Vigilant Aerospace, based in Oklahoma, has received $1.59 million in debt financing, according to the company’s SEC filings in late May.
The financing is from a variety of angels – including, according to Pitchbook, the Cowboy Technology Angels, Tonic Fund, Kluz Ventures, and Lubbock Angel Network. The company is a developer of a software tool for manned and unmanned aircraft management.
Vigilant Aerospace has an exclusive license to use a NASA patent associated with autonomous aircraft avoidance and aircraft management. Using this patent and integrating manned aircraft operation support systems, Vigilant created the FlightHorizon platform, their proprietary software system. This platform has three basic modules – GCS which provides ground-based collision avoidance tools, COMMANDER which provides airspace management systems for fleet managers, and PILOT which will provide transponder and radar data to help autopilot systems.
The founders of the company include serial entrepreneur, Kraettli Epperson, who has started multiple companies in the United States and Europe. He started the company with the help of Cimarron Capital which has offices in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Together the founders identified the opportunity to commercialize NASA’s technology and bring it to market for manned and autonomous aircraft.
Epperson stated In a 2016 press release announcing the licensing of NASA’s tools, “We were excited about licensing this technology because we see the potential for these particular inventions to not only make significant contributions to flight safety for both manned and unmanned aircraft in the short term, but also to become a platform technology for the future of flight automation in the longer term.”
Since that time, Vigilant Aerospace has evolved along this trajectory – providing multiple products that execute on that vision.
This round of financing included the Cowboy Technology Angels, an angel group that backs companies with ties to Oklahoma State University. The products created by Vigilant Aerospace align well with Oklahoma State because of the ties between the SBA’s UAS cluster in Oklahoma and the density of teaching and research expertise at Oklahoma State.
In addition, the company received money from the Tonic Fund, Kluz Ventures, and the Lubbock Angel Network. Tonic has a broad Midwestern portfolio – but is based in Northwest Arkansas and run by Jeff Amerine. Kluz is a private investment firm based in the DC area that identifies and invests in new technologies that “will revolutionize our world.”
The Lubbock Angel Network is based in Lubbock, Texas with the goal of helping grow the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. It has made more than twenty investments with more than $3 million deployed since inception.
Vigilant continues to expand its operation in Oklahoma and is in the process of marketing and building its new products.
For more information on the company, see their website at www.vigilantaerospace.com.