Early-stage ventures showcased emerging technologies to address the operational imperatives of the Air Force and the broader DoD community at last week’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Propel New York Demo Day.

Over the past 12-weeks, the 10 companies in the Propel New York cohort learned about real-world challenges facing Department of Defense (DoD) end-users, built a foundation for doing business with the government, and designed pilots around the national security applications of their technology. The ventures companies worked alongside experts from industry, NSIN, and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate, the premier research organization for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) and cyber technologies for the U.S. Air Force.

Propel NY Demo Day

During Demo Day, the ventures displayed their cutting-edge technologies with applications for resilient basing, moving target engagement and operationally focused Advanced Battle Management Systems (ABMS) to venture capital firms, commercial startup accelerators, and DoD stakeholders.

Although the Air Force was the target customer for this cohort’s pilots, the technologies have applications for stakeholders from across the DoD. Karen Roth, Deputy Director of AFWERX shared that collaboration between NSIN and its mission partners is what makes Propel valuable for both businesses and the Warfighter.

Speaking to the cohort she said, “One of the big things that was my “go do” from day one from my director was, we have to stop acting just as the Air Force. We have to start acting as a joint community. (…) When so many of the core technologies are the same; we all need AI, we all need cyber security. We all need the technologies that you’re doing. So why do you have to make those same relationships [with all the services] over and over again?”

Benjamin Haynes (far left), CEO of Directus, discussed his team’s innovation with stakeholders.

Benjamin Haynes (far left), CEO of Directus, discussed his team’s innovation with stakeholders.

One of the companies, Kinnami Software Corporation, allows the Air Force to quickly and securely share data between multiple assets in contested environments with their platform, AmiShare. AmiShare fragments and encrypts collected data, then reconstructs it for the intended end user, keeping the information safe while moving it quickly through the network.

Even with prior government traction, the company found Propel to be of great value. Kinnami Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sujeesh Krishnan shared, “I think if you are new to the DoD, this is an absolutely fantastic way to get a quick [twelve] week overview of [the] DoD, what the programs are and how to engage,”shared Sujeesh Krishnan, Kinnami’s chief executive officer (CEO).

Another Propel New York cohort member, Directus, provides industry and the government with a software that allows teams with no coding experience to create custom dashboards so they can track, visualize, and manage data easily. The company’s tool allows data to be leveraged by more teams, enabling more informed decision making across the organization.

“As a small company, we are resource constrained. We don’t have specialists in this domain and [so with Propel] we could rely on the entire NSIN team and the stakeholder connections, everything that they brokered along the way was extremely valuable,” explained Benjamin Haynes, the founder and CEO of Directus.

This latest cohort marks the third iteration of the NSIN Propel New York program. Past participants have collectively raised more than $168 million in trusted private capital and earned more than $50 million in DoD and government non-dilutive funding.

NSIN’s Venture Portfolio Director and Director of Enterprise Services, Abigail Desjardins, shared, “This Demo Day is a great opportunity to show the dual-use community the impact of new innovations in the defense ecosystem.” From her perspective, the companies and investors showed that they are more than ready to fill needs for the Warfighter, “The level of enthusiasm with bringing needed technology to the DoD, across both sides, was phenomenal.”

Ryan Drzyzga Head of Growth at Bazze speaks to stakeholders at the event.

Ryan Drzyzga Head of Growth at Bazze speaks to stakeholders at the event.

Karen Roth, Deputy Director of AFWERX, speaks at the NSIN Propel New York 2023 Demo Day.

Karen Roth, Deputy Director of AFWERX, speaks at the NSIN Propel New York 2023 Demo Day.

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.

For more information or interview requests with Team NSIN, please contact us at media@nsin.mil.