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South Bend startup wins gold at Air Force Olympics

(photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – South Bend-based SIMBA Chain Inc. won the gold medal in the U.S. Air Force’s first ever Advanced Manufacturing Olympics. The blockchain startup’s strategy, which applies blockchain and 3D printing to keep the Air Force ready for battle, beat out 16 other finalists to win top honors.

SIMBA Chain was awarded the Supply Chain Marathon division, edging out major companies such as Stratasys (Nasdaq:) SSYS and Boeing (NYSE: BA), which placed No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. The startup received $100,000 as the first place winner.

SIMBA Chain Chief Executive Officer Joel Neidig said the team put together a war games solution, based on a fictional scenario, capable of delivering critical parts to a battlefront as well as keep field hospitals operational and infrastructure intact.

“What was different about our approach was how we met both the physical challenges of war fighters as well as the cyber threats that are playing a growing role in modern warfare,” said Neidig. “Including blockchain in our strategy set SIMBA Chain apart as our additive manufacturing labs were digitally and securely interconnected with one another and with military command,” Neidig said. “This ensured the integrity of communications and that whatever was needed could be built to military specifications without compromise from external forces. This strategy resonated with the judges.”

The competition was developed to bring together technology companies, startups, and U.S. Department of Defense contractors as well academia to help solve some of the Air Force’s key challenges. SIMBA Chain says its team included Argos-based ITAMCO, the University of Notre Dame and C5BDA.