Picogrid’s founders Martin Slosarik (left) and Zane Mountcastle (right). (Photo courtesy Picogrid/PRNewswire)

Picogrid’s technology helps connect sensors, cameras, and unmanned systems with the software systems that increasingly depend on them.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—Defense technology startup Picogrid is working to create an open system of defense technology suppliers by building a unified platform for autonomous systems. The company’s technology helps connect and remotely control sensors, drones, command interfaces, and other notoriously fragmented defense systems.

Picogrid’s founders, Zane Mountcastle and Martin Slosarik, began building defense technology more than a decade ago, developing autonomous systems in their dorm rooms and then as contractors for the U.S. Army. As young technology developers, what they saw in the industry provided the impetus for their new venture.

“It was a gut punch as an engineer trained in modern software,” Mountcastle recalled in a company release. “Every sensor, plane, vehicle, and command center operates as an independent system,  with no way to work together.”

Picogrid is working to address these challenges. Its technology is said to help integrate the devices that the military increasingly depends on, using modern hardware and software to route data to and from systems deployed all over the world.

The core of Picogrid’s technology lies in its cloud-based API, called Legion, that’s used to connect and control various third-party autonomous systems. These include drones, unmanned vehicles, and AI-driven surveillance tools, all working together in a cohesive and intelligent ecosystem.

“Our platform is a paradigm shift in defense operations, offering unprecedented levels of coordination and real-time intelligence,” Mountcastle said in the release. “It’s not just about having the most sophisticated defense systems; it’s about how these systems work together as a singular force. The integration of our most advanced defense systems is the difference between deterrence and vulnerability.”

Picogrid reported that it recently raised $12 in seed funding led by Initialized Capital, with participation by Starburst Ventures, Credo Ventures, Giant Step Capital, Domino Ventures, and Alumni Ventures. The company described the funding as a pivotal step that will allow it to accelerate product development, ramp up manufacturing with the opening of its second factory in Lawton, Oklahoma, and forge partnerships with defense sector OEMs.

“Picogrid aims to enable the quick integration of emerging hardware and software systems—from small sensors to large UAVs to emerging AI and sensor fusion applications—into military operations,” the company said in the release. “The investment signifies growth for the company and a leap forward for the defense industry and global security. With Picogrid’s technology, the future of defense is smarter, more connected, more efficient, and better poised to meet the challenges of today.”

According to Picogrid, it has won more than a dozen federal contracts since its launch, including a $1 billion IDIQ contract from the Pentagon. The company said its technology serves ongoing military operations on bases across the United States and is used by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on the front lines of the war in Ukraine.

“The Pentagon has made integration of major defense systems a big priority over the next few years as the risk of near-peer conflict grows year-over-year,” said Kim-Mai Cutler, a partner at Initialized Capital, in the release. “Picogrid is well-positioned to make sure that disparate vendors and technology providers can interface with each other to support U.S. and international security needs.”