NSIN Vector seeks to advance the development of early-stage ventures. The program welcomes companies that started in the commercial market and are interested in exploring the DoD market and companies that began in the DoD market and are seeking to grow.
The 2023 iteration of NSIN Vector specifically targets early-stage ventures whose principal places of business are in the states of Hawaii, Washington, Kansas, Ohio, and Arizona - where NSIN will place future Mission Acceleration Centers.
July 28, 2023: Application period begins
Aug. 25, 2023 Application due date and down-select begins
Sep. 11, 2023: Participant selection announcement
Oct. 2, 2023: Accelerator start
Week of Dec. 11, 2023 Pitch Event and Winner Announcements
Areas of Focus
Companies selected for the 2023 NSIN Vector cohort will have technologies that align with at least one of the 14 DoD modernization priorities and address national security priority focus areas including Ukraine, strategic deterrence, and Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
- Biotechnology: Biotechnology is an emerging engineering discipline that uses living systems to produce a wide range of technologies and capabilities.
- Quantum Science: Quantum Science is the study of physical properties at small, even atomic, scales. Defense applications include atomic clocks, quantum sensors, quantum computing, and quantum networks. Quantum science promises to enable leap-ahead capabilities.
- Future Generation Wireless Technology (FutureG): FutureG is a suite of emerging wireless network technologies enabled by DoD and commercial industry cooperation to enable military operations and ensure a free and open internet.
- Advanced Materials: Advanced materials explore innovative new materials and novel manufacturing techniques that can dramatically improve many of the Department’s capabilities.
- Trusted AI and Autonomy: Artificial Intelligence (Al) is the software engineering discipline of expanding capabilities of software applications to perform tasks that currently require human intelligence.
- Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems: Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems technology encompasses the capability to communicate, provide real-time dissemination of information across the Department, and effective command and control in a contested electromagnetic environment.
- Microelectronics: Microelectronics are circuits and components that serve as the “brain” to human-made electronic functional systems.
- Space Technology: Space technologies include space flight, Space communication, and other technologies needed to maintain space operations.
- Renewable Energy Generation and Storage: Renewable energy generation and storage includes solar wind, bio-based and geothermal technologies, advanced energy storage, electronic engines, and power grid integration.
- Advanced Computing and Software: Advanced computing and software technologies include supercomputing, cloud computing, data storage, computing architectures, and data processing.
- Human-Machine Interfaces: Human-Machine Interface refers to technologies related to human-machine teaming and augmented and virtual reality.
- Directed Energy: Directed Energy Weapons utilize lasers, high power microwaves, and high energy particle beams to produce precision disruption, damage, or destruction of military targets at range.
- Hypersonics: Hypersonic systems fly within the atmosphere for significant portions of their flight at or above five times the speed of sound, or approximately 3700 miles per hour.
- Integrated Sensing and Cyber: To provide advantage for the joint force in highly contested environments, the Department must develop wideband sensors to operate at the intersection of cyberspace, electronic warfare, radar, and communications.
Who Should Apply?
Early-stage ventures starting within the commercial market and interested in exploring DoD market opportunities, or startups beginning in the DoD market and seeking to grow.
- Companies must be U.S. Owned and Operated.
- Registration in SAM.gov is required to receive an award but is not required at the start of the competition.
- Companies must be pre-Series A.
- Ventures whose principal places of business are in states with access to identified NSIN Mission Acceleration Center locations: Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio.
Download the judging rubric. *See below for more details on the evaluation process.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which stage ventures should apply? Pre-Series A or early-stage ventures that want to explore or have started exploring doing business with the DoD.
- Who should apply? Ventures whose principal places of business are in states with access to identified NSIN Mission Acceleration Center locations: Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio.
- Where can I apply? Apply via the application link by Aug. 25, 2023.
- When does Vector occur? The 2023 Vector cohort is 10 weeks long and will begin on Oct. 2.
- Where does Vector happen? Vector is entirely virtual, a combination of live webinar sessions every week and pre-recorded content.
- What level of venture participation is expected? The expected minimum workload for teams is about two hours per week for every week of the cohort.
- How many ventures does Vector accept? Vector accepts about 20 qualified ventures for each iteration cohort.
- Who facilitates the accelerator delivery? Dcode. See Dcode.co for more information.
- What exactly will we learn? Teams can expect to learn about the following topics via a mix of both live and asynchronous programming: Creating a Business Plan, Business Formation Fundamentals, Capital Raising Fundamentals, Building Your Federal Team (including Business Transitions and Talent Deep Dive), Ownership/Equity/Incentives, Federal Pitch Crafting and Refining, Marketing to Federal, Federal Procurement 101 (including SBIR/STTR, CSOs, OTAs, CRADAs, BAAs), Federal Proposal Writing, Leveraging Partners to Get On Contract, Security and Compliance, Product Roadmapping, Managing Legal Risk, IP/Confidentiality Markings, and Market Research. There will also be several opportunities to network with DoD mentors, including NSIN subject matter experts and other component experts.There will also be a final Showcase Event at the end of the program.
- How do participating ventures receive funding? Teams placing first, second, and third in the final showcase event will receive $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. NSIN will fund the awards via its prize authority.
- Derivative IP? The purpose of Vector is for new ventures to explore the benefits of making their business dual-use. NSIN is a DoD organization that exists to promote dual-use innovation. This program does not include an ask to obtain teams’ equity or IP rights. IP considerations will be up to the parties involved to make separate agreements with DoD partners. NSIN does not speak for other DoD organizations or the DoD at large.
Please email any questions about this program to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About National Security Innovation Network
NSIN is a program office in the U.S. Department of Defense, nested within the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). We are set up to collaborate with a wide variety of innovators to include universities, researchers, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups. We create opportunities for collaboration across communities and connect those that might not traditionally work in national security. Together, we help drive national security innovation and develop technologies that directly support the individuals responsible for protecting our country.
About the Mission Acceleration Center
The Mission Acceleration Center or MAC is an open door to the DoD Innovation ecosystem. It is a physical instance of the nationwide NSIN network. This program serves as a catalyst for a diverse population to develop actionable solutions to current and future warfighters’ most complex and pressing problems.
- Non-Government advisors (e.g., DIU/NSIN contractors, academic SMEs) may be used in the evaluation of program applications and for the purposes of in-program performance assessment. Non-Government advisors will have signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with the Government. If an applicant company determines the need to enter into a non-disclosure agreement directly with the non-government advisor, the company shall notify the DIU/NSIN agreements officer, the DIU/NSIN program manager, and the DIU/NSIN portfolio director. Submission of an offer under this Open Call will constitute a grant of authority by the submitting company to the Government to allow the use of non-Government advisors to participate in evaluations of all phases of the Open Call process.
- The Government understands that information provided in response to this Open Call is presented in confidence and may contain trade secret or commercial or financial information, and it agrees to protect such information from unauthorized disclosure to the maximum extent permitted or required by Law, to include:
- 18 U.S.C. 1905 (Trade Secrets Act);
- 18 U.S.C. 1831 et seq. (Economic Espionage Act);
- 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4) (Freedom of Information Act);
- Executive Order 12600 (Pre-disclosure Notification Procedures for Confidential Commercial Information); and,
- Any other statute, regulation, or requirement applicable to Government employees.
- NSIN policy is to treat all submissions as confidential information, and to disclose their contents only for the purpose of evaluation. Restrictive notices notwithstanding, during the evaluation process, submissions may be handled by support contractors for administrative purposes and/or to assist with technical evaluation. All NSIN, DIU and DoD support contractors performing this role are expressly prohibited from performing NSIN or DIU-sponsored technical research and are bound by appropriate NDAs.
- The Department/NSIN will also assess proposals utilizing open-source analysis and analytical tools to evaluate the proposer's viability as a recipient of federal funding.