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The U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center has awarded Gecko Robotics an 18-month, $1.5 million contract through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The contract will aid in the Air Force’s efforts to modernize the legs of the U.S. nuclear triad.
As part of the contract, Gecko Robotics will integrate concrete evaluation technology into its fleet of crawling inspection robots. Gecko will combine hardware and software components to give its robots the ability to rapidly assess concrete and steel liners in Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch facilities. These robots will help the Air Force smoothly transition to the Sentinel program and then to a modernized sustainment program.
“Ensuring the safety and efficiency of our nation’s most critical assets is in our DNA at Gecko, and we look forward to our partnership with the Air Force in this vital mission,” Jake Loosararian, CEO and Co-founder of Gecko Robotics, said. “I’m also proud of how our team and our product have risen to the challenge during this competitive process as we continue to increase our partnerships across the federal space.”
Gecko’s air force contract was earned through a competitive process that involved an initial proposal submission and peer review process, followed by a review from key stakeholders. Gecko Robotics was then invited to participate in the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s 2nd Pitch Day.
Gecko Robotics’ technology is made for the power generation, oil and gas, heavy manufacturing and defense industries. Its TOKA Series robots, which includes the TOKA 3, TOKA 4, TOKA 4 GZ and TOKA Flex, are each designed to perform under certain circumstances.
The TOKA 3, for example, is better for inspections on medium-sized piping and high-temperature surfaces, while the TOKA 4 does better with boiler walls and curved surfaces. The TOKA 3 is able to cover 60 feet per minute, while the others in the series can reach a top speed of 30 feet per minute.
Gecko was co-founded by Loosararian and Troy Demmer, now the chief product officer. Loosararian started the company in 2013 and in 2016 joined efforts with Demmer. The company received $2.1 million in funding the same year.
More recently, it brought in $73 million in Series C funding in March. XN led the most recent funding round. Founders Fund, XYZ, Drive Capital, Snowpoint Ventures, Joe Lonsdale, Mark Cuban, Gokul Rajaram and more participated in the round.