Founded by Will Roper, and backed by former Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt, technology startup Istari emerged from stealth mode today, announcing plans to revolutionize the field of digital engineering, where all technology is created, tested, and even certified through modeling and simulation.
Roper, a leader in digital transformation and Industry 4.0 as Air Force assistant secretary and McKinsey & Co. advisor, launched Istari in May 2022, raising a $13 million seed round from Schmidt and other venture investors.
"Will and the Istari team are bringing internet-type usability to models and simulations," said Schmidt. "This unlocks the possibility of software-like agility for future physical systems. It's very exciting!"
Istari's product platform offers simple and secure digital engineering collaboration, accelerating user decisions across distributed teams.
"At Istari, we're enabling all technology to be created - and continually perfected - digitally. Software ate the world, and now hardware can too via the magic of collaborative models," said Roper. "We can design things, test things - in general, learn things - faster, cheaper, and greener than the physical universe allows."
In recent years, collaborative tools have been a windfall for software development, accelerating innovation on a global scale. But similar collaborative tools for physical systems, sometimes called digital threads, have proven much more challenging.
Roper experienced these challenges firsthand while creating Air Force digital threads with Istari co-founder and digital engineering expert, Chris Benson, often relying on taxing, expert-led integrations. Roper saw the same challenges in the private sector.
"We're thrilled to finally be able to share our vision and platform with the world. We know firsthand the challenges that engineers are facing and have worked tirelessly to develop solutions that we needed in the past," said Benson, Istari's chief technology officer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D.
Though its product details and early customers are keeping low profiles, Istari has rapidly gained market traction. The company secured nine government and commercial contracts in nine months and recently moved to a waiting list for new partners. Now stepping out of stealth mode, the Istari team is recruiting new employees and preparing some big projects for this year.
"Industry 4.0 is a globally important trend. Leading industries, like Formula 1, need new technologies to find their next gear. And fast-followers, like aerospace, need simplicity and security at a larger scale," Roper said. "We're excited to tackle both."