The US Air Force Lab with MassChallenge Announces Top 10 Startups

BOSTON, MA – The US Air Force Lab with MassChallenge, an initiative to support the goal of innovation at speed for the defense industry, announced today the 10 SBIR Phase I-awarded startups that will participate in the inaugural program. The Air Force Research Labs, PEO Digital, PEO C3I&N, CROWS, and the Griffiss Institute have partnered with MassChallenge to de-risk and grow cutting edge technologies and startups that are addressing national security challenges.

Over the course of the program, the participating startups will receive essential, customized resources and connections to help them transition to their Phase II awards at a higher rate. These resources include everything from direct introductions to and mentoring from US Air Force end users and MassChallenge’s results-driven corporate networks to access to a robust ecosystem of defense innovation resources designed to promote transparency and to remove traditional roadblocks. The program will kick-off with an intensive virtual bootcamp on April 27. 

“MassChallenge’s startup-centered approach to acceleration will ensure that these companies are more effectively and efficiently able to bridge the “valley of death” between Phase I and Phase II awards. Additionally, partnering with key defense stakeholders will validate early-stage startups while helping to de-risk the development of these new applications,” said Cait Brumme, Managing Director of MassChallenge Boston. “Congratulations to the 10 startups selected – we look forward to working with you closely over the course of this program.”

2020 US Air Force Lab with MassChallenge Cohort

Agile Data Decisions LLC (Texas): Agile Data Decisions has developed iQC, a machine learning platform that can be easily trained by analysts or subject matter experts through an intuitive graphical user interface. The trained system then extracts user-relevant data from unstructured documents (PDFs, MS Office, Images, etc.), text files and even social media streams. iQC is being utilized by several Fortune 500 companies today to manage their unstructured data and automate workflows.

Airgility, Inc. (Maryland): Airgility’s technology focus is on Autonomous Systems having multi-modal sensing with on-board ML/traditional vision algorithms and non-GPS positioning/navigation. Existing development includes computationally lightweight algorithms using fused visual-inertial odometry and 2D lidar data running in parallel with deep learning; implemented within standalone systems such as fully autonomous drones operating in GPS-denied environments. We also develop intelligent ground vision camera systems.

Colvin Run Networks (Virginia): Colvin Run Networks is a full-stack defense-grade data & analytics solutions provider. Our AFWERX 20.1 offering in partnership with Allied Telesis, Tokalabs Software Defined Labs (SDL) enables on-demand sandboxing of physical and virtual network resources, eliminating the need for physical rewiring and manual configurations, saving IT configuration time while maximizing expensive, constrained IT resources. Tokalabs enables intelligent management, and codeless automation of virtual environments.

Jaxon, Inc. (Massachusetts): Jaxon is an AI-powered data labeler that amplifies human effort for training machine learning models. Currently focused on text data, Jaxon provides a platform for data science teams to automate the process of labeling data, supported by techniques such as weak supervision, noisy label calibration, and data augmentation. Jaxon produces high-quality training datasets in days vs months!

Lynq Technologies Inc. (New York): Lynq changes how devices are connected – peer-to-peer for miles without networks or infrastructure, in a manner that’s flexible and uniquely difficult to intercept and detect. Our technology adds mobility, security and network independence to data — extending the edge of connectivity, while allowing freedom from it. Selected to Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2018, early government sales, and a $1.7m consumer pre-sale (top .009% campaigns, all-time) demonstrate significant early demand.

Mesodyne (Massachusetts): Recent proliferation of smaller unmanned platforms like UAVs, USVS, and remote sensors is driving the need for compact power solutions with high energy density to enable long endurance. Batteries are reaching their limit. Mesodyne’s generators silently and efficiently convert any fuel to electricity in a portable form factor increasing runtime 10X over batteries alone resulting in increased capability and cost savings.

Pison (Massachusetts): Pison creates transformational human-computer interaction to expand the horizon of human capabilities. The company develops wearable devices that use biopotentials on the surface of the skin as input enabling intuitive and powerful gesture control of smartglasses and robotics. Vertically-integrated solutions combine hardware, software, machine learning, and UI for AR industries. Alpha units purchased by Microsoft for winter 2018. Investors and partners include Oculus, MIT, Draper, and the NSF.

Sema (Maryland): Sema solves the two most critical questions for any organization that has software engineers: How good are our (in-house/outsourced) engineers? How good is the code they have written? We answer for the private and public sectors.

Sensatek Propulsion Technology, Inc. (Florida): Sensatek helps propulsion system developers shorten development cycles by improving ability to refine component life predictions with on-blade sensors. Since blade metal surface temperatures can dictate blade life and hence the maintenance cycle, it is extremely important to detect it directly rather than the gas flow temperatures. Our sensors provide temperature data in realtime unlike other solutions that provides only the maximum temperatures experienced during engine tests.

SimX, Inc. (California): SimX is the first professional-grade wireless, multiplayer VR medical simulation. Physicians, nurses, and allied professionals can practice their skills on any virtual patient, in any environment, and with any scenario. SimX was designed by physicians at Stanford and UCSF and is already in use at top medical and nursing schools across the country. With SimX, simulation training can be performed with more realism and more flexibility at less than 1/10th the cost of mannequin simulation.
About the Digital Directorate

The mission of the Digital Directorate is to expedite delivery of, and effectively support, warfighting battle management systems in partnership with users and industry. The directorate is committed to inserting modern technologies into battle management systems and continues to lead the digital transition to agile acquisition. Headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, with operating locations across the country and overseas, 3,500 Airmen, government civilians and support contractors execute a $19 billion future years’ defense program portfolio. The Digital Directorate also has led the charge in DevSecOps and established the first software factory, called Kessel Run, which is focused on delivering combat capabilities while transforming Department of Defense culture and policies involving software and IT.

About the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks (C3I&N) Directorate

The C3I&N Directorate develops and acquires cyberspace, communication, cryptologic and space/nuclear network capabilities across and beyond the Air Force. The directorate enables decisive combat operations by delivering net-centric solutions to drive dynamic integration of information/systems on the network in support of air, space, and cyberspace domains. The directorate is comprised of more than 2,400 acquisition and product support professionals operating primarily at Hanscom AFB, MA, with operating locations across the country. C3I&N currently executes more than 300 major programs or activities, spanning the entire acquisition life cycle from developmental planning to operations and sustainment, as well as foreign military sales, using innovative, agile acquisition approaches. These actions are valued in excess of $12 billion across all appropriations, including active funding and the current future years’ defense program. The directorate is committed to implementing an organizational culture that embodies key Air Force priorities such as digital engineering and transformation, a DevSecOps environment, and Joint Aerial Domain Command and Control powered by Advanced Battle Management Systems.

About the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems

The Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems (CROWS) is an Air Force level, interdisciplinary organization established under the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics) to ensure Air Force weapon systems can perform their missions in a cyber-contested environment. CROWS partners with acquisition, operational and test communities to assess the fielded fleet with Program Executive Offices to prototype mitigation solutions. CROWS also delivers tools, cyber-focused intelligence, a common security environment, education, training, and a cyber-savvy workforce to program offices—providing them the capability to do for their systems what CROWS does for the Acquisition Enterprise.

About MassChallenge

MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators. Headquartered in the United States with locations in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island, Switzerland, and Texas, MassChallenge is committed to strengthening the global innovation ecosystem by supporting high-potential startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world. To date, more than 2,400 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $6.2 B in funding, generated more than $3B in revenue, and created more than 157,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at