Defense: Picogrid Raises $12 Million

Defense: Picogrid Raises $12 Million

El Segundo-based defense technology company Picogrid Inc. has raised $12 million of seed funding. The funding round was led by Initialized Capital Management LLC and included participation from El Segundo-based Starburst Ventures, Credo Ventures Inc., Giant Step Capital, Domino Ventures Management and Alumni Ventures LLC.

Picogrid is developing a grid-based system that can integrate and remotely control sensors, drones, command interfaces and other defense-system elements. Co-founders Zane Mountcastle and Martin Slosarik previously worked as contractors for the Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and later created Picogrid to address the fragmentation of defense systems’ hardware and software components. Mountcastle and Slosarik now serve as Picogrid’s chief executive and chief operating officer, respectively.

“It was a gut punch as an engineer trained in modern software,” Mountcastle said in a statement. “Every sensor, plane, vehicle and command center operates as an independent system with no way to work together.”

Since its launch in 2021, Picogrid has won more than 20 contracts with the Department of Defense. It won a $950 million contract from the Pentagon last summer to help the Air Force connect sensors from all military sources. 

“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,” Initialized Capital partner Kim-Mai  Cutler said.

 Mountcastle said that the platform can provide “unprecedented levels” of control and real-time intelligence to military clients. 

“It’s not just about having the most sophisticated defense systems, it’s about how these systems work together as a singular force,” Mountcastle said. 

A core part of Picogrid’s technology is its cloud-based application programming interface, called Legion. Legion can connect and remotely control third-party autonomous systems such as drones, unmanned vehicles and artificial intelligence-enabled surveillance tools. 

The company’s technology is currently being used in ongoing military operations across the nation, and by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Picogrid said it will use its new seed funding to accelerate product development, pursue further partnerships with the defense sector’s equipment manufacturers and open a second factory location in Lawton, Oklahoma.

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