Karman, headquartered in Los Angeles, was created just in the past year with backing from Trive Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm. In addition to Systima, Karman’s business divisions include AMRO, AAE Aerospace, Aerospace Engineering Corp. and TMX Engineering.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Systima currently has about 230 employees — and last year it purchased the Harbour Pointe Tech Center in Mukilteo to serve as its headquarters, reportedly at a price of $46.75 million. In the wake of the acquisition, Systima’s leadership team will continue as equity holders and senior leaders of Karman.
The 21-year-old venture, founded by President Tom Prenzlow, specializes in integrating energetic and mechanical systems into the structural design of mission-critical space and hypersonic systems. One of its fastest-growing product lines is the fabrication of high-performance composite structures that use high-temperature materials for missile and launch platforms
Systima’s projects include the development of pyrotechnically actuated hatch mechanisms for NASA’s Orion deep-space crew capsule, fabrication of a ring-shaped separation joint system for NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket, and work on hypersonic flight and missile systems for the Defense Department.
Those projects mesh well with Karman’s business plans.
“We have been watching the Karman business come together over the past year and believe with conviction that the strategic rationale of investing in the space, missile and hypersonic supply chains is absolutely critical,” Prenzlow said in a news release. “The vast set of differentiated capabilities, capacity, talented team and incredible complementary fit of Systima with Karman gave us confidence that this was the right home for Systima and its employees.”
Karman CEO Tony Koblinski said the acquisition was “another big milestone.”
“Systima’s robust engineering capabilities allow Karman to work collaboratively with our customers in an earlier stage of a platform’s development to identify the ways that Karman can add value,” he said.
David Stinnett, a partner at Trive Capital, said Karman “can now address highly engineered content from tip to tail of a rocket.”