Proven Expertise, Endless Opportunity.


Propel is a program within NSIN’s Acceleration Portfolio that partners with commercial startup accelerators to provide solutions to the Department of Defense (DoD) by rapidly developing dual-use companies. This approach de-risks the search for emerging technology and uses a proven strategy to accelerate the development of novel solutions relevant to the DoD. By working with accelerators, Propel helps units, commands, and program offices discover and shape emerging technologies in response to the real-world needs of DoD Mission Partners.

Proven Expertise, Endless Opportunity

Propel partners with leading start-up accelerators like Decisive Point and MassChallenge to create new opportunities for both DoD mission partners and early-stage ventures. By leveraging the proven developmental programs of our partners and NSIN’s nationwide network, Propel expands DoD mission partners access to the venture community and assists start-ups in transforming their technology into capabilities.

Ventures that apply to Propel-associated accelerators undergo a rigorous selection process to form a cohort focused around DoD challenges. Through a multi-month process, with the guidance of commercial mentors and DoD liaisons, cohort members improve their technology, strengthen their understanding of mission partners needs, and build their team into a viable dual-use business. The result is a small business that is much more prepared to work with the DoD and succeed in the commercial market. Accelerator programs culminate in a demo day, when the start-ups show their progress to prospective customers and private sector investors.

Growing the National Security Innovation Base, One Partner at a Time

Past Propel programming has been focused on areas of technological innovation relevant to DoD, such as unmanned systems, high-performance hardware and software, computer vision, augmented reality/virtual reality, and data-enabled recruiting, training, and education. Crucially, these technologies have both commercial and defense applications, because we believe that the sustainable growth of our partners depends on having broad markets.

Over the last two years, Propel has collaborated with five accelerators to advance more than 86 high-potential dual-use ventures. To date, these ventures have received 50 DoD awards and more than $78M in DoD grants and private investment at a 3:1 ratio of private to public dollars.