Lockheed Martin Doubles Ventures Fund as It Hunts for Future Tech Startups
Lockheed plans to continue investing in companies with disruptive technology.
Defense giant Lockheed Martin doubled its venture capital fund from $200 million to $400 million as it looks to increase investments in startups.
The money will be used to invest in new companies and to boost investments in companies already funded through the venture fund, said Chris Moran, executive director and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures.
“We find that the best value as well as the best tech is when we talk to the earlier stage companies,” Moran said in an interview. “We're trying to spend more time with universities, we're trying to spend more time with incubators, and where early stage companies are formed and try to get involved early with these companies.”
The doubling of investment funds “gives us a lot of headroom to operate,” Moran said. Lockheed has already doubled the size of its venture arm’s staff from six to 12. The fund has invested in more than five dozen companies that specialize in technology for artificial intelligence, autonomy, quantum computing, space, synthetic biology, and more.
One of its portfolio companies is a supplier for a Lockheed contract to build communications satellites for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency, Moran said.
“It's been a few months of effort on my part to show the leadership here that there's enough going on with the defense space and national security investing, that we could be an even bigger player,” he said.
Lockheed, which launched its investment arm in 2007, was an early leader among large defense firms, most of which have since begun investing in startups, particularly ones that focus on dual-use technology: items of interest to commercial as well as defense markets.
Last year, Boeing spun off its HorizonX venture arm to AE Industrial Partners, then in July announced it would take a 20-percent stake in a new $250 million venture fund overseen by AEI HorizonX. The money will be used "to invest in transformative aerospace technologies.”
In May, Raytheon Technologies’ RTX Ventures made its first investment in Hypersonic aircraft startup Hermeus. Earlier this year, L3Harris Technologies formed a strategic partnership with Shield Capital, a venture capital firm that also focuses its investments in companies with unique dual-use technologies.