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The Growing Demand for Space Technology, Fundings: Sereact, Bugaurd, Resilience
9 August 2023 - A Weekly Publication by New North Ventures
The demand for space technology is soaring to new heights, a trend showing no signs of slowing down. Just a few months ago, we posted about this on our Linkedin, shedding light on how US allies are ramping up their investments in space technology while American companies grapple to keep pace with the increasing demand.
We also noted the increase in the national security budget as a clear sign of the United States' determination to bolster its national security capabilities. This increase shows that the door is flung open for startups and trailblazers from all corners to usher in advancements in space technology and other crucial national security domains. Undeniably, the investment wave sweeping into these startups and cutting-edge technologies is here for the long haul.
As we navigate these shifting tides, it's becoming apparent that the space technology and security landscape is evolving at a pace never seen before. We've recently witnessed discussions gaining momentum about streamlining the regulatory process for commercial space missions (see below). The aim is to strike a harmonious balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring safety. This initiative underscores the intricate dance between the rapid pace of technological evolution and the critical need to establish robust security measures.
Join us in seizing the moment and investing in the future of space technology. At New North Ventures, we're committed to uniting top talent from government and industry to conquer challenging frontiers, solve pressing national security issues and unlock substantial commercial potential. We're charting a course toward innovation, security, and limitless possibilities.
The Pentagon is allocating $100 million in total for a pilot program called APFIT (Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies) to bridge the "valley of death" where promising technologies often fail to transition from the lab to actual operations.
APFIT focuses on expediting the transition of technologies from small businesses and nontraditional defense contractors to provide capabilities to service members more quickly.
Ten companies will receive funding to fill critical capability gaps, including projects like augmented reality tactical kits, unmanned aerial systems, anti-jam radio links, and advanced sensors for various branches of the military.
This initiative aims to address challenges faced by non-traditional defense firms, reduce barriers for innovation and collaboration, and accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies by the military.
NATO has closed its NATO Innovation Fund (NIF), with member nations committing €1 billion to support startups developing technologies aligned with NATO's defense and security goals.
NIF plans to make direct and indirect investments in startups working on emerging and disruptive technologies, focusing on areas like AI, biotechnology, quantum computing, space technology, and more.
Similar to the U.S.'s In-Q-Tel, NIF aims for strategic investments, potentially leading to services usable by NATO or its member states, and will operate as a "classic VC" for early-stage startups.
The fund involves 23 initial NATO member countries, with Sweden joining later. The initiative reflects NATO's shift towards working with businesses that impact member countries' security postures amid technological innovation.
The current U.S. regulatory regime for commercial space missions, while successful, is struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation, leading to a slowdown in investment in the industry.
A proposal suggests consolidating the regulatory process within the Department of Commerce to provide a streamlined "one-stop shop" for mission authorization while retaining the responsibilities of agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.
The current system's inefficiencies and lack of predictability can discourage investment in novel technologies, particularly when there is no prior experience to base approvals.
Despite the success of the current regime, the industry's complexity and the emergence of innovative concepts like space mining and in-orbit servicing highlight the need for a more modern and efficient regulatory framework.
Consolidating the regulatory process under the Department of Commerce while maintaining the involvement of other relevant agencies could provide a balanced solution to foster growth, innovation, and safety in the commercial space industry.
Elevator Pitch: Artificial intelligence software designed for application in robotics to offer intelligent software tools.
Funding: The company raised $5 million of seed funding in a deal led by Point Nine Capital and Air Street Capital on August 8, 2023.
Key People: Founded by Youssef Mohamed
Elevator Pitch: A security service intended to protect businesses from cyber threats.
Funding: The company raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in a deal led by A15 on August 7, 2023.
Key People: President and CEO Mario Vitale
Elevator Pitch: Cyber risk company intended to help middle-to-large market enterprises become cyber resilient.
Funding: The company raised $100 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Intact Ventures on August 7, 2023. Founders Fund, Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst also participated in the round.
Look for a new episode of Securing the Future Podcasts wherever you listen. In our latest episode, we have guest John Serafini sit down with General Partner Jeremy Hitchcock for an engaging conversation where John discusses the dual-use space and outlines ways to optimize the industry for a more secure future.