Chesapeake Technology plots a new path with private equity backing
CTI is putting together a two-to-three year plan that will be shaped by big-picture tech questions and is aided by Bluestone Investment Partners.
Chesapeake Technology International has been in business for 23 years and wants to take on a new identity for itself as an integrator of converged software solutions for defense and intelligence agencies.
As CTI's chief executive Jay Moorman tells it, just two years ago the company had a narrow view of the opportunity set in front of the team.
His description of that approach will sound familiar to how many government technology companies start out -- "Scrappy, go out and just hunt some projects, figure out how to do some good mission stuff, and stay in the small scale sort of game," he said.
CTI touts its core skill as developing software, hardware and data management solutions for use in an open architecture setting. Moorman also touted electronic warfare, cybersecurity, signals intelligence as among the technology areas CTI focuses on and sees as intertwined with one another.
"We're trying to marry all these technology pieces together and say 'Hey you know what? EW, SIGINT and cyber are not that different," Moorman told me. "They might have the same radios, the application itself may be different, but we can provide that in a converged way."
Moorman's arrival to CTI in the spring of 2022 as chief technology officer followed the adoption of a new mindset focused on how the company could scale its offerings and pull them together. Later that fall, Moorman moved up to the CEO role.
What spurred that new mindset and growth strategy? CTI decided it needed a private investment partner to inject capital into the business and help guide the company through that expansion push.
Enter into the equation Bluestone Investment Partners, a private equity firm focused on lower middle-market government contractors. Bluestone acquired majority ownership of CTI in 2021.
Moorman told me a typical pathway for many smaller software integrators like CTI is to first establish partnerships and relationships with a handful of larger companies, then branch out to more beyond that initial footing.
"The nice thing about having Bluestone come in, they have a much broader view of the market, what companies are available and what partnerships are out there to make and bring in from a technology perspective," Moorman said.
Acquisition number one led it to geospatial solutions provider Rapid Imaging Technologies, a transaction CTI intends to be the first of more than just one.
Moorman said the new opportunity set RTI brings as including augmented reality functions in video feeds, another area he described as part of the "convergence of capabilities" and "taking traditionally siloed areas into one development path."
That development path also includes an element of modernization through sustainment, where platforms and systems in the field are upgraded in a manner that focuses on new features and functions versus wholesale replacements.
"As you look at leveraging all of the legacy sensors that are out there and all of the platforms that are deployed and operational, you want to adopt some of these models that allow us to essentially never stop from a technology advancement perspective," Moorman said.
For CTI, the acquisition of a company whose spelling is only one letter off coincides with the current process of putting the next two-to-three year plan in place.
As that process plays out, the U.S.' major technology investment and development challenges are top of Moorman's mind. Continuity on both of those fronts is key in addition to prototyping efforts, Moorman said.
"That's the thesis we want to align with: the notion of how we can push solutions out into the field, into the invisible battlespace much faster."