February 17, 2023
20 min

FedTech Innovator Podcast: Bryan Knouse from OWL

Introduction: Welcome to the "FedTech Innovator" Podcast, where we talk about all things Deep Tech, innovation, entrepreneurship, and R&D. Now let's get started.

Ben: Really excited, Bryan, to have you onboard here for a discussion. Let's just start by introducing your company, if you don't mind.

Bryan: Thanks, Ben. Good morning. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. I'm the founder of OWL, formerly Project OWL. We recently moved to OWL Integrations, Inc., but just OWL is fine. We make connectivity to improve the world's resilience. We originally focused on areas devastated by natural disasters; we've evolved to find applications in the oil and gas industries, utilities, logistics, fleet management, and — maybe most relevant here — to government and military applications as well

Ben: I was hoping you could walk the listeners through what happens after? Especially in the disaster use case, what happens to communications? Why is this a hard problem to solve?

Bryan: So, if you live in the United States, there's a good chance you've either been through or someone you know, has been through a natural disaster. It's not just hurricanes or the original ones we focused on, but wildfires are prevalent. Earthquakes, tornadoes, — I was in Texas for the freeze, which was its own disaster. Then, of course, we were just through – or still ongoing through – a pandemic, which wasn't really on the table for natural disasters before.

When we started Project OWL, it was in 2018, right after four major Atlantic hurricanes in a 12-month period had hit and this was an abnormally high concentration. Those Hurricanes were Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico; Harvey in Texas, Florida, to the Carolinas. Typically, you don't have four major hurricanes like that in a nearly 12-month time period, but those four inflicted hundreds of billions of dollars of damage and caused tens of thousands of casualties. So, our perspective coming from that event — and we traveled to Puerto Rico many times after Hurricane Maria — was, sure, the direct impacts of the wind, the rain, the intensity, and the violence of the event caused plenty of devastation. The worst part is the long tail afterward.

Once you have this natural lawnmower — for lack of a better metaphor — come through, it leaves your location without all of the modern technology and infrastructure we're used to in society. Electricity and communications are the first to go, but you even lose basic infrastructure, roads and whatnot, because you have all sorts of debris on them. So, you can't call anyone to let them know you're okay. You can't contact medical care to receive an ambulance or medicine, even daily medicines such as insulin you might need. You can't go to the grocery store. So, it creates this cascading effect of problems that we can't rely on the normal, everyday functions of society that keep it running. That's the real problem, especially in Puerto Rico, where communications and networks were down for months or years at a time in certain locations.

Our perspective was to develop a really quick and easy way to bring back communications and sensor networks rapidly, cost-effectively, and with technology that everyone can easily figure out how to use. A lot of engineering work has gone into making our DuckLink devices. I sometimes like to think that it's a lot of space-age technology that makes them look like they're just simple rubber ducks.

Ben: Actually, if you don't mind, let's show them.

Bryan: I have a yellow one here. They got — especially in the military, we like to say — one button for on and off; they're soldier-proof. They have 3D-printed enclosures. These are the basic handheld walks.

We have special ducks that we developed in coordination with some of our military partners and with the support of FedTech. This is a hybrid backhaul. Sometimes, if you have networks deployed on the ground — Puerto Rico is a great example — you want to be able to get that data up to the cloud so someone in Washington DC, for example, can be monitoring a situation in real time. This box that you can put in your backpack has Wi-Fi, cellular, and SATCOM all in one box. You can selectively choose which backhaul you want to use based on what's available to it and what's more cost-effective.

Then, of course, we have special military versions made for some of our customers as well.

Ben: Walk me through it. So, a hurricane hits. After that initial period of having it be inaccessible due to the weather, what would a customer — in theory — be able to do? Walk me through the steps of implementing your system and getting comms back up and running.

Bryan: In certain places — Puerto Rico's one of them and we have an upcoming deployment in Hutto, Texas, just outside of Austin — we have a set number of pre-deployed, solar-powered DuckLinks. So, these are a little bit larger, they have a larger battery in it, and a solar panel. Like the animal kingdom of ducks, they come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and different species, if you will. But, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it can talk to any other duck. So each of these here, depending on the color, depending on the size and shape, whether they're solar powered, and if they're already outside or they've been outside for a year, they can all talk to one another.

In a place like Puerto Rico, we have just about three dozen solar-powered DuckLinks deployed already and we're looking to deploy more there. So, if a disaster hits, we already have infrastructure on the ground. Now, of course, some of them may get destroyed. And we've baked in resilience into distributed ad hoc networks to take that into account. Assuming we lose some devices, the networks still operate. Once the disaster has rolled through, you can rebuild out the network, include more handheld devices, or even — just in the following days after — deploy more solar-powered devices. We have equipment ready to go when it's needed for — specifically again speaking to Puerto Rico — our partners on the ground, such as the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, Puerto Rico Emergency Management (PREMA), some other individuals, and universities we've developed relationships with. So, there's several different ways we can attack responding to a disaster. We like to think of that as baking some resilience into a response effort that, a lot of time, needs it.

Ben: Interesting. At FedTech, we give a lot of thought to climate change, where we're going as a planet, and especially the role of technology in either stopping, slowing down, or altering climate change in general. What's interesting to me about your product is you guys are going to be more relevant as climate change creates more weather events. What are you thinking about, in terms of across the globe? Where do you want ducks to be deployed in the next five years? It sounds like it's a bit of a pre-emptive posture that countries would take, right? Saying that we're not going to wait until the disaster actually hits, but we're going to have some ground infrastructure in place. What kind of places are on your mind in terms of where you think you could eventually sell to?

Bryan: Yeah, I mean, there's two parts to your comment there. I mean, the climate change one is interesting, right? Because first of all, it's a phrase that if you even mention the word, you kind of have to duck, depending on who you're talking to. Climate change means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

Our perspective on it is — statistically speaking, the thing that's most important for us to develop are our opinions on our product's roadmap and deployment roadmap. Over the last 100 years, natural disasters, in many forms, have been slowly, but surely, increasing in frequency and magnitude. It's important for us to take that into account. There may be a variety of explanations for that. Certainly one of them is our greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, we developed some of our commercially-deployed DuckLinks are fugitive methane sensors for the oil and gas industry. So, we work very closely with partners, such as BP, to further develop this technology to provide a radically cost-effective way to easily and quickly detect emitting methane sources that shouldn't be there.

As far as on the disaster resilience front, we've done recent deployments across the world. Our latest international deployment was in Shimla, India, in Himachal Pradesh. It's this beautiful mountain town in the Himalayas, about an eight-hour drive north of Delhi. They had just suffered a variety of monsoons and landslides; there were some terrible flooding in India in recent years — the Kerala floods. If you Google that afterward, it's a very devastating event.

To specifically answer where, it's hard. It's really hard to predict where the next terrible natural disaster will be. Even there are locations we can kind of say, "Well, Puerto Rico is kind of in the strike zone. So maybe we'll focus there." And then, maybe what ends up happening this year is Florida gets the most devastating hit and on the west side, too, which is kind of weird, right? Normally, hurricanes come up the East Coast, or sometimes go into the Gulf and then head into Texas. But, it's very rare that one does that clockwise thing. I think it was Hurricane Ian that had hit Tampa this past year; I might have the name wrong.

Nonetheless, throughout the United States, we are interested in deployments for Portland, Oregon. We are looking at disaster resilience to wildfire resilience in California, to the next snowstorm resilience in Austin, Texas, and — of course — hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. So we're taking —I would say — a global approach with a heavy focus on American resilience at this time because our country alone hasn't solved this problem. So, we still have a lot of work to do.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. Great point. When shifting gears a little, Bryan, I think you guys have a very interesting founding story. We always love to hear just that founder's experience, that founder's journey. Tell us how the company got started. Tell us about sort of the team that you started with and the dynamics kind of among the founding team. I think it's a really interesting bit.

Bryan: At the time OWL was founded, I was mostly sleeping on couches in Brooklyn, New York, as were a few of the other founders. Through my 20s, I was doing a lot of hackathons. I didn't really make it in the corporate world; I was a corporate failure.

Ben: Why was that? The best entrepreneurs usually are.

Bryan: There's a lot of reasons that I'm not sure if I feel comfortable sharing, but it was just the environment that just... I don't know. It was like a square peg in a round hole. I didn't fit. I didn't feel committed to it. It was something I couldn't get myself to drive to want to do. That was the biggest thing I kept coming back to; I could not — for the life of me — convince myself that I actually enjoyed it and wanted to do the things that I was doing. So, at one point, I kind of just said, "Screw it," and started doing what I loved, which was going to hackathons. And you know what those are.

It's like — I'm a big sports fan. Actually, I was born and raised just north of Philadelphia, so right now I'm in awe of my sports teams right now.

Ben: Oh, yeah, the Eagles!

Bryan: Eagles are going to the NFC Championship. I played soccer through college at University of Rochester, as well. So, one of my favorite things in the world is competition, right? To get out on the field just compete.

Maybe the other half of my most interesting hobbies or endeavors is to build stuff. Hackathons were that perfect marriage of competing, but doing it to build stuff. So, I started just going around competing in all sorts of software competitions, sponsored by Mercedes Benz, Facebook, Microsoft, or ESA. I'd met some friends — I'll say — that I began working with, teaming up for these things. In 2018, there was a rather large hackathon, the IBM Call for Code. This came right on the heels of those four hurricanes, where they specifically said, "Hey, developers, can we come up with a way to help mitigate these problems? Or at least — not necessarily stop the hurricanes — but help the communities prepare for them, deal with them, and recover afterwards?" At the time, for us, it had all the elements of a technical mission; we got to build something cool. It was well worth our time if you win, and that's important to hackathons. Just having something worthwhile for the developers who make this stuff to be rewarded if they come up with it.

Ben: What was the prize structure?

Bryan: We won $200,000, which enabled us to really stop doing everything else and just focus on this.

Ben: Wow, that's quite a  meaningful winning pot for a hackathon. That's great.

Bryan: Listen, it's not lost on me. We'll get into the government game, but when we won —I'm not even kidding — on stage, they handed each of us a $50,000 check. I was just looking at it like, "I could pay so many months of rent with this." That was my first thought and I was like, "Oh, this is gonna be so nice."

Ben: Yeah, sure.

Bryan: That's where we were at that point in time, just trying to come up with something, build something meaningful, take care of living.

Ben: So, you guys won the Hackathon and was that the impetus to actually form the company out of that?

Bryan: I'll never forget. One of the founders called me up a week later, we had just kind of come down. We think we were in San Francisco for the ceremony. We had gotten back, everyone kind of comes down from the high. He calls me up, and he's like, "Hey, I just want to let you know, I quit my job. I'm moving out of my house. I'm working on this full-time; I hope you're cool with that." I was like, "Alright. Great."

Ben: What's been sort of the journey from that point? You win the money, and then you have to go into a build cycle, I imagine. What did that look like? What's been the evolution? From what I've seen in the history of your company, you've been very successful at winning other prizes, things like the xTechSearch program. Describe how you use those prizes and those opportunities for non-dilutive capital as jumping-off points.

Bryan: Well, we win that IBM Call for Code and everybody's on cloud nine. Little did we know the apocalyptic series of events that was about to transcend on Earth. More or less, the entire life of this company has been during COVID, which — among all the other challenges of building a business — has been its own unique set of circumstances. In some ways, I've looked at it this whole time like, "Well, if everything's terrible on the outside, no worries then, right? Might as well go for broke here, right? What's the worst that can happen?"

So, we took our DNA, which was competing in those hackathon competitions and building weird stuff that makes people say, "Wow," and we tried to just find ways to plug that into other sources of non-dilutive capital. The world has changed immensely since 2018. And I can tell you, shopping this around Silicon Valley for venture capital investors, there is a sincere apprehension to invest in hardware or electronics. Everybody's scared of it; it's like a cancer there. I've been introduced to investors, who — before I even say, "Hi, I'm Bryan," — they say, "I don't invest in hardware. Pass." It's like, "Okay, thank you."

Ben: Outside of being disappointing from a business standpoint, it's disappointing from a social standpoint also.

Bryan: Well, yeah! I mean, first of all, we are the smallest possible peanut in the government game. And there's actually making it commercially and through your business as an entrepreneur. Then, there's also the emotional part; we're all humans, we want to be validated that what we're doing has an impact, makes people happy, has an application, or that someone sees the value of your work. To be told, "I don't even want to be introduced to you, because I'm so against what you're doing," it's kind of like "Well, damn."

Ben: Oh, yeah. Welcome to entrepreneurship, though.

Bryan: Listen, I think one of the things we've done to survive to this point is to take our awareness of what we want to be, our aspirations, what we think the technology can be, and our beliefs, around the world, but also be hyper-aware and honest about the reality of us, what we're good at, what we build, and what people love.

I have some good examples that tie into your point about finding non-dilutive capital. We used to call ourselves a software company that just happens to make hardware; that's what we used to say internally. Demonstration after demonstration after demonstration, all anyone ever wanted to ask about, play with, talk about, and see the future was the DuckLink; what's going on with these? At some point, we just threw up our hands and we're like, "We make hardware. We're really good at it." We never planned on this. Everyone we talked to and our customers — this is all they want to know about, so let's just accept it.

The second part of that is once we got through those demonstrations, people continued to tell us, "Hey, you really need to look at government and military funding for this." Now this environment — none of our team served, though we're aware that the US military exists — but I didn't know the first thing about government contracting. I mean, I'd seen the movie War Dogs. You got to understand, this is an extremely complex environment to operate a business, let alone acquire non-dilutive funding. For us, it was starting with a Google search of, "How do you get funding in the military?"

Ben: Sure.

Bryan: I think maybe one of the most useful ways to accomplish that is being lucky. Ensuring you do the hard work and preparation to acquire that luck to meet the right people who can help shepherd you along the way. There's been a few entities and individuals along this process who have greatly accelerated our ability to engage that non-dilutive capital and to play this game. Quite a few of them come from your organization and they are invaluable – immensely helpful in our ability to get to where we are today.

Ben: Good. Well, that's great, Bryan. I appreciate that. I know the team has really enjoyed getting to work with your team and help you achieve your goals.

I think it's interesting. When FedTech first started — going on about eight, nine years ago — it was, I would say, even a much more opaque world for how to interact with government, right? So, if you have a company like yours that is doing something special, doing some breakthrough, that may have a lot of relevance to the military, it used to be even harder to even know what's the starting point. You Google, "How to sell to the military," right now, you're gonna probably get a lot of good resources popping up. Then, there's these organizations like xTechSearch, the Army's SBIR program that's been revamped. There's the big list of organizations within the DOD that have really spun up to be supportive of companies like yours. So, it's still a journey, but I'm glad that it's getting easier for companies like you because it's an absolutely relevant product that the military is interested in.

Bryan: Yeah, the xTechSearch program was —  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this was one of the most positive... In a way, that original IBM competition enabled our company to exist and the xTechSearch competition enabled our company to thrive. Now, our technology had matured during COVID. We had been to Puerto Rico six times in 2019 — the first year of our company's life — and then we haven't been back since. So we — of course — work remotely, but it's been very challenging to go places. We had to take all of that off the table as a result of the pandemic, of course.

One of the silver linings is it, more or less, locked us in a room to just build. We needed to continue to improve our stuff and this was an opportunity to do it. As we're getting into this government business, the xTechSearch program was simultaneously an educational experience, which was very much needed on our side. It was an opportunity to network and communicate with others. So, I still have several relationships at FedTech, alumni of FedTech, and other partners that you've brought in through FedTech that we are very close with today.

Ben: Good.

Bryan: Those relationships have helped us to thrive and then, of course, the technical bits, the understanding of the contracting game.

It's kind of weird. I fell in love with hackathons in my 20s; I love working on government proposals now. I get excitement out of it. It feels like a real hackathon again; I'm competing for something. Now for us, it's non-dilutive funding.

I suppose that statement is kind of like enjoying the corporate world. For some people, they just enjoy it because ostensibly — and from the outside — government contracting is a mind-numbing, over-the-top, onerous experience that should be completely redone from the ground up. It is what it is, and this is how we have to deal with it. For us, we've been quite successful in closing SBIRs and STTRs. We have some other adjacent activities going on with government. We've even managed to develop some pretty profound strategic partnerships through FedTech, such as Raytheon. Those relationships are — I think in their small early capacity — thriving, as well. I can truly see on the near horizon, a lot of these things — including our corporate relationships — growing into something substantial and quite special in the coming months and years. So, there's a lot of great things going on on our side. Again, to your original question, the access to the non-dilutive capital in the funding from the DOD — for us, it's just like a perfect marriage. The type of technology we're building with the dual-use application and our customers in the government absolutely love our products.

Ben: Well, glad to hear. You guys are definitely heading in a good direction.

Ben: One of the things I always like to ask founders is how do you spend your time, right? Especially operating a building hardware in a remote environment, what have you learned in the last few years that you wish you knew maybe at the start of the journey of how to manage the different priorities, right? I mean, you got to work on the product, you got to obviously do things like sit down and write the proposals, which is immensely time consuming. What have you learned about how to be a CEO, manage your time, and the time of your team?

Bryan: We often say, internally, when we've gotten into our most challenging spots — 2022 was the most painful year of this company's life. To distill it down to the simplest explanation, we've finally grown to a real commercial business doing real work with deployments and partners. There's a lot of integrated entities involved. The growing pains of moving from a bunch of couchsurfing hackathoners to operating a real business — let alone working with the US government — the growing pains there, at times, were challenging. There's many examples of that – I won't go into details. But we often say internally, that our safe space for our team is technology. Anytime we get scared, threatened, or something bad happens, we say, "Oh, let's just go back to coding things. Let's go build more stuff." And that's not the right answer in probably most businesses. Certainly in our business, there's a healthy mix you need of planting the railroad in front of you as the train's moving, but also operating the engine, making sure it's fueled, and whatnot.

So I think you tend to — as a human — learn the most from the most painful experiences in your life and those set you up the most effectively for success in the future. I think the failures we encountered in 2022, as a business, were extremely painful and have made a huge evolution for our business this year. I feel the most optimistic I have about our future right now than I have in two years. I think that's because we've very effectively found the right splits of our application of time between engineering, product development, corporate development and growth, as well as fundraising, contracting. We finally found the chemistry of how to nail the growth of the business while keeping the product growth in lockstep to that.

Ben: Interesting. There's always these phases of business building, right?

Ben: When I look back, FedTech has had the same journey. Just as our company was at that initial honeymoon phase — so to speak — of like, "Okay, you have some external validation, you win a competition, you have a founding team." It's the excitement and everybody is almost drunk on the possibilities of what could be, right? It's really fun right? And then, you have maybe that first real validation; you sell something and then that's also great.

But there's a little bit of a comedown, which it sounds like maybe you guys have experienced in 2022. When you actually realized to have this be functioning at the level everybody wants, you've got to make certain sales numbers. You have complexities around operating the company. You have to pay taxes. There's a lot of things that go into running a functional business. To me, it's not always unusual for entrepreneurs to come out of that honeymoon phase a little bit and — what I would consider — the early operating phase of how do you actually make this thing work?

This is often fun, you know? You saw it gets better.

Bryan: You described perfectly how we felt about our last four years. We've often remarked anecdotally about how there have been distinct phases of the company. In the honeymoon phase. To a tee, you described it for us; this euphoria of like, "Holy crap, we're doing this."

I do have one interesting story. Again, none of us served, so a lot of this military, DoD application and business is very new, every part of it. We knew one distinct phase had closed and one had entered. I don't know how much I'm supposed to talk about this, but at the time, we were engaged in a Phase II STTR, delivering our product to AFSOC. It's actually the precursor to what would ultimately become this device. So, we're getting to work with all these really impressive units.

At the time, our headquarters was a two-bedroom apartment in Bushwick, New York. Now, if you've ever been there, it's probably the last place you'd expect to find a government contracting company in Bushwick, New York. Anyway, one day — I totally forget when this was 2020, 2021, or something — we got a call. I wasn't at the office; one of the other co-founders was there. We had two visitors and we were like, "We don't have anyone coming through today." Keep in mind, this is an apartment building and one of the more ridiculous ones with paintings all over the wall, hipster stuff everywhere. So, our colleague goes down, and two people are standing there and they say, "Hi. I'm Agent Blank; this is Agent Blank. We're with the FBI. Are you Project OWL and is this your headquarters? And where's Brian?"

Ben: Okay.

Bryan: So, everybody on our team is like, "What did we do?" I'm racking my brain like, "I used to download music as a kid."

Ben: Oh, yeah. They gotcha for every transgression.

What was happening? Anyway, we were terrified. It ended up being because we were in the program, working with the units we were working with, and we do things on information networks, they wanted to talk about risks and things. Now — of course — do I think there are ways they could have done this that are less terrifying for companies? Oh, my goodness.

Ben: How about a call first, at least?

Bryan: Yeah, give us the heads up, "Hey, we're going to show up, okay?" I was on a call — I think through FedTech — with the FBI at a later point. They were saying how they want to engage with industry better, but people are scared to meet with them. I was like, "Shocking, because you just show up at houses like this." Again — mind you — this was some ridiculous apartment building. They're like, "Oh, wow, they're corporate offices; fascinating." That was another one of those very distinct moments of, "Okay, we're not in Kansas anymore. This is now moved to another chapter that we previously didn't deal with." And that, I don't think will stop. You don't necessarily know when those moments are going to happen and those phases shifts. But in hindsight, it's always clear, right?

Ben: That's a great point. We see it with a lot of companies that there's a whole general compliance around even running your company, right? If you're doing a certain type of contracting, your books need to be in a way that could be auditable by the government to understand your cost structure. It's a major pain for a lot of start ups to transition to that. There's a lot of new IT. I'm sure for your type of business, there are even more IT security standards and FDMA. It's a higher bar. I'm continually hopeful that there will be increasingly better infrastructure to help companies — like yours, like the ones that we see in FedTech — do that easily and without the pain of having to endure the G-men showing up.

Bryan: Right. Those parts of running a business are very real and challenging. That's one of the — I would describe it as — mistakes or challenging parts that we went through in the last couple years is transitioning to that. Again, we were couchsurfing hackers, nerds! We don't maintain books, right? Evolving to that mentality.

The best example of this for myself, personally, is I was working with some of my teammates recently. We're looking at our GitHub profiles; they have these really cool heatmaps over the years of when you make commits. In the late 2010s — so like 2017, 2018, when we founded the company — I was doing 3000 commits a year, like 10 a day. My heat map is just all different colors of green everywhere. The year we found Project OWL, it drops like 10x and it's dropped 10x sufficiently since, to the point where there's just a couple green dots now on my yearly chart. I'm not necessarily happy about that. I love programming; it was something that I truly enjoyed. It's a skill of mine, but also a hobby or an effort that's fulfilling. That's one of the realities of growing a business.

Ultimately, my goal, and the rest of my team's goal, isn't to be programmers. We want to make an impact and provide something that the world hopefully loves and sees value in. So, evolving from what I was doing previously to other things that are more important — maintaining the business and doing things that honestly give me a lot less joy at times. It's critical to be able to make those steps up to achieve the impact you want to make.

Ben: I think you're gonna hit a phase where one of the big... You're going through the "Okay, how do we operate" phase now, and you're having to obviously learn a lot of this yourself, which I'm sure is foreign. Just as if I was in a technical environment, that part would be painful to go from.

What you're gonna see — I think — in the next phase is getting the right team around you, right? So, you might find that over the next period of time, you want to bring in some help on maybe the business operation side. There's a lot of good folks that can take that off your plate so you can focus. To me, there's this third phase of the honeymoon. You have initial operating. Then, there's the more scale phase that — to me — is really most about getting the right team around you once you start to have some capital to deploy. I'm excited to see if you guys end up taking that step of maybe bringing in other folks that can help you, you know?

Bryan: That jives with exactly where we are. Ben, you've done this before, haven't you? You have a pretty good sense of where we're at and what we need. Internally, with our advisors, the words "operation" and "finance" are thrown around way more today and over the last 12 months than ever before in OWL's lifetime by a large factor. It's the one thing we've all acknowledged. Going from the honeymoon phase, to the FBI showing up at our door to not arrest us. To we need to operate and monitor our cash flow effectively and break down our application of resources to most effectively maximize our growth and delivery of products to our customers that love us. That's now a lot of time to spend on operations, finance, things that aren't product development. Moving out of your safe space to things you got to do. Now's the fun part where we, as a team, get to work on all the things we're not good at. It's just as painful going forward, but it should yield some very positive results. Listen, we have more wind in our sails than we've ever had through the xTechSearch program. I could not be more thankful for the existence of that and — of course — the good fortune we had to win. It's very hard, if not impossible, to overstate how much that enabled us to reach another stage of application and to fill in some gaps in our trajectory.

Ben: I know the Army folks are real proud of the progress you guys have made. So, I'm sure they're gonna be happy to hear that it's been an accelerant to you all.

Bryan: One of our reps, after we won, told me that — I shouldn't say reps. One of the technical persons of contact at AFSOC that we've sent product to said to us — and this has always stuck with me since then. He was not surprised we won because of all the technology companies he works with, we were the most willing and ready to take their feedback, make something new, and send it back to them for validation. And he thinks that cycle and abilities to go through that flywheel will yield very positive results for our business in the future. And that was meaningful to hear.

Ben: That's great. Thanks, Bryan. Why don't we wrap here? It's been a great conversation. Thanks for all the work you're doing. Thanks for being part of our community. Again, FedTech — we're behind you with anything we can do to be helpful. With that, let's wrap this podcast. Brian Knouse from OWL, we're looking forward to great things in the future. Thanks, man.

Bryan: Thank you so much, Ben.

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