The Defense Innovation Accelerator (DIA), powered by FedTech, matches cutting-edge Department of Defense (DoD) technologies with teams of entrepreneurs during intensive, six-month cohorts. Entrepreneurs work closely with lab inventors, mentors, coaches, subject matter experts, and DoD end-users to assess the market viability and commercialization potential of the technologies. Successful teams form new companies, license the technologies, and develop solutions that impact the DoD and the private sector.
What We Do
The DIA team identifies, researches, and vets cutting-edge DoD technologies developed in government laboratories, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs). DIA recruits the most innovative entrepreneurs in the academic and startup communities who want to build their next venture around one of these defense technologies. DIA brings the technologies and entrepreneurs together and provides knowledgeable instructors; access to DoD inventors and end-users; mentorship from DoD and private sector subject-matter experts; and training on lean-startup principles, market assessment, company formation, technology licensing, and more.
How It Works
DIA is an intensive, 100% virtual program executed in two phases. Phase I focuses on customer discovery, exploring the commercial viability of the DoD technology, and identifying business and technology development pathways. Teams that determine their technology has enough potential to form a company move on to Phase II. Phase II focuses on company formation, technology licensing, and identifying commercial and public funding opportunities. At the end of the cohort, teams present market assessment reports to the labs and compete at a “Showcase Day” live pitch event to potential customers and investors.
Each DIA cohort includes technologies from a variety of areas. Past technology verticals have included:
- 3D printing
- Advanced materials
- Artificial intelligence/machine learning
- Autonomous systems
- Command, control, and communications
- Energy and power system
- Human performance
Calling all Entrepreneurs
DIA is looking for the next group of entrepreneurs for its 2022 cohort. Applicants from various backgrounds are encouraged to apply, ensuring a diverse cohort with a variety of perspectives. Whether new to the startup game or a serial entrepreneur, experienced with the DoD or a first-timer, or possess a GED, Ph.D., or culinary degree, if you’re an open-minded innovator who’s eager to create a new company, this is the opportunity for you. History has shown that more diversity results in stronger and more successful teams.
The program requires deep commitment from entrepreneurs, but it is structured to allow participants to keep their day jobs. As much as possible, all required workshops, training, and events occur on evenings and weekends.
U.S. citizenship is not required to participate in the program; however, some lab partners require teams composed of only U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The DIA team will make every reasonable effort to match all accepted entrepreneurs with the team and technology that is right for them.
DIA 2022 Entrepreneur Application
Calling all Labs
Is your invention ripe for commercialization? Do you want to see it make a real impact? Do you want to learn about the commercial marketplace and see what the private sector can do to bring your invention to the next level? Then DIA may be the program for you.
DIA has broadened its technology pool to include all U.S. Government labs (not just DoD labs), FFRDCs, and UARCs. The technology must be applicable to DoD requirements or DoD customer problems.
At a minimum, the inventor must have filed a provisional patent. Higher technology readiness level (TRL) technologies (≥4) with demonstrated prototypes are preferred. Inventions within the last three years are also preferred.
NSIN entirely funds the program, so there is no direct cost for your lab. However, during the cohort, inventors must commit to spending at least one hour per week with the entrepreneur team and participate in a few weekend events, such as the Kickoff and final Showcase Day.
Apply now to see if DIA can help commercialize your invention.
2022 Cohort Application Dates
Dates for the 2022 cohort are still to be determined, but the program will likely begin early to mid-Spring, 2022.
Subscribe to the weekly NSIN Enterprise Newsletter to stay up-to-date on the 2022 DIA application.
Questions about DIA?
Please direct any questions to DIA@nsin.us
DIA Success Stories
DIA’s past cohorts are continuing to develop their technologies, hone their commercialization strategies, and build robust partnerships. Visit our DIA Community on UNUM to see what our alumni are doing now.