AFWERX, SpaceWERX announce Strategic Funding Increase selections at South by Southwest

Austin, Texas - AFWERXthe innovation arm of the Department of the Air Force and driven by the Air Force Research Laboratoryand SpaceWERXthe innovation arm of the U.S. Space Force and a unique division within AFWERX, announced the 2024 Program Year Strategic Funding Increase, or STRATFI, a contract that awards selections from its eligible Phase II applicants in the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, in March. 8, 2024.

Director of AFWERX and Director of Marketing for the Department of the Air Force, Colonel Elliott Leighmade the announcement during his keynote speech titled "Pursuing Innovation: Lessons Learned," at capital factorythe home of AFWERX's Austin Hub.

"Our growth stage investment programs, Strategic Funding Raise and Tactical Funding Raise, are an integral part of AFWERX and SpaceWERX's vision to forge an innovation ecosystem that delivers disruptive capabilities in air and space," he said. Leigh. “By deliberately engaging with Space Force Deltas, Air Force Major Commands, Program Executive Offices, and Department of the Air Force Senior Acquisition leadership, we are deploying dollars at scale, both government and private investment.” , to accelerate the development of strategic capabilities. “I am impressed by the scope and diversity of capabilities presented in response to the Year 24 Program opportunity and am excited to see the outcome of the continued development of these capabilities in the coming years.”

STRATFI is an effort by both AFWERX and SpaceWERX to help Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, and Small Business Technology Transfer, or STTR, projects navigate the difficult transition between development and full production. . This multi-year infusion of funds gives small businesses the opportunity to find the investors they need and the ability to continue research and development as they move toward full capacity.

Funding amounts within the STRATFI program range from $3 million to $15 million for each defense project. The combined program year 24 cohort for AFWERX and SpaceWERX represents a total of $193 million in SBIR/STTR funds, $419 million in government matching funds, and $187 million in private matching funds. Small businesses that have received an SBIR/STTR Phase II grant within the previous 24 months are eligible to apply for the STRATFI program.

This year's AFWERX STRATFI picks supporting the US Air Force are:

  • 3D scanning and visualization using AI and XR, Grid Raster, Inc.
  • Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System, Red Six Aerospace, Inc.
  • Bedrock ASIC Secure Processor, Idaho Scientific
  • BESPIN CloudOps with Trek10, Trek10, Inc.
  • Bomber Robotics, Wilder Systems, Inc.
  • Control Systems for Coordinated Operations (CoSyCO), Coherent Technical Services, Inc.
  • Virtual Reality Core Environment, HAVIK Solutions, LLC
  • Future Vision: Actionable Intelligence at the Tactical Edge, Reveal Technology, Inc.
  • Model one, Istari Federal LLC
  • Service Design Accelerator, Skylight Inc.
  • Tactical AI, EpiSys Science, Inc.

"I am incredibly proud of the progress the team has made in expediting the review, selection and award processes to significantly reduce the reporting timeline and build a robust program capable of offering multiple opportunities throughout the year," said Daniel Carroll, director by AFWERX AFVentures. “We are excited to collaborate with our government, industry and private investment partners to execute this bridge program from SBIR/STTR Phase II to operational use and commercialization.”

This year's SpaceWERX STRATFI selections supporting the US Space Force are:

  • GEO Satellite Service Vehicle, Starfish Space, Inc.
  • Hybrid Space Optical SATCOM, Skyloom Global Corp
  • Integrated digital platform, Defense Unicorns, Inc.
  • Mobile autonomous robotic swarms, Lunar Outpost, Inc.
  • Proliferated GEO SATCOM, Astranis Space Technologies Corp

"The STRATFI program is advancing innovative end-to-end capabilities for the United States Space Force," said Arthur Grijalva, director of SpaceWERX. "These innovative ideas, technologies and capabilities are what we need to compete and win as a nation."

For the program's 24th year cycle, Space Ventures and AFVentures have continued to improve and expand the program. The team implemented new tools, streamlined processes, reduced the reporting timeline by more than 50%, and engaged senior leaders to find and fund programs with the greatest possible impact on the Department of the Air Force's strategic vision. New to the PY24 Notice of Opportunity, STRATFI filings required a government advocate to file the application.

Once the STRATFI contract is awarded, the partner government organization works with the successful small business to execute the contract. The ultimate goal is to transition the technology to a Phase III contract that will allow the effort to be fully implemented and leveraged within the supporting customer organization, AFWERX officials said. During the term of the contract, the AFVentures STRATFI execution team works with the technical point of contact to track contract progress, milestones and performance.

The STRATFI and TACFI teams will launch the Program Year 24.2 Space Presentation Opportunity in mid-March. These programs require different levels of matching funds and pathways for defense and industry matching. For more information, click here.

As the innovation arm of DAF and leadership within the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFWERX brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and startups to address DAF's most pressing challenges. AFWERX employs approximately 370 military, civilian and contractors across five centers and sites executing an annual budget of $1.4 billion. Since 2019, AFWERX has executed 6,028 new contracts worth more than $4 billion to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive a faster technological transition to operational capability. For more information visit:

About SpaceWERX
As the innovation arm of the U.S. Space Force and unique division within AFWERX, SpaceWERX inspires and empowers collaboration with innovators to accelerate capabilities and shape our future in space. Headquartered in Los Angeles, SpaceWERX employs 40 military, civilian and contractors and runs an annual budget of $457 million. Additionally, SpaceWERX partners with Space Systems Command's Commercial Space Office (COMSO) as a collaborative program. Since aligning under AFRL in August 2021, SpaceWERX has executed 906 contracts worth more than $690 million to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive a faster technological transition to operational capability. For more information visit

About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the Department of the Air Force's primary scientific research and development center. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfare technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. With a workforce of more than 12,500 people across nine technology areas and 40 other operations worldwide, AFRL offers a diverse science and technology portfolio ranging from fundamental to advanced technology research and development. For more information visit

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