ATN Corp.: Smart optics technologies that bring victory closer. Looking for promising projects and businesses in Ukraine

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The renowned producer of electro-optics equipment, ATN Corp. (American Technology Network Corporation) seeks Ukrainian business and technology projects. Andrew Shpakov, Head of M&A at ATN Corp. talks about the firm’s global investment strategy, the role of Ukraine, and plans to support the local military tech sector.

ATN is the world’s leading manufacturer of digital optics devices for civilian and military use: night vision devices, thermal imagers, binoculars, scopes, rangefinders, etc. The company is actively investing in smart optics, where R&D is of high priority, and releases new product generations every 2–3 years. ATN has offices and production facilities in the US, UK, EU, and Ukraine.

(Representatives of ATN and Ukrainian Armed Forces at IWA event, Nuremberg, March 2023)

Why is Ukraine so important for ATN Corp.?

ATN is a global company with headquarters and a key market being the United States. It also has production facilities in the UK and Bulgaria. In Ukraine, the company has been operating almost since its foundation in 1995, consistently developing local engineering capabilities and product expertise. In addition, the founder and Chairman, Marc Vayn, was born in Kyiv, although he spent his entire life in the States.

“Better vision” for defense

Since the first days of the full-scale invasion, the company has been supporting Ukraine through Vayn’s personal initiative and charity, product support, and active work with the Ukrainian and US governments on a commercial contract basis. 

Since the beginning of the war, more than 40,000 ATN devices have been delivered to Ukraine to help the Ukrainian Armed Forces and bring our defenders to a higher technological level. During this time, the company has also adapted its flagship thermal imaging scopes for RPG-7 and SPG, which have already passed several successful tests by the military and are now used on the front line, in addition to the newly developed drone modules, battle management system, and much more.

(Field tests of ATN’s Mars 4 thermal imaging scope adopted for RPG-7)

How does ATN develop its business globally?

The company’s overall development strategy includes, among other things, inorganic expansion by acquiring EBITDA-positive businesses operating in the relevant sectors with at least $10 of revenue. These include manufacturers and distributors of smart and traditional optics. The second pillar is technology: drones/UAVs, computer vision and image processing, target tracking, shooting performance improvement, etc. ATN is also interested in businesses with established B2G channels, including in the military and law enforcement spaces. Geographically, the global M&A strategy is primarily aimed at North America, the UK, and the EU.

“Realizing that Ukraine’s defense industry is going to face stellar growth, the vast majority of Ukrainian military tech entrepreneurs are not ready for a 100% exit. In this case, we act as a strategic investor, and, in addition to providing growth capital, we create significant value from the world’s industry leader, and together we are moving towards Ukraine’s victory and ambitious joint goals,” said Andrew Shpakov, Head of M&A at ATN Corporation.

Who are they looking for in Ukraine in the first place?

Ukraine is a market with a separate focus – namely, R&D, innovations, and solutions in the military tech segment. These are both widespread – drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground vehicles (UGVs) – and more path-breaking, including optics-based software solutions for image/video processing, object tracking, information transmission, training devices to improve shooting efficiency, etc. The company is aimed at companies whose products have been tested and proven to be helpful in combat conditions, as well as mature businesses with a successful B2G and export track record.

Benefits and value add from ATN’s investment:

  • growth capital;
  • product, sales, and marketing expertise from a leading global company;
  • business and production scaling, access to global markets (including the US), including regulatory compliance;
  • management and protection of intellectual property.
(ATN Thor 4 thermal imaging scope used by Ukrainian Armed Forces)

Supporting military tech in Ukraine and partnerships

Ukraine’s startups and businesses should not be driven and developed just by investments. That is why ATN is actively seeking partnership opportunities with stakeholders to develop defense technologies in Ukraine further. Among priorities is cooperation with the government and businesses in the sector, such as accelerators and grant programs, etc. As a military tech representative, ATN is joining the newly created defense tech cluster BRAVE1, as recently reported by AIN.

Investment or partnership proposals for ATN Corp. should be submitted here.