, and space industries. krtkl’s mission is to build a smarter, more connected world by democratizing access to advanced technology. The company’s products have been deployed in thousands of mission-critical commercial and defense systems with demanding performance requirements and size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints. krtkl’s high-bandwidth, radiation-tolerant space mesh router allows for rapid deployment of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellations. The hardware is front-end agnostic and ‘software reconfigurability’ enables on-orbit processing without additional SWaP or cost impacts.

Matchbook AI – https://www.matchbookai.com/ – Matchbook AI offers the only data solution that helps customers connect in real-time to fully mastered data that is trusted, enriched and always ready for business. This is where their transformational reference data as a service (RDaaS) platform creates incredible business value. RDaaS enables customers to connect on-demand, discover what matters most and manage third-party provider data, including Experian, Moodys and Dun & Bradstreet. By residing between a customer’s enterprise data systems and third-party data providers, RDaaS creates centralized data governance with distributed controls to empower companies with trusted data for impactful decision-making. Customers can connect in real-time to fully mastered data that is trusted, enriched and always ready for business.

Pixspan – https://www.pixspan.com/ – Pixspan provides the fastest and easiest data acceleration for moving large data files of any type and size on-premise and to, from, and within the Cloud, globally and on demand. Pixspan’s software products accelerate and enhance Cloud and On-Premise workflows, offering unprecedented savings in time, storage and infrastructure costs. Pixspan offers Bit Exact Round Trip™ lossless compression of full-resolution images for speeding up transfers over limited bandwidth.

QuSecure https://www.qusecure.com/ – QuSecure is the global leader in quantum cybersecurity. They’re using the threat of quantum attacks as a catalyst to fix the foundation of digital infrastructure – by putting security first, they assure private and safe communication, anytime, anywhere, on any device. Their software-based solution combines zero-trust endpoint management, unbreakable quantum keys, ultra-fast transport protocols, and Legacy Protocol Switching to deliver unparalleled end-to-end security on earth and in space. QuSecure’s vision is to create an exceptionally secure world through post-quantum cryptography.

Spectronn – https://www.spectronn.com/ – Spectronn has a software platform that concurrently and in real-time optimizes heterogeneous data networking and computing for resilient and low-latency situational awareness. It virtually combines all available networking and computing assets in space and on earth to deliver smart data (satellite, UAV, SAR, RADAR, CCTV, RF, and IoT sensors) collection, storage, sharing, and analytics. AVA, their human-centered AI engine combines deep machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing to analyze the collected data for visual storytelling and Q&A. These integrated capabilities deliver clear, real-time intelligence to first responders, warfighters, and commercial stakeholders, without cognitively overloading them – everything they need and nothing they do not.

TurnRock Labs – https://www.turnrocklabs.com/ – TurnRock Labs has a mission to make autonomy affordable for everyone. TurnRock seeks to revolutionize the world of general-purpose robotics by leveraging human brainpower to create more adaptable, resilient, and future proofed systems. They believe that the next generation of coordinated autonomy will depend on faster and more effective real-time integration of software intelligent agents and the humans who operate them. TurnRock is developing the Dynamic Multi-Echelon Agent Control (DMAC) platform to provide real-time integration and simulation capabilities for digital twin models to inform decision making.

Zenn USA – https://www.zenn.global/ – Zenn USA starts with a re-imagined data storage platform with innovative Software & Hardware. The small form-factor and easy to use design can be utilized from Edge networks to massive scale up data centers, and the platform is 10X more energy efficient than existing data servers. Data also has a significant environmental impact due to the short lifespan of equipment and resulting electronic waste. Zenn is working to increase the life span of systems and to enhance modularity and durability to provide its customers with systems that are easy to use, cost effective and contribute to the circular economy. Zenn’s mission is to advance the innovation and production of state of the art, eco-friendly, secure data storage and management technologies, through engineering, research, and development to meet the IT needs of our customers, in collaboration with interested organizations and stakeholders. 

The Hybrid Data Movement Accelerator was made possible with the support of AFRL/RV, the U.S. Space Force and the generous support from Corporate Sponsor, Microsoft, and Demo Day Sponsor, Amergint.

About Catalyst Accelerator

The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and United States Space Force’s Catalyst Accelerator is a NewSpace-focused defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. CCTI is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, government, academia, and investors intersect with Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry to create community, spark innovation, and stimulate business growth.

Author: Kate Menendez, Marketing Specialist