Lockheed Martin has doubled a fund used to invest in start-up companies using $100 million that was made available by tax reform savings.
The 18-month-old Lockheed Martin Ventures fund now has $200 million and plans to ramp up investments in autonomy and advanced manufacturing.
The goal is to make investments that “will grow our business and disrupt our industry”, says Chris Moran, vice-president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures.
Lockheed Martin Ventures is part of a wave of venture capital funds established by aerospace and defence companies in the last three years. Airbus operates the A3 technology accelerator in Silicon Valley and Boeing invests in multiple start-ups using the HorizonX organization.
Each of the companies had made similar investments in start-ups before creating venture capital funds. Lockheed, for example, has described investing $100 million in 22 start-up companies or spin-offs between 2007 and 2016.
After establishing Lockheed Martin Ventures in 2016, the fund has announced placing investments in unmanned maritime vehicle developer Ocean Aero and nanosatellite expert Terran Orbital.
Another start-up company on Lockheed’s radar was nTopology, creator of a software tool called ELEMENT, which is dedicated additive manufacturing machines.
“Our investment in nTopology will bring strategic advantages in Lockheed Martin's computational design processes and help shorten the periods between the design and manufacturing phase,” says Chris Moran, vice-president of Lockheed Martin Ventures.