Second Front Systems Raises $6M, led by ARTIS Ventures

As the U.S. military embraces commercial tech, including AI, biotech, and cyber, Second Front to create a new business operating system for the Department of Defense


San Francisco, CA, July 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Second Front Systems, a software company working to disrupt the traditional aerospace and defense industry by acting as a beachhead for cutting-edge startups, today announced an oversubscribed $6 million in seed funding led by ARTIS Ventures. Additional investors include Kleiner Perkins, 8VC, Gula Tech Adventures, and Abstract Ventures


The venture funding will be used to expand the capabilities of Second Front’s software platform, Atlas Fulcrum, which has recently received a major contract award from the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Air Force’s AFWERX. The U.S. military recognizes that commercially driven tech, such as autonomy, cyber, biotech, and AI, has surpassed the defense base in relevance to national security in the 21st century. Acting as a “digital prime,” the Atlas Fulcrum platform empowers the U.S. government to regain control from the traditional defense industry in scouting, vetting, and securely fielding cutting-edge technology at scale.


Austin Walne, partner at ARTIS Ventures will join Second Front’s board with General Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, and Alberto Yepez, co-founder and managing director of ForgePoint Capital.

“The U.S. Military is actively seeking advances in artificial intelligence and synthetic biology. This aligns with ARTIS Ventures’ focus on the convergence of computer science and life science,” said Austin Walne, partner at ARTIS Ventures, whose firm is also an investor in Palantir. “Second Front’s executive team comes with proven military backgrounds, giving them an insider's perspective on vetting and integrating technologies that will have an immediate impact on national security.” 

Second Front was started by former Marine Corps Major Peter Dixon, a scout sniper platoon commander who worked with In-Q-Tel and DARPA to pioneer counter-cartel and counter-insurgency technologies, including early adoption of Palantir, at the State Department and Pentagon, and retired Marine Corps Colonel Mark Butler, a fighter and test pilot who helped form the Marines’ arm of Cyber Command.

“I came back from combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan where my men and I were hamstrung by outdated technology that negated what should have been an advantage against insurgent adversaries,” said Second Front CEO Peter Dixon. “Subsequently, at the Pentagon, I watched as billions of dollars were awarded to traditional defense companies, many of whom were unable to deliver usable technology to front-line troops. This venture financing and initial partnerships gives Second Front the velocity to build a new type of ‘lean systems integrator’ that can harness the innovations of the American entrepreneurial ecosystem where the traditional defense firms have failed.” 


Biotech and the Military 

As the U.S. military looks to reshape the national security and innovation base to respond to pandemics and embrace evolving technologies such as synthetic biology, biotech has become a crucial focus area for the government. 

As stated by Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in Breaking Defense, “There are so many breakthroughs that are happening. We don’t typically think about biology as a core competency in the Air Force, but biology teaches us a ton.” 

Second Front Systems is a public benefit corporation operating in a new class of venture-backed defense companies that includes Palantir, Anduril, and Rebellion Defense.


This press release was originally announced in GlobesNewswire, here: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/07/07/2058768/0/en/Second-Front-Systems-Raises-6-Million-to-Provide-Immediate-Impact-to-National-Security-led-by-ARTIS-Ventures.html

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