Richmond, VA, July 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds, the direct investment program of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA) Investment Division, has made a follow-on investment in Alexandria, Va.-based SCOUT. SCOUT is the developer of systems to give spacecraft vision, and de-risk the space ecosystem. Since its initial CIT GAP Funds investment in June 2020, SCOUT has continued to grow, meeting their fundraising and technical milestones while engaging in strategic partnerships with satellite industry players. The startup will use this latest investment to support initial pilots as well as research and development into systems to enable better in-space situational awareness.
Satellites in orbit are flying blind, and their number is expected to increase tenfold over the next decade. As the number of active satellites and debris grows, the possibility of collisions will follow. Evaluating potential spacecraft collisions, known as conjunctions, is time-consuming and costly, and the number of conjunctions is rising exponentially. On top of that, when a collision occurs, it can result in billions of dollars in losses. The space industry is in need of enhanced spacecraft capabilities, both for awareness and to facilitate complex maneuvering.
“The space industry is growing, and is becoming a more realistic and viable avenue for business growth and investment. As a result, growth in the space industry necessitates more awareness and capabilities, and we are here to provide that,” said Eric Ingram, CEO of SCOUT. “By providing each customer’s satellite Local Situational Awareness, we can reduce risks and downtime for them. Once our vision systems are proliferated throughout orbit, it will create a decentralized sensor network that will change the risk profile for space operations. We thank CIT GAP Funds for their continued support as we expand our operations.”
SCOUT’s mission is to make space a safer place to operate and prevent both collisions and failures from happening. Their first product, SCOUT-Vision, de-risks space operations by giving “dash-cams” to every satellite, allowing small satellites to work together in a global network to produce high fidelity data on what is going on in space. From there, the company intends to operate its own sensing spacecraft, and eventually perform in-space inspections of high value satellites. SCOUT recently passed a major milestone in building spaceflight heritage, as they launched their first pilot mission to space on the SpaceX Transporter-2 flight earlier this month.
“SCOUT’s leadership team is uniquely qualified to address the market challenge of de-risking space operations and aiding in space traffic management. Over the last year, they have demonstrated positive growth by taking a unique approach to maximize their success,” said Marco Rubin, Senior Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds. “Their expansion into the Houston commercial innovation space last Summer is a sign of great things to come. We look forward to being a part of their journey as they continue to grow.”
About SCOUT Inc.
SCOUT was founded in 2019 following the loss of one of our own satellites to unknown causes. Our mission is to give spacecraft the ability to see and avoid potential threats. SCOUT’s passive sensor hardware and control software enhances resolution of space objects by up to 1000 times, enabling on-board vision, detection, and avoidance. The company is a Techstars and venture-backed startup, and a 2020 MassChallenge Gold Winner. For more information, visit www.scout.space.
About CIT GAP Funds | Investment Division | Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA)
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean energy, and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating a significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since its inception in 2005, CIT GAP Funds has deployed $32.4 million in capital across more than 240 portfolio companies, including 17 companies in designated Opportunity Zones. CIT GAP Funds’ investment decisions are guided by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel has drawn from the expertise of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel, and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit https://www.cit.org/gap-investment-funds.html.
About the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA)
The Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA) was established in 2020 to support the life cycle of innovation, from translational research; to entrepreneurship; to pre-seed and seed-stage funding, as well as acceleration, growth, and commercialization, resulting in the creation of new jobs and company formation. The Authority provides a collaborative, consistent, and consolidated approach that will assist the Commonwealth in identifying its entrepreneurial strengths, including the identification of talents and resources that make the Commonwealth a unique place to grow and attract technology-based businesses. The VIPA, with CIT as its operating arm, brings together components of existing and new program activities in an approach through which the whole is greater than the sum of the individual programs. VIPA’s design includes governance and management capabilities to ensure that programs generate transformative and measurable results. For more information, please visit www.cit.org/vipa.
About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing in Virginia’s Growth | CIT, the not-for-profit operations arm of VIPA, accelerates next-generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives. Programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit www.cit.org. You can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.