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Embedded Ventures Announces 'First of its Kind' Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with United States Space Force

Press Release From: Embedded Ventures
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Embedded Ventures, a new venture capital firm investing in dual-use space startups beyond launch, today announced an unprecedented multi-year agreement with United States Space Force (USSF)'s SpaceWERX office. SpaceWERX is expanding the space industrial base by forming collaborative research agreements between the military's operational experts and the top innovators in industry and academia, leveraging commercial investment, and rapidly pursuing new space technologies, while setting ambitious goals since its creation. The arrangement, established via a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) through the Air Force Research Lab's Technology Transfer Office in New Mexico, enables the two entities to collaborate on research and development opportunities promoting U.S. space industry growth to prepare for the future of an expanded space economy and for the defense of U.S. interests. This agreement marks the first time in history that the USSF has signed a CRADA with a VC firm.

"As the skunkworks of venture capital firms, we knew we wanted to do things differently from the start. We are honored to partake in the first formal VC partnership with USSF," said Jenna Bryant, Co-Founder, CEO and General Partner of Embedded Ventures. "We've been in communication for months, but with this CRADA now in place, we're thrilled to formally work together to drive success at both organizations. This agreement also impacts me on a personal level, as my brother is a Marine Corps V-22 Pilot, and I want to see our soldiers have access to the best private innovation we can find."

"Jenna first envisioned the potential for this type of collaboration when she brought senior Department of Defense leaders and I together a few years ago, even before Embedded Ventures existed," said Jordan Noone, Co-Founder, CTO, and General Partner of Embedded Ventures. "We're thrilled to be the first VC firm to have such an agreement with USSF, guiding progress for years to come."

The parties will collaboratively investigate the potential benefits of leveraging VC investment practices to accelerate the pace of change and innovation. They will also examine the USSF industry business relationships to define future methods for investment into the VC ecosystem. Embedded Ventures and USSF will be meeting regularly to discuss progress related to tangible milestones set forth.

There were additional key personnel who helped to orchestrate this alliance, including Mandy Vaughn, Operating Partner at Embedded Ventures, Col. Nathan Diller, Director of AFWERX, Col. Eric Felt, Director of AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate, Gabe Mounce, Deputy Director at SpaceWERX, and Melissa Ortiz, Agreements Specialist for AFRL's Tech Transfer Office in New Mexico.

"SpaceWERX is excited to formalize this agreement with Embedded Ventures, creating a highly collaborative and efficient workflow between our two groups, while keeping us all accountable,'' said Lt. Col. Walter "Rock" McMillan, Director of SpaceWERX. "From the moment I met Jenna, Jordan and Mandy, I knew they were the right team to launch this unique cooperative research and development agreement. They possess the talent, insight and all the necessary ingredients to be leading the next generation of space investment."

"Space is inherently different in that it leverages commercial industry as an integral part of every space capability," said Mandy Vaughn, Operating Partner at Embedded Ventures. "This relationship is a tangible first step for us. I think that it shows that a key element of their own success is to tap into the emerging companies and sectors that firms, like Embedded Ventures, were established to foster."

ABOUT EMBEDDED VENTURES

Launched in 2020, Embedded Ventures is a next generation venture capital firm investing in dual-use space startups beyond launch, best described as "the skunkworks of Venture Capital," named both for their unique investment approach and backgrounds. Co-Founders Jenna Bryant and Jordan Noone both have atypical industry experiences and strong passions for the communities they represent. The firm prefers to invest in the pre-seed and seed stage startups focused in the advanced/edge computing, quantum systems, defense and security, communication infrastructure, logistics and supply chain, mining, battery/power systems, material science, advanced peripherals, aerial mobility, dual-use technology, drone technology, U.S. manufacturing, biotech/biochem and sustainability sectors. To learn more about Embedded Ventures, please visit its website, Medium, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube pages.

Jenna Bryant moved to Los Angeles from Alabama to complete her BS degree in Apparel Design. Post-graduation, she took a job that was originally meant to be temporary, specializing in recruiting "hard to fill" engineering roles for early-stage startups in L.A. This led to an unexpected permanent shift for Jenna, who has now spent the last decade as a tech recruiter turned Venture Capitalist, Bryant has invested in and helped build some of the most notable early-stage startups in the country from the ground up.

Jordan Noone has had a lifelong interest in aerospace and began designing and building spaceflight hardware at the University of Southern California. Noone led USC's Rocket Propulsion Lab and became the first student and youngest individual in the world to receive Federal Aviation Administration clearance to fly a rocket into space. After graduating, Noone worked at SpaceX and later co-founded and was the CTO of 3D-printing rocket startup Relativity Space, most recently valued at $4.2B.

Mandy Vaughn is a long-time advocate for the acceleration of the integration of commercial space technology into National Security systems and missions. After receiving a bachelor's and master's degree from MIT, she was an astronautical engineer and program manager in the U.S. Air Force and later with General Dynamics, working a variety of Space Superiority and other key national security mission areas. She was the first President of VOX Space at Virgin Orbit, offering their small launch vehicle system to the national security sector. She is also the Founder & CEO of GXO, Inc. where she helps mature companies move into the national security market, and is an Operating Partner at Embedded Ventures, supporting their growing portfolio of space startups beyond launch.

ABOUT SpaceWERX

Headquartered at the Los Angeles AFWERX hub, SpaceWERX inspires and empowers collaboration with innovators to accelerate capabilities and shape our future in space. Major technology trends that affect our national security continue to emerge from private industry, academia, and the government. The U.S. Space Force's competitive advantage is our ability to identify, validate, acquire, and integrate those technologies quickly. Accordingly, SpaceWERX seeks to form collaborative partnerships between the military's operational experts and the top problem solvers in industry, academia, and the government.

For more information:

Ian Guss, High10 Media for Embedded Ventures, ian@high10media.com  

Luis Cordova, luis.cordova@afwerx.af.mil

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