Second Front Systems Raises $6 Million to Provide Immediate Impact to National Security, led by ARTIS Ventures

As the U.S. military embraces commercial tech, including AI, biotech, and cyber, Second Front to create a new business operating system for the Department of Defense

San Francisco, CA, July 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Second Front Systems, a software company working to disrupt the traditional aerospace and defense industry by acting as a beachhead for cutting-edge startups, today announced an oversubscribed $6 million in seed funding led by ARTIS Ventures. Additional investors include Kleiner Perkins, 8VC, Gula Tech Adventures, and Abstract Ventures

The venture funding will be used to expand the capabilities of Second Front’s software platform, Atlas Fulcrum, which has recently received a major contract award from the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Air Force’s AFWERX. The U.S. military recognizes that commercially driven tech, such as autonomy, cyber, biotech, and AI, has surpassed the defense base in relevance to national security in the 21st century. Acting as a “digital prime,” the Atlas Fulcrum platform empowers the U.S. government to regain control from the traditional defense industry in scouting, vetting, and securely fielding cutting-edge technology at scale.

Austin Walne, partner at ARTIS Ventures will join Second Front’s board with General Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, and Alberto Yepez, co-founder and managing director of ForgePoint Capital.

“The U.S. Military is actively seeking advances in artificial intelligence and synthetic biology. This aligns with ARTIS Ventures’ focus on the convergence of computer science and life science,” said Austin Walne, partner at ARTIS Ventures, whose firm is also an investor in Palantir. “Second Front’s executive team comes with proven military backgrounds, giving them an insider's perspective on vetting and integrating technologies that will have an immediate impact on national security.” 

Second Front was started by former Marine Corps Major Peter Dixon, a scout sniper platoon commander who worked with In-Q-Tel and DARPA to pioneer counter-cartel and counter-insurgency technologies, including early adoption of Palantir, at the State Department and Pentagon, and retired Marine Corps Colonel Mark Butler, a fighter and test pilot who helped form the Marines’ arm of Cyber Command.

“I came back from combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan where my men and I were hamstrung by outdated technology that negated what should have been an advantage against insurgent adversaries,” said Second Front CEO Peter Dixon. “Subsequently, at the Pentagon, I watched as billions of dollars were awarded to traditional defense companies, many of whom were unable to deliver usable technology to front-line troops. This venture financing and initial partnerships gives Second Front the velocity to build a new type of ‘lean systems integrator’ that can harness the innovations of the American entrepreneurial ecosystem where the traditional defense firms have failed.” 

Biotech and the Military 
As the U.S. military looks to reshape the national security and innovation base to respond to pandemics and embrace evolving technologies such as synthetic biology, biotech has become a crucial focus area for the government. 

As stated by Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in Breaking Defense, “There are so many breakthroughs that are happening. We don’t typically think about biology as a core competency in the Air Force, but biology teaches us a ton.” 

Second Front Systems is a public benefit corporation operating in a new class of venture-backed defense companies that includes Palantir, Anduril, and Rebellion Defense.

About Second Front Systems
Second Front Systems is a veteran-owned small business that builds software so U.S. and allied governments can harness disruptive technology from venture capital-backed, commercially proven companies. For more information visit

About ARTIS Ventures 
ARTIS Ventures (AV) partners with entrepreneurs who are driven to impact the world by reshaping and reinventing industries. The team supports its portfolio companies through their entire life-cycle, from initial venture investment to public offering and beyond. As an early leader in the emerging TechBio sector, ARTIS Ventures funds companies at the intersection of computer science and life science, applying engineering principles and data-enabled discovery to the healthcare space. Notable companies the firm has backed include YouTube, Modern Meadow, Nimble Storage, StemCentrx, Palantir, IDbyDNA, Versa Networks, Cohesity, Locus Biosciences, Eko, Excision BioTherapeutics, Aether, Unnatural Products, Inc., and more. For more information visit or email


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