Boeing invests in tech companies via new group HorizonX

The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) has invested in two early-stage technology companies through the ventures arm of a new group called Boeing HorizonX, an innovation cell focused on accelerating potentially transformative aerospace technologies, manufacturing innovations, and emerging business models, the company said.

Boeing HorizonX has made a venture investment in Washington, DC-based Upskill, a provider of enterprise software for augmented reality wearables focused on enhancing productivity, quality and safety in manufacturing, field service and logistics. Boeing has been working with Upskill for more than two years to evaluate the use of its technology across multiple locations nationally.

In addition, Boeing HorizonX is partnering with JetBlue Technology Ventures to invest in Zunum Aero, a Kirkland, Washington-based company that is pursuing the development of alternative propulsion aircraft, with potential for performance and efficiency improvements in a range of aerospace applications.

Boeing HorizonX is led by Steve Nordlund, who takes this role after serving as vice president of strategy for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. He has led strategy and business development organizations in both defense and commercial airplane business units at Boeing and helped launch venture-backed Insitu, Inc., which developed the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial systems.

Boeing HorizonX will operate as part of the Corporate Development & Strategy group, which reports to Greg Smith, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Corporate Development & Strategy at Boeing, with alignment also to Boeing´s chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology, Greg Hyslop.

Boeing HorizonX will have three focus areas: making targeted investments in new ventures and startups; seeking unique business opportunities for the company´s aerospace technology; and assessing disruptive innovations and business strategies.

The Boeing Company, together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, sells, services, and supports commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defense, human space flight, and launch systems and services worldwide.