We held our 4th Robotics in Defense event on February 8th, 2022. Ted Maciuba, PE Deputy Director, Robotics Requirements Maneuver Capability Development Integration Directorate, Army Futures Command, provided a roadmap of robotics and autonomy in the army and spoke about few of their new programs. LTC James Templin, Solution Innovation Director at  the Army Applications Lab  explained their funding approach and how they work with small companies. Eight startups gave short presentations about their technology and how it could potentially impact the military. They included a wide variety of technologies, from wearables to autonomy.  See full event recording here.

We also held an informational session about Navigating the DoD and SBIR Fundamentals.  This session was focus on helping startups understand and learn about the DoD landscape and agencies that have programs to find innovative technology that help solve their challenges.  Deb Zides from the MITRE Corporation provided information on the DoD innovation ecosystem and explained how MITRE helps bridge innovation from industry to the defense sector.  Some DoD agencies run challenges, others host accelerators, and most also use the SBIR process.  It’s difficult for startups unfamiliar with DoD to understand where to tap into the various funding sources and which technical readiness levels are required for each.  MITRE has built web pages to map this ecosystem:

  • Tap the Innovation Ecosystem:  Link
  • TRL Visualization: Link

SBIRs are an avenue for small business to get their foot in the door with DoD and provide non-dilutive funding to advance their technology. Stacy Swider from MassVentures provided an SBIR overview that included eligibility, the phases of the programs, and tips around what evaluators are looking for in proposals. She provided several helpful links:

View the full recording of this here:   Navigating the DoD and SBIR Fundamentals