Chris Moran, Vice President at Lockheed Martin Ventures speaks with TechConnect News.
What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?
At Lockheed Martin, our engineers build spacecraft that will likely take humans to Mars, they’re writing code for unmanned systems that save lives, and they’re building advanced aircraft that ensure our national security. Our investment interests are as diverse as these offerings.
We’re looking for portfolio companies that add to the advanced technologies powering our customers’ missions, so as you can imagine, the list of interests for us is extensive. Right now I’m focused on artificial intelligence, autonomy, sensor technologies, and data analytics. The full list of interests is on our website: lockheedmartin.com/ventures.
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for when making an investment?
We’re primarily looking for early-stage companies, the ones with what I call “perfect fit” technologies. These are the technologies we can help mature in the commercial space and bring into Lockheed Martin for defense applications.
It’s unlikely we will find complete systems that will meet the requirements of our customers, so our focus is mainly on components, materials and subsystems. Working at that level makes the investment attractive to more business areas within Lockheed Martin as well; increasing the likelihood of strategic benefit.
Please describe your firm’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.
While we’re developing lots of exciting technology within Lockheed Martin, we also want to be involved in great ideas emerging elsewhere. Lockheed Martin Ventures allows us to help those great ideas in the commercial space become reality while also giving our customers access to the best technology solutions.
Lockheed Martin Ventures is a long-term, strategic addition to Lockheed Martin. We’re focused primarily on strategic returns. One successful outcome we look for is investing in a company that has a technology in high demand commercially, giving it scale to reduce costs and improve capability and finding use on programs within Lockheed Martin. We have a chance here to make a big impact in the technologies that will define the future of the defense industry.
Why work with the TechConnect National Innovation Summit as a technology and early stage company prospector? Who are you looking to meet with?
As a world leader in aerospace and defense, we’re always looking for innovative ideas to help strengthen our customers’ missions. One of the ways we identify these top-notch technologies is by partnering with industry leaders and groups that bring innovations together. Working with TechConnect National Innovation Summit means we’ll have access to a strong caliber of talent and ideas. New ideas spur new ideas, so immersing ourselves in this environment is key to bringing the best technologies to our customers.
We recently hosted our first ever HeloPitch competition that challenged entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas at South by Southwest. Sounds simple, but it was in a helicopter flying 1,000 feet above the skies of Austin. South by Southwest was a gathering of some really innovative minds – culturally, scientifically, technologically – and we met with some great companies with HeloPitch. I’m looking forward to meeting with and learning from many small businesses at TechConnect.