The NSIN Foundry, formerly 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.
Update - In 2022, NSIN Foundry participants have the opportunity to win a portion of $50K awards for the teams that demonstrate the most substantial potential to commercialize a DoD technology to produce capabilities that will benefit the DoD and the private sector.
Download the Foundry Prize Competition Rules.
NSIN is hosting two Lunch & Learn sessions for interested applicants to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur through the NSIN Foundry program on Wednesday, March 9, and Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Registration is required, register here.
What We Do
The Foundry 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). Foundry recruits the most innovative entrepreneurs in the academic and startup communities who want to build their next venture around one of these defense technologies. Foundry 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
Foundry 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 Foundry 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
Foundry 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 Foundry team will make every reasonable effort to match all accepted entrepreneurs with the team and technology that is right for them.
Applications for the 2022 cohort are closed.
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 Foundry may be the program for you.
Foundry 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.
Applications for the 2022 cohort are closed.
2022 Key Program Dates
- Application Period Opens: January 3, 2022
- Q&A period: Applicants can submit questions throughout the application process to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, there will be a series of information sessions on February 23, March 2, and March 9, and March 16, 2022. Register for Lunch & Learn Session
- Extended Application deadline: March 23, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.
- Participant selection announcement: No later than April 13, 2022.
- Participant Orientation: April 18-22, 2022
- Foundry Summit Day Kick-off: April 23, 2022
- Down-select: September 3 – 7, 2022
- Showcase Day: September 14, 2022
Past cohort participants are continuing to develop their technologies, hone their commercialization strategies, and build robust partnerships. Visit our Foundry Community on UNUM to see what our alumni are doing now.