Firm seeks commercialization of defense innovations

September 12, 2012

A Boston-based investment firm says it has reached agreements aimed at commercializing innovations from four Defense Department laboratories, including the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Crane Division in Indiana.

Privately held Allied Minds said Wednesday that the other deals are with the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground; the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen; and the Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif.

The company said it's the first time these laboratories have partnered with a private investment firm to bring products to market.

Allied Minds said it's prepared to invest $100 million in the ventures.

The projects include technologies to alleviate wireless data congestion and increase Internet security.

The arrangement may create hundreds of jobs in 20 new subsidiaries in the first year of operations, said Chris Silva, CEO of Allied Minds. The company, which serves as a holding company for subsidiaries, is funded through investors that include Atlanta-based Invesco Ltd., according to Silva.

“It is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership between a U.S. investment group and DOD labs,” Silva said, referring to the Department of Defense.

While the Pentagon traditionally advertises new technologies to license them to private companies for commercial use, the partnerships will let Allied Minds continuously search for promising opportunities and “shorten the commercialization cycle,” Silva said.

A March 19 Pentagon notice from Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, revised rules in an effort to “promote research and development within the commercial sector of the U.S. economy, and the transfer of technology from the military to the commercial sector.”

Pam Keeton, a spokeswoman for Aerospace Corp., said Allied Minds “came to Aerospace with a proposal to make it easier to transfer technologies, and was selected after a review of several companies because of its experience with labs, universities and organizations similar to ours.”

Silva said the agreements have already led to creation of two subsidiaries that have been in business for a few weeks. The first is intended to provide technology to make the wireless spectrum more efficient as mobile devices consume more data. The second provides a new way to transmit data on the internet that is more secure, Silva said.

Allied Minds sees business opportunities through federal lab research in such fields as cybersecurity, wireless communications and power storage and energy, he said.

 

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