Pathfinder #0018, with Brian Barritt

We’re back for Round 3 of the Pathfinder from Paris experience. Just days after Aalyria Technologies emerged from stealth mode, Ryan sat down with Brian Barritt, the startup’s CTO. Aalyria leverages technology from various Google advanced development programs and aims to build speedy, secure networks spanning land, sea, air, LEO, and deep space. 

How do you pronounce Aalyria? 


What’s the origin story?

Aalyria was widely reported to have spun out of Alphabet, but Brian tells us that’s not exactly right. “I think the right way to describe it is Aalyria, the entity, acquired this technology from Alphabet, [but] this is not an Alphabet company,” Brian said. 

The startup heavily embraces technology that was developed but never commercialized at Google’s parent company. And many of its ~30 full-time employees and founding team previously worked at Google or one of its affiliated deeptech endeavors.

Who’s backing Aalyria?

Alphabet is a minority owner, Brian said, but the startup also has an $8M Defense Innovation Unit contract to its name and backing from the founders of Accel, J2 Ventures, and Housatonic

What’s Aalyria building?

  1. Spacetime, a smart software system for orchestrating networks of ground stations, aircraft, satellites, vessels, and urban meshes.
  2. Tightbeam, an advanced laser communication terminal for ground-to-space, terrestrial, and airborne applications. Aalyria has made some bold claims about Tightbeam’s performance, and–if they hold up—the system could revolutionize data transmission around Earth and between Earth, space, and even deep space, Brian said. 

There are a lot of boundary-pushing ideas in this conversation, so we don’t recommend listening to it at a speed faster than 1x. You’re guaranteed to learn something new about laser communications, software disrupting communications networks, and how these technologies could be put to work in space. 

Listen now