A Virtual Pitch Event Designed to Facilitate Collisions & Collaborations

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, July 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The week of June 22-25, space technology ignited Department of Defense enthusiasm at Catalyst Accelerator’s (Catalyst) 2021 Catalyst Collision event. The week was marked with 30 small businesses and startups pitching their space technology to Government scouts. As the U.S., its allies and adversaries expand their reach into space and the technology necessary to navigate it, the demand for dynamic technologies is rapidly growing. In response, Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, sponsors Catalyst to bridge young companies and their technology with Government support and resources. “Innovative space technology is crucial to our national security. This year’s Catalyst Collision event has put such innovation in front of tech scouts from Army, Space Force, Air Force, Central Command and even the United States Coast Guard. The need for space domain security is pervasive and we are doing what we can to facilitate the connections that can bring greater capabilities for the US Warfighter,” says KiMar Gartman, Catalyst Accelerator Program Director.

The companies participating in the four-day event, brought technology that aligns with SpaceWERX Space Prime initiatives, including hybrid data movement, on-orbit advanced power, advanced space maneuver, orbital refueling and manufacturing, orbital debris remediation, and space-based cyber security. The opening speaker for the event was Dr. Joel Mozer, Chief Scientist at the United States Space Force (USSF). Dr. Mozer discussed some of the USSF goals in space and the various needs for the Catalyst Accelerator program. Daily panels were aimed at guiding companies on the path to success in growing their businesses and working with the Government. Panels included AFWERX’s STRATFI/TACFI Program and Private Investment: capitalizing on various funding options to scale technology and the business; Navigating an Exit: having a plan in place and working it to its greatest advantage to expand the business and sell to a Prime contractor; and Commercialization within the U.S. and Foreign Markets: whether a foreign company looking to expand in the U.S. or a U.S. company expanding into foreign markets, perseverance and tenacity, coupled with strategy and relationship building engenders success. 

Catalyst facilitated assistance through the Kansas Small Business Development Center in developing a QUAD Chart, Information Paper, Pitch Deck, and BLUF statement, all of which made pitching to government scouts effective both during the event and following it. Throughout the week, companies pitched their technology to Government scouts recruited for their interest in this area of space technology. Capt Dalton Hayes, Government Lead for the Catalyst Accelerator stated, "This year's collision event allowed U.S. Space Force to identify emerging technologies within the six focus areas. Events like Catalyst Collision are necessary because they spur teaming among startups and also provide an opportunity to connect with government customers."

The event culminated in the Tech Gallery, in which participants exhibited their technology, discussed its advantages, and networked with government and industry leaders as well as the general public. The event’s closing ceremony provided additional guidance and perspective from Brett Sharringhausen, DAFC USCENTCOM CCJ8, Science & Technology Chief, Discovery & Integration, Brig Gen D. Jason Cothern, Vice Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, and Col Eric Felt, Director of Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, three of our nation’s leaders critical to the success of U.S. warfighting in space. Brig Gen Cothern stated, “I am excited for you to help us overcome challenges as we continue to grow, innovate, and deliver new capabilities to the warfighter at the speed of relevance. Requirements can change rapidly so we need have flexibility, speed, and agility as critical elements of our plans as we move forward to innovate and develop these next-generation capabilities.” He followed by explaining, “National security is dependent on our partners, like all of you participating today, continuing to do what you do best; innovating and thinking creatively to help us maintain peace in space and protect our nation and citizens.” Col Felt closed the event by offering three important pieces of advice for small, innovative businesses within the space industry. He said, “1) Look for non-financial partnering opportunities (CRADAs, testing agreements). 2) Look for commercial customers. Commercial market is much more dynamic than the government market. We would like to be one of your customers, but we don’t want to be your only customer. The commercial customers will often carry a company through the “valley of death” much more successfully than merely relying on government customers. 3) Look broadly for opportunities. Keep your eye on all possible government funding and contracting opportunities”. This event was made a success with the support of sponsors Kansas SBDC, National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), Northrop Grumman, ValidEval, and Microsoft.

Boasting over $300 million in follow-on funding and over 150 Department of Defense discovery meetings from Catalyst’s past 10 Accelerator events, companies participating in the 2021 Catalyst Collision are sure to make headway in their business development and scaling their technology. 

Catalyst Collision participating companies include:

  • Astrapi Corporation
  • Astroscale
  • Bradford Space
  • Buckeye Photonics
  • CisLunar Industries USA Inc.
  • IBOSS GmbH
  • IronStar Engineering
  • Kall Morris Inc.
  • Kayhan Space
  • Photonicity
  • sci-Zone
  • Spry Squared, Inc.
  • Space Environment Technologies, LLC
  • Starfish Space
  • Virtru
  • Orbit Fab, Inc
  • Atomos Nuclear and Space Corporation
  • Benchmark Space Systems
  • Neutron Star Systems
  • NovaWurks
  • Obruta Space Solutions Corp.
  • Skycorp Inc.
  • Orbital Composites, Inc.

Tech Gallery companies included:

  • ANOVA Intelligence
  • DornerWorks
  • Ortum Stellar Eo
  • Pangea Aerospace
  • Saraniasat
  • Xona Space Systems

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) 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. The Catalyst Accelerator is a collaborative program hosted by Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3) in partnership with the United States Space Force, and the Air Force Research Laboratory to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams. 


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