HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 221
Houston innovator tackles rebrand, federal grant programs to take XR startup into its new era
As Lori-Lee Elliott was building out her company — an augmented reality software company to enhance industrial workflow — she was approached by a representative in the Air Force interested in her technology. That conversation would end up leading to a major rebrand and pivot, as well as multiple federal contracts and grants for the Houston startup.
Dauntless XR — originally founded as Future Sight AR in 2018 — has two software platforms that bring customers flexible mixed reality solutions. The Air Force uses the Aura platform to create 3D replays of missions, while NASA plans to utilize the technology for analyzing space weather data.
"Something that we realized when we built out this platform is that it doesn't have to be for just one thing," Elliott says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "We can make it ingest all kind of data sources. It does require us as the developers and the architects to go in and learn about each application. And that's great because I get bored easily and it's an endless source of fascination."
After entering into these new industries — as well as a 2022 strategic acquisition — Elliott says her team started thinking hard about a rebrand, specifically to set the business up for success as it expands into new fields and opportunities.
"We wanted something that was a name that was a little bit more future proof," Elliott says on the show. "We wanted something that was more representative of this new thing that we had evolved into, and then also something that was going to stand the test of time going forward. We actually really enjoyed the rebrand process."
While Elliott had to learn how to navigate a rebrand, she also juggled the grant and contract process with federal entities — something else that was new to her. Dauntless XR has secured both SBIR and STTR grants and contracts with two different federal agencies, so Elliott has learned a lot.
"The lesson learned I would say is if you're interested in pursuing (grants), go and get all of your government registrations and certifications before you start," Elliott says. "They have fairly quick close deadlines, so when an opportunity opens to when it closes is usually a month. And that is not enough time to register your company at all of the different places it needs to be registered."
She shares more about what she's learned through the past few years or so, as well as what's next for Dauntless XR on the podcast.