Force Multiplier: (Department of Defense definition) A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment; or (U.S. Small Business Administration definition) DreamHammer.
Located in Santa Monica, California, DreamHammer was cofounded in 2000 by CEO Nelson Paez - originally as a high-tech security services company. The SBA 8(a) software development firm used its 8(a) status along with a SBA $50K line-of-credit and $100K SBA loan through Wells Fargo to get started during the early stages of product development. DreamHammer also used the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program and SBA’s Capital Programs to pivot from the private sector to the public sector where they also reinvested their youthful profits into building a product that was badly needed by the U.S. military.
What DreamHammer ultimately created was a universal control system for unmanned vehicles called Ballista that increases a war fighter’s combat and non-combat potential while controlling unmanned vehicles. Through Ballista, DreamHammer is on its way to solving one of the U.S. military’s long-held problems of making their unmanned vehicles, typically unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), accessible to multiple users while also allowing them to be controlled by frontline personnel. DreamHammer has the attention of the U.S. military, so much so that they have a contract backlog of $70 million and in 2008 had annual revenues of $9.9 million.
“[Ballista] makes things simple and scaleable,” said Paez - by empowering a single operator to control multiple ground, sea and air vehicles while simultaneously utilizing additional command and control functions. “It now takes four or five people to operate one unmanned Global Hawk…that’s more than it takes to fly a manned aircraft. We need a simple, easy-to-use interface that focuses the operator’s energy on the mission, not the vehicle.”
With the unmanned vehicle industry expected to more than double from about $4.9 billion in 2010 to more than $11.5 billion in 2019 (estimate from the Teal Group) and with U.S. military a key driver within this industry - it’s no surprise that DreamHammer has established itself in this rapidly expanding market.