Army Holds Cash Prize Contest for Small Business Tech

By Connie Lee

iStock photo

 The Army is looking to attract new technology ideas from small businesses by holding a contest with cash prizes. 

Through the Army Expeditionary Technology Search program, the service invited companies to pitch systems that match its operational needs. Proposals ranged from tracking devices to portable pathogen-detection technologies, specialized material coatings and post-silicon semiconductors.

“We recognize that these technologies are critical, but we need to make sure there are ways that they can be integrated within our Army systems so we can get them into the hands of the warfighter,” Matt Willis, director of laboratory management in the office of the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said in a March announcement of the top 10 finalists. “Through this competition, we’ve lowered barriers and expanded opportunities for nontraditional partners to do business with the Army.”

The selected vendors each received $120,000 before moving on to compete for the final prize of $250,000. An event to choose prize winners is slated for October at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., according to a news release. 

By holding the contest, the service hopes to gain insight into industry advancements that can potentially help soldiers, Willis said. 

“The intrinsic value of this program includes many non-monetary benefits, including direct engagement with Army stakeholders, which really is typically not readily accessible to industry,” he said. “Businesses also gain a clearer understanding of the Army needs and priorities, and what opportunities are potentially available from a business perspective.” 

However, the service also hopes to continue working with companies that did not win, he noted. 

“We can help you get in contact with the right people to establish cooperative research-and-development agreements with our labs,” Willis said. 

The top 10 companies include Bounce Imaging; GeneCapture; Inductive Ventures; IoT/AI; KeriCure; Lynq Technologies; MEI Micro; Multiscale Systems; Novaa Ltd.; and Vita Inclinata Technologies. 

Additionally, the companies were accepted into the Army xTechSearch-Sponsored Accelerator, which connects them to other industry professionals and service officials throughout the next phase of the competition. 

“The goal of the accelerator is to integrate small businesses into the [science-and-technology] ecosystem, and assist with customer discovery with the Army and develop feasible transition paths for these technologies,” Willis said.

Topics: Army News, Research and Development

Comments (3)

Re: Army Holds Cash Prize Contest for Small Business Tech

While I welcome and applaud the contest for innovation and advancement at the "Tip of the Spear" technological ideas, I think that the US Army needs to step back and address BEHIND the spearhead issues...the PTSDs, the VA Hospital scandals, the injured, the Homeless Vets, the lack of proper PPEs, the training, the base housing, the potholed base roads, lack of drugs and care, lack of Therapy, the National Guard overtaxing, safety and maintenance, schooling for families, ROTC, affordable housing, healthier diets, etc...and all the issues that crop up in the newspapers. Address the retired Spearholder and not always the spearhead.

Let DARPA, universities, and R&D Defense Labs take care of innovations at the spear's tip, which this contest seems to be redundant about. Hold contests to address those Army Vets and Wounded Warriors who fall through the cracks and believe that they are ignored such as the Homeless Vets (lots) or Vets that live Off the Grid in Alaska, or Militias who believe in the Army's ways but are against Big Army and the government. Technological innovation, concepts, robotics, care, small businesses, etc. can help soothe those who served and feel forgotten or ignored after they left the Service. Let this contest develop technology that get to the Vets and families after the Warrior Part to better integrate them back into society. Spend contest money addressing where it is needed after the Service and the wars because there is plenty of R&D money spent at and on the spearhead.

Cenebar at 4:17 PM
Re: Army Holds Cash Prize Contest for Small Business Tech

While innovation in cybercrime is flourishing, open innovation in cybersecurity is ignored, disregarded and discouraged. Can you recommend a cybersecurity contest for independent inventors or a governmental institution which would evaluate a cybersecurity method designed to be very beneficial to our national security?

Dan Mimis at 11:44 AM
Re: Army Holds Cash Prize Contest for Small Business Tech

Our small business would like to apply Army Holds Cash Prize Contest for Small Business Tech. Please send detail of application process and time table for submission.

Jack Wilson at 2:37 PM
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