Austin helopitch

Lockheed Martin Ventures in partnership with ClearSky and ARCH Venture Partners is accepting applications for a first-of-its-kind competition that will have entrepreneurs pitch their business plan in a helicopter in the skies above Austin, Texas. The pitch, at the 2017 South by Southwest festival, is part of Lockheed Martin’s increased focus on investing in emerging companies.

The HeloPitch competition will provide entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their companies and technologies to Lockheed Martin Ventures, ClearSky (a Florida-based investment fund), ARCH Venture Partners and the Lockheed Martin chief technology scout. The competition will take place in a Sikorsky S-76D helicopter as it flies over downtown Austin. The helicopter is one of thousands of products Lockheed Martin produces, and is just one example of the innovations that originate within Lockheed Martin.

“Innovation stems from partnership, and we’re looking forward to meeting with and learning from entrepreneurs across the country,” said Chris Moran, Lockheed Martin Ventures vice president. “At Lockheed Martin, we build technologies that explore deep space, create breakthroughs in human-machine teaming and enable critical defense missions around the world. The commercial space has incredible technologies with strong defense applications. We’re looking for those perfect fit technologies.”

Companies and entrepreneurs can submit entries at by March 3. Technology scouts and venture fund analysts will review and select applications. The venture team will notify companies of their selection for participation in the HeloPitch by March 10.

“This isn’t your typical rehearsed pitch in a boardroom,” said Moran. “Entrepreneurs will share their great ideas, talk to their strengths and differentiators, all while in a moving helicopter. It’s a wild way to pitch an idea, but so much of starting your own business is wild. In a way, this embodies that process.”

For consideration in the HeloPitch competition, companies will need to be present at South by Southwest. Companies that cannot attend, but are interested in working with Lockheed Martin, should contact the investment team at

The HeloPitch competition is open to companies in various development stages, including concept, prototype/beta, revenue generation/early stage, growth/expansion and late stage. The competition is open to companies with these focus areas:

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Autonomous systems and robotics
  • Aviation technologies
  • Communications and sensors
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data analytics
  • Energy and power systems
  • Internet of things
  • Next generation electronics
  • Space technologies
  • Sustainability
  • Undersea technologies
  • Virtual and augmented reality