Techstars Picked These 10 Companies to Advance the Future of Space Exploration

Techstars announced its second class of Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator on Monday, a mentorship-driven accelerator based in Los Angeles that aims to help build the next generation of space technology companies.

The class of 10 companies come from Los Angeles, Toronto, Singapore, Poland and states across the U.S. Among them is a company that provides a user-friendly AR/VR platform for use in education and training, a developer of an advanced AI system for data scientists; and an air contamination and quality monitoring system.

Due to COVID-19, the program is being run virtually this year. The accelerator's program partners include the U.S. Air Force, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industries North America, SAIC and Maxar Technology.

The partner agencies helped select the companies to participate in the program. Each partner agency will provide 10 to 30 mentors, usually executive level or officers from the commercial, civil and military worlds to provide guidance, contacts and help bring the early-stage company to maturity, said Matt Kozlov, the program's managing director.

"Our partners are looking for ways they can work closely not just as a mentor, but to get a commercial agreement, pilot, grant or contracts in place with the startup," Kozlov said.

While roughly half the mentors come from agency partners, the remaining half will be from the broader space and technology industry, including those with SpaceX and Relativity.

The program's predicate is helping companies achieve several years of commercial growth in three months.

Kozlov said most of the companies come in beyond the prototype stage and are about as far along in development as a company in its early commercial days.

More than half of this new class are made up of white men. Kozlov didn't specify the exact number, but said the program needed to do better.

"It's never enough," Kozlov said. "The aerospace and defense sector in particular has struggled. It has been an industry famously dominated by mostly white men. We strive for diversity of background and gender and race and geography as well. We continue to struggle and continue to strive for improvements. At the end of the day, we are not satisfied right now with how we're doing. We need to do better."

The accelerator runs for three months and its demo day is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Per Techstars, here are the 10 companies:

  • Bifrost, which lets you build AI 10x faster by allowing AI developers to generate labelled datasets.
  • Holos, which provides a user-friendly AR/VR software platform that's revolutionizing education, training, and military command and control.
  • Infinite Composites Technologies, which aims to make the most efficient composite pressure vessels and structures in the universe.
  • Lux Semiconductors, which is developing next generation System-on-Foil flexible electronics.
  • Natural Intelligence Systems, which is developing advanced AI systems that provide deeper insight and allows data scientists to focus on results instead of data prep.
  • Prewitt Ridge is developing engineering augmentation software to help engineers design and build complex engineering systems.
  • SATIM Inc., which is a fintech company providing insights on risks related to critical, linear infrastructure.
  • Urban Sky, which provides a stratospheric remote sensing vehicle, the Microballoon, delivers the lowest cost, highest resolution Earth Observation data available.
  • vRotors, which brings telerobotics to everyone: remotely control any partner robot or drone in the world from your PC or VR headset.
  • WeavAir, which offers the most accurate platform for monitoring air contamination, air quality and mechanical system failure using a combination of networked sensor modules and predictive algorithms.

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