The Air Force’s Boston-based technology accelerator program announced the companies that will be joining its 2020 cohort Thursday evening.
Ten startup companies, working on a very wide range of topic areas from computer vision to learning and training products, will now spend the next three months connecting with the Air Force and working on their respective dual-use technologies.
On the government side, the goal is to “[connect] the Air Force to early-stage commercially-oriented startups with innovative technologies, and [adapt] Air Force business processes to match the commercial world —instead of turning startups into full-fledged defense contractors.”
Companies include PeakMetrics, a media intelligence solution; Southie Autonomy, which is working on a no-code robot interface; and Vermeer, a company that does customized drone footage used by companies like HBO and Netflix.
The accelerator program is sponsored by the Air Force and BAE Systems FAST Labs, along with the Air Education and Training Command, the National Security Innovation Network (formerly MD5), AFWERX, the Air Force Research Lab and the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Tyndall Program Management Office (PMO). It’s organized and run by private-sector tech accelerator Techstars.
The Air Force doesn’t directly invest in participating companies as part of the program, but many separately win Small Business Innovation Research grant funding from the Air Force or elsewhere. Per the accelerator’s leadership, 19 of the program’s 20 alums have gone on to win SBIR contracts.
As FedScoop reported in November 2017, the accelerator initially grew out of a school project Capt. Steven D. Lauver and his classmates undertook while at Squadron Officer School in 2016. The accelerator ran its first cohort in 2018, and another in 2019.