Innovators with emerging technology at our nation’s top research universities pitched potential Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial investors at the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Emerge Accelerator Showcase Day. The pitches included use cases for their companies, exploring opportunities for further collaboration.
Over the last three months, the companies learned startup business fundamentals and tips for navigating federal contracts as part of the NSIN Emerge Accelerator program. The teams had weekly meetings with mentors and coaches with expertise in federal contracting and startup creation, who shared their experiences with the teams on topics such as preparing for prospective DoD partner visits to review the technology. In addition, the companies had coursework to clarify their marketing and communications materials for federal partners, and the companies had opportunities to network with military and commercial investors to showcase their dual-use technologies for solving problems in military and commercial markets.
Universities nominated more than 200 teams for the NSIN Emerge program, and after an intensive selection process, 42 teams from 17 universities received invitations to join this inaugural cohort. The companies in the cohort worked on various technologies with important government and national security applications, including energy and environmental tech, cybersecurity and analytics, digital optimization, healthtech, and communication and sensing in difficult environments.
Here’s what some of the teams had to say about their experience in NSIN Emerge Accelerator:
- “It’s cool we got an opportunity to meet so many individuals from across the Department of Defense where we had really useful conversations in the bi-weekly pitch workshops.” - OSU Battery Life
- “As a scientist, you talk pretty differently, so you have a tendency of making things really hard. What really helped me was understanding from the federal perspective how their needs are and how we should communicate on the other side… It’s the start of a conversation which I’ve never had before. That itself was 100% worth it right there.” - LumiShield
- “I was preparing my pitch [before Emerge] towards asking for funding or rate of funding rather than talking to a customer to sell my product. They [Emerge] helped a lot to navigate the messaging to still present myself as a young company with strong IP but target my messaging towards a certain customer and be able to focus on the value proposition of my product for the customer.” - Lolani
- “One of the most valuable things for us was customer discovery and finetuning of possibilities and applications for our technology… The last couple weeks we were leaning forward and making it all come together, particularly with us being able to truncate a million uses for [Novum Nano] down to two really specific examples that actually could be used right now.” - Novum Nano
- “The [Emerge] program was important to get deeper insights into how the government works, and I think it opened new ways to think about our product… I think in the first few weeks we were broader in terms of what we thought realistically we could add value to… but the more feedback we got, we really coalesced on the usefulness of this [Nimbus AI] for U.S. military bases domestic and abroad that have significant solar resources and need to manage those resources.”- Nimbus AI
- “I enjoyed the program because it was well organized, and the content was relevant. I’ve participated in other accelerator programs, but they weren’t as focused as this one. This was focused on specific groups, and we really learned a lot… At the beginning our presentation was very scientific and technical without really having much of the commercialization business coloring to it. We got some good feedback to be able to convey the tech basics but put them in the context of the market and business.” - Activas Diagnostics
- “We got exposure to a bunch of people in the federal government through this [Emerge], through our pitch process, and they gave us feedback… Being able to get some general advice from them [federal experts] on how we will meet with these agencies in the future was super helpful. Them being willing to open their doors to us and just say ‘hey we’re here as a resource, use us while we’re here’ has been awesome.” - DesiCorp, Inc.
- “They [Emerge] did a very good about forcing upon us the discipline of good marketing materials for five-minute pitches and two-pagers. It’s kind of like, you know you need to do it, but until someone makes you, it’s hard to do.” - MatrixSpace
- “Emerge program really helped us for preparing and maturing our slide decks and two-pager, especially how we communicate to a federal agency… Interacting with people that have experience working in the government was really helpful to see their perception about our presentation and pitches.” - Hydronet
- “There was good curriculum that was laid out in terms of meeting some of the requirements from a federal perspective whether it be a two-pager, or how do you pitch to different perspective.” - uberSpark, Inc.
Watch the NSIN Emerge Accelerator Showcase Day presentations:
- Cybersecurity, AI ML & Analytics, & Adv Materials
- Energy & Environment
- Health Tech, First Responders, Wireless Comms Sensing
About the NSIN Emerge Accelerator
NSIN Emerge Accelerator builds on the foundational principle that universities do not need to create new programs or resources to participate. Its funding intends to support university-based technology teams in accelerated technology development and venture formation for commercial and DoD applications.