Disclaimer: “The opinions stated herein are those of Warren Katz, and do not reflect the position of the US Air Force.”
Warren Katz, Managing Director of the Techstars Autonomous Technology Accelerator with the US Air Force (techstars.com), provides a detailed analysis of the current state of technology startups, and the assistance his company can deliver to steer them in the right direction, help them reach their goals, and launch their products faster. Warren Katz is the managing director of Techstars Autonomous Technology Accelerator with the US Air Force, a partnership designed to increase active engagement between promising startups with state-of-the-art counter-drone technologies, and the Department of Defense.
Katz was President of Neurala, a top artificial intelligence company that is focused on AI with continuous learning. Additionally, Katz co-founded MÄK Technologies, which was later acquired by VT Systems of Alexandria, Virginia. Katz is a mentor to many industry leaders as well as an angel investor who notably invested in Harmonix, GrabCAD, Neurala, Oblong, Bevi, LovePop, and PetNet. He holds bachelor’s degrees in both mechanical and electrical engineering from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Katz discusses his work with the US Air Force to help them keep pace with emerging commercial technologies. But beyond the US Air Force, many private sector companies are also looking to Techstars to accelerate their connections to the latest technology. Techstars’ team combs through thousands of startups and selects an elite group of the most viable and commercially relevant, that are either currently manufacturing or about to manufacture groundbreaking technology. After the selections are made, Techstars vets those selected and assists them with advanced development toward their launch. Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed while helping companies access the technology they need. And Techstars Corporate Partners provides powerful industry expertise by offering hands-on mentorship, as well as strategic business development, and access to abundant resources to help startups accelerate their overall progress toward their goals. And with 150 countries involved, 10,000 mentors, and 300,000 alumni, it’s clear that valuable connections are being made.
The technology expert discusses some of the hard problems that the Department of Defense (DOD) faces in its struggle to bring the best tech on board. He states that while the DOD has big pockets, their money does not flow as easily as some private industry companies, and the wheels for progress are often slower moving. For these and other reasons, Katz states that many of the best tech startups are choosing to work in the private sector to avoid headaches and to accelerate their progress. Thus, Katz is helping the US Air Force to streamline their process, to make it easier for the best and brightest startups to say yes to working with them first. By combining outside money with the startup, the DOD can accelerate their process as well, and be less drained financially as two separate teams are working to advance the technology and deliver robust products.
Katz gives an overview of some of the most exciting technology startups that he is working with. From blockchain advances to invisible ink and specialty drones, the technology products are diverse and offer amazing advances for the public and private sector. He discusses drones that attack other drones, a technology that can map cellular and WIFI signals and locate unauthorized or enemy equipment, drone-based radiation detectors, and more. As technology and autonomous products continue to advance, Katz expects to see many probes and unmanned devices taking their place on the battlefield and in the private industry world as well.