Small Business Innovation Breakfast Round Up
The Chief Scientist for the Pentagon’s new innovation cell, DIUX, and leaders from the U.S. Small Business Administration spoke Tuesday at the Small Business Innovation Breakfast in Cambridge, Mass., about new opportunities for startups and small businesses to find government funding.
A crowd of entrepreneurs and researchers in a range of emerging technology fields including wearables, cybersecurity, biologics and robotics, packed the Cambridge Innovation Center to learn about these programs that offer funding without having to give up company equity.
Bernadette Johnson, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental’s (DIUX) Chief Scientist, spoke about the agency’s program to get companies funded in under 60 days. Launched last year, the Commercial Solutions Opening program uses a unique acquisition tool called an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) to streamline the typically slow acquisition process.
Since starting the CSO program, DIUX has spent more than $70 million on companies in a wide range of emerging technology field. In fact, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official announced this week that DIUX would receive an additional infusion of cash to get more companies under contract.
Bob Nelson, the SBA District Director for Massachusetts, spoke about the continued dedicated to getting small businesses funded through the many programs offered by the SBA and their partners. He highlighted the fact that Massachusetts is one of the leading states in terms of the number of companies that win awards.
Dan Lilly, an advisor at the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, emphasized the opportunities and offered suggestions to companies thinking about applying to the Small Business Innovation Research program. One of his suggestions was making sure companies and researchers made sure to have their finances organized before issuing a proposal.
Ed Jameson, CEO of Jameson & Co. CPAs, has worked with companies that receive government funding for nearly 30 years. Since 1978, Jameson has helped companies procure, manage, and survive audit on more than $4 billion in government awards. Jameson offered the same advice Lilly did emphasizing the need for young companies to work with accounting professionals when receiving government funding.
Following the panel discussion, four startups in cybersecurity, wearables, robotics and drones provided pitches on the technologies their companies are developing.
Legionarius, a wearables company based in Massachusetts, is developing a solution to autonomously stop bleeding on the battlefield. Alexander Gruentzig, CEO and co-founder of Legionarius, provided a demonstration during his pitch showing how the bladders inside a shirt will stop bleeding almost immediately.
Rise Robotics is developing power sources for exosuits. Arron Acosta, founder and CEO of Rise Robotics, spoke about how the company’s BeltScrew drive would power exosuits into the future.
Riptide Autonomous Solutions is an underwater drone company that has utilized funding from federal agencies to develop their technologies. The company has worked with organizations to develop Riptide’s low cost underwater drones that could help propel research of the Earth’s oceans.
The last company to present was EYL Partner, the Diamond Winner for MassChallenge’s recent competition. EYL has developed a security solution for the Internet of Things utilizing radioisotopes to create random numbers.
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