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Boeing broadens its aerospace horizons with new VC arm

Boeing has formed a new venture capital firm, Boeing HorizonX, with a strategy to invest in companies developing cutting edge aerospace technologies.

Boeing HorizonX is led by Steve Nordlund. Prior to this, Nordlund served as the vice president of Boeing Defense, Space and Security and before that he was in a strategic role in Boeing’s Autonomous Systems division.

The new company will operate as part of Boeing Corporate Development & Strategy group and will report to the chief financial officer and vice president Greg Smith.

HorizonX has been established as part of the company’s strategy to invest in future growth. There are three main focus areas for the new company, which include making targeted investments in new ventures and start-ups, pursuing unique business opportunities in aerospace technology and assessing disruptive innovations and business strategies.

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Greg Smith said: “The Boeing HorizonX team will build on Boeing’s advanced technology and depth of aerospace expertise in design, development and manufacturing while bringing in outside perspectives and leveraging the speed and agility of a wide range of companies and research organisations.

“As part of our company strategy to accelerate growth and productivity, we intend to be flexible and move quickly to identify technologies, business models and market opportunities that hold the promise of creating and delivering more value for our customers and other stakeholders.”

Boeing chairman, president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said: “Our ability to identify, shape and harness game-changing innovations wherever they are developed is key to sustaining and growing our leadership in aerospace.

“Boeing HorizonX is tasked with ensuring we are fully engaged with opportunities from early-stage companies, market trends and emerging technologies while also fostering more rapid and effective internal innovation.”

The venture arm of Boeing has also invested in two technology start-up companies Upskill and Zunum Aero.boeing

Upskill is a Washington DC-based start-up developing augmented reality (AR) wearables to increase productivity, quality and safety in manufacturing, field services and logistics.

Boeing was associated with Upskill for over two years now and has been evaluating the application of its technology across several locations.

The company has developed Skylight, an industrial AR application platform for smartglasses that can increase productivity, efficiency and can reduce error significantly. Skylight can be integrated with an organisation’s existing ERP, MES, WHS or CRM.

The wearables work by providing workers with access to data about their work, within their line of sight. They can connect with workers both at facilities and at remote locations.

Zunum Aero is a Kirkland, Washington-based start-up developing affordable hybrid-electric aircrafts and plans to introduce them by early 2020s. Boeing HorizonX along with JetBlue Technology Ventures has invested in this company.

Zunum Aero plans to develop smaller 10-50 seat aircrafts are poised to reduce the cost of air travel for travellers and can also help in putting more than 5000 of the underutilised regional aviation airports across the US to use.
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CBR Staff Writer

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