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Defense Startup Picogrid Raises $12M to Connect Defense Systems

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 26, 2024-- Picogrid, a defense technology startup, announces a $12 million seed round led by Initialized Capital with participation by Starburst Ventures, Credo Ventures, Giant Step Capital, Domino Ventures, and Alumni Ventures. Picogrid builds a unified platform for autonomous systems, creating an open ecosystem of defense technology suppliers. The company's technology helps connect and remotely control sensors, drones, command interfaces, and other notoriously fragmented defense systems.

Founders Zane Mountcastle and Martin Slosarik began building defense technology over a decade ago, developing autonomous systems first in their dorm rooms and then as contractors for the U.S. Army. Zane recalls, "It was a gut punch as an engineer trained in modern software. Every sensor, plane, vehicle, and command center operates as an independent system with no way to work together." Built to address these challenges, Picogrid's technology helps integrate the devices that the military increasingly depends on, using modern hardware and software to route data to and from systems deployed all over the world.

The core of Picogrid's technology lies in Legion, its cloud-based API used to connect and control various third-party autonomous systems. This includes drones, unmanned vehicles, and AI-driven surveillance tools, all working together in a cohesive and intelligent ecosystem. "Our platform is a paradigm shift in defense operations, offering unprecedented levels of coordination and real-time intelligence," says Zane Mountcastle, Co-Founder and CEO of Picogrid. "It's not just about having the most sophisticated defense systems; it's about how these systems work together as a singular force. The integration of our most advanced defense systems is the difference between deterrence and vulnerability."

Early customer signals are a sign of great things to come. Since its launch, Picogrid has won over a dozen federal contracts, including a $1B IDIQ contract from the Pentagon. The company's technology serves ongoing military operations on bases across the United States and is used by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on the front lines of the war in Ukraine.

Kim-Mai Cutler, a partner at Initialized Capital, said "The Pentagon has made integration of major defense systems a big priority over the next few years as the risk of near-peer conflict grows year-over-year. Picogrid is well-positioned to make sure that disparate vendors and technology providers can interface with each other to support U.S. and international security needs."

This funding is a pivotal step for Picogrid, allowing it to accelerate product development, ramp up manufacturing with the opening of its second factory in Lawton, Oklahoma, and forge partnerships within the defense sector OEMs. Picogrid aims to enable the quick integration of emerging hardware and software systems—from small sensors to large UAVs to emerging AI and sensor fusion applications—into military operations. The investment signifies growth for the company and a leap forward for the defense industry and global security. With Picogrid's technology, the future of defense is smarter, more connected, more efficient, and better poised to meet the challenges of today.

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About Picogrid

Picogrid is a defense technology company that builds a unified platform for autonomous systems. The company's technology helps connect sensors, cameras, and unmanned systems with the software systems that increasingly depend on them. Based in El Segundo, CA, Picogrid's vision is to build the foundational infrastructure to enable a new defense industrial base. Picogrid now serves military customers across the United States and beyond.

About Initialized Capital

Initialized Capital is an early-stage venture firm that invests with conviction before it's obvious. We're a diverse group of founders, builders, and operators who understand how hard it is to build a company. We back visionaries using software to make civilization better and support them through product-market fit and beyond. We're early believers in companies like Coinbase, Instacart, Flexport, and Cruise. Initialized's portfolio — which spans over six core funds — is worth close to $200 billion in market value with 25 companies valued at $1 billion or more and 5 valued over $10 billion.

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