Weaponized off-the-shelf drones are a growing problem for U.S. troops, in part because commercial tech moves faster than the Pentagon programs that aim to counter it. So four U.S. Air Force captains took a novel approach to the problem.
Working under AFWERX, the Air Force’s new tech innovation program,they partnered with tech accelerator Techstars to find start-ups and early-stage companies whose tech might help stop drones. But instead of turning these companies into standard defense contractors, they are aiming to help them mature into businesses that thrive on commercial sales as well.
Techstars is what’s known as a technology accelerator, an investor that takes under his or her wing a cohort of early-stage businesses that already have viable products or technologies. Working against a fixed (if arbitrary and self-imposed) deadline, the accelerator provides mentorship, financing, education, and sometimes logistical or office support to get the companies to the next