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Defense startup aims to bring underwater search technology into the future

ThayerMahan CEO Mike Connor, right, stood with support teams from OASIS and Liquid Robotics as the company's robotic systems underwent sea trials off the Big Island of Hawaii in September of 2016.Groton — At the new ThayerMahan office, chief operating officer Richard Hine holds up a chart with colorful bubbles that demonstrate the components of a "marine robotics ecosystem."

ThayerMahan is a systems integrator, and so some of the bubbles are the parts it combines: host vehicles from Liquid Robotics, towed array sonar from Raytheon, acoustic payload integration from OASIS.

"We'll be providing basically mobile autonomous acoustic search systems," CEO Mike Connor explained of ThayerMahan. "We offer networking service and analytical tools to examine the results of those systems."

The chart also illustrates how success for the startup could lead to venture capital buzz, new capital, faster funding, more startups and more defense-oriented entrepreneurs.

This kind of visual thinking is the norm for the office. Hine's whiteboard walls are filled with brainstorming and to-do lists. The company hired an artist to illustrate its meeting notes, and her works hangs on panels in the conference room.