VIPC’s Virginia Venture Partners Investment in SCOUT Supports the First In-Space Observation Systems to Safeguard Orbital Infrastructure

SCOUT’s vision-based autonomy solutions for earth and space allow systems to better identify and avoid risks and failures

Richmond, Virginia, UNITED STATES


Richmond, Virginia, April 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Virginia Venture Partners (formerly CIT GAP Funds), the equity investment program of Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), today announced an additional investment in SCOUT. Based in Alexandria, Va, SCOUT is a space tech startup developing next-generation space traffic management and autonomous proximity operations services. Since VIPC’s prior investment in July 2021, SCOUT’s accomplishments include engaging in strategic partnerships with satellite industry players, announcing their Autonomy Software for spacecraft, and being named the 2021 winner of the 9th annual Startup of the Year program. 

Space Operators are increasingly interested in executing more autonomously on-orbit, and SCOUT is supporting those needs by offering increased situational awareness, maneuver assurance, and safety. 

SCOUT’s software and hardware together work seamlessly to enable spacecraft to see and understand their surroundings with computer vision, powered by dedicated AI/ML on-board processing. SCOUT-Vision system’s closed-loop optical navigation capabilities support proximity operations, complex maneuvers, pose estimation, docking assistance, and more. 

"Our goal at SCOUT is to de-risk space operations by enabling more autonomy in spacecraft. The design and development of the SCOUT-Vision systems and our Autonomy Software were intentional in that they can be optimized for our customers’ missions and integrate seamlessly into a myriad of systems,” said Eric Ingram, CEO of SCOUT. “We started this company to further understand how satellites age over time, and diagnose problems before they become catastrophic - saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. SCOUT has evolved to work towards a future where spacecraft operations can be autonomous, and space traffic is continuously monitored from orbit. We are grateful for the continued support of VIPC’s Virginia Venture Partners.” 

In late 2021, SCOUT announced that Momentus, the in-space infrastructure company, selected SCOUT to deliver spacecraft vision capabilities for its upcoming missions. SCOUT will provide Momentus with optical sensing and relative navigation capabilities to support rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) starting in 2022. Additionally, Hyperspace Challenge, a business accelerator run by the Air Force Research Laboratory and CNM Ingenuity as part of the U.S. Space Force's new SpaceWERX program, named SCOUT the second place winner in their 2021 startup category for developing technology that can solve problems in the space domain.

“Space is getting more crowded, with a 40x increase in satellites and increasing capabilities coming in the next decade. With the SCOUT-Vision payload system, spacecraft customers now gain the ability to better identify and correct expensive failures, which may jeopardize an entire spacecraft and its mission,” said Tom Weithman, VIPC Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director of Virginia Venture Partners. “SCOUT has exceeded expectations since VIPC’s very first investment back in 2020. The company and leadership team continue to demonstrate positive growth and innovation in making space more economical and safer. The Virginia Venture Partners team at VIPC looks forward to being part of SCOUT’s continued impact.”

About SCOUT Inc.

SCOUT was founded in 2019 with the mission to enable a new era of space safety and transparency. SCOUT’s in-space products and services, first launched in June 2021, allow spacecraft to see and understand things around them. The orbital distributed sensor network developed by SCOUT will significantly improve Space Domain Awareness (SDA) and ensure responsible use of the space environment. The company is a Techstars, MassChallenge, and venture-backed startup with ongoing government contracts and commercial paid pilots. For more information, visit www.scout.space

About Virginia Venture Partners

Virginia Venture Partners, formerly CIT GAP Funds, is the equity investment program of VIPC that makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean energy, and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating a significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since its inception in 2005, Virginia Venture Partners has deployed $32.4 million in capital across more than 250 portfolio companies, including 17 companies in designated Opportunity Zones. Virginia Venture Partners’ investment decisions are guided by the Virginia Venture Partners Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel has drawn from the expertise of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel, and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.virginiaipc.org/vvp.

About Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)

Connecting Innovators with opportunities. The nonprofit operations arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), VIPC is the commercialization and seed stage economic development driver in the Commonwealth that leads funding, infrastructure and policy initiatives to support Virginia’s innovators, entrepreneurs, startups and market development strategies. VIPC collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal partners to support the expansion and diversification of Virginia’s economy.

Programs include: Virginia Venture Partners (VVP) | Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Smart Communities | Unmanned Systems | Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFAP) for SBIR & STTR | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit www.VirginiaIPC.org. Follow VIPC on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

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VIPC’s Virginia Venture Partners Investment in SCOUT Supports the First In-Space Observation Systems to Safeguard Orbital Infrastructure

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