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National Security Innovation Network
Monday, Dec. 20, 2021
Reading time: 4 minutes

The next NSIN newsletter will be on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.


Defense Innovators Who Solved National Security Problems in 2021

Rediscover the successful defense innovation efforts from students, startups, and service members who brought fresh ideas and talent to help DoD mission partners with national security challenges. Highlights from the past year:
February 2021

Entrepreneurs Solve Cyber Attacks

Distributed Spectrum, Base8, Koala-Proof, and Synergy win the NSIN Mad Hacks: Fury Code hackathon to develop technology to help human-controlled and autonomous vehicles operate through electronic warfare.

April 2021

Entrepreneurs Solve Wildfire Communications

Autonodyne, Perimeter, and WICS win the NSIN Beat the Blaze hackathon to develop communication and information-sharing for wildfire operations.

June 2021

Students Solve National Security Problems

Over 280 students from 88 universities participate in a national security fellowship program to solve military problems while in school.

Startups Accelerate Defense Contracts

NSIN Alumni DroneHQ and Distributed Spectrum showcase their ideas and win a pitch competition to receive funding for further development.

Startups Expand Space Technology for the DoD

After winning Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contracts at the 2021 Space Force Pitch Day, 38 early-stage startups showcased space technologies at the NSIN Starts Space Collider event.

August 2021

Entrepreneurs Share Technology Ideas with the DoD

Early-career STEM professionals volunteer to solve tech-oriented national security problems for the DoD.

Companies Showcase Defense Tech in Nebraska

Defense innovators in Nebraska demonstrate their national security technology and their economic development initiatives for the state.

Entrepreneurs Solve Military Problems in the Arctic

Polaris Communications, Parasanti, and GEE ISD win the NSIN Polar Vortex hackathon to develop their data-sharing solutions for geospatial data in the Arctic.

September 2021

Startup Advances National Security through Video Game

Gradient J wins $100,000 for artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to speed and scale new opportunities in analytics, wargaming, and warfighter training.

Startups Take DoD Lab Tech to Commercial Markets

ELVEE and Monolithium win funding to continue commercializing their respective biomechanic and solid-state battery DoD laboratory technology solutions.

October 2021

Companies Showcase Tomorrow's Defense Tech in Brooklyn Navy Yard

Startups display dual-use AI, ML, and sensor technology for military and commercial partners at the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Startups Exhibit Drone and 5G Tech for DoD Partners

Startups exhibit their drone sensor, 5G, and high-speed computer technologies for dual-use commercial and national security partners.

STEM Professionals Become Defense Community Ambassadors

Professionals with successful careers in STEM fields volunteer to help create a diverse talent pipeline for the DoD, raise awareness of DoD employment opportunities, and expand networks of defense innovators in their communities.

Startups Advance Defense Partnerships in Low-Income States

Startups in low-income states expand economic development by solving military base energy resilience and securing spectrum management with their commercial technologies.

November 2021

Defense Innovation Hub Opens in Seattle

NSIN opens the Mission Acceleration Center (MAC) hub in Seattle for defense and venture communities to collaborate.

Entrepreneurs Develop Electric and Energy Tech for the DoD

OptoRelay, eve Vehicles, and Arbor Batteries win the NSIN Power Play hackathon to continue developing their electric and energy technologies for DoD energy consumption and storage solutions.

December 2021

Entrepreneurs Advance Air Force Technology

Grand Challenge teams win close to $3 million from the Air Force Research Laboratory to create technology that will improve Air Force operations.


NEWS: NSIN released its 2021 Year in Review report showcasing a year marked by expansion, diversification, and innovation that is changing the way the Department of Defense (DoD) solves problems.

JAN. 14, 2022

EVENT: NSIN is partnering with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for a virtual event on Feb. 3, 2022, to identify companies capable of developing geospace-focused technology solutions supporting NGA to participate in a virtual small business diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) showcase. Interested small businesses should apply by Jan. 14, 2022.

JAN. 21, 2022

EVENT: NSIN is accepting applications for the 2022 NSIN X-Force Fellowship. Selected fellows will work with military and national security leaders on real-world DoD missions, participate in professional development opportunities, and gain experience using their skills for national security solutions. Apply by Jan. 21, 2022.

JAN. 24, 2022

EVENT: Registration is open for the first NSIN Hacks of 2022. Innovators will compete to develop solutions for autonomous vehicles traversing rugged terrain in austere environments. The Off the Beaten Path hackathon begins Jan. 24, 2022.


NSIN Alumni Land Nearly $100 million in Series A and Series B Funding

STOKE is a space technology startup developing a fully reusable rocket and a participant in the NSIN Space Collider earlier this year. In 2021, STOKE raised $65 million in Series A funding. In 2020, their seed was only $9.1 million.

Edge Impulse is a machine-learning (ML) technology startup developing an ML platform to support sensors, audio, and computer vision at scale and a participant in the NSIN showcase at the Brooklyn Navy Yard earlier this year. Edge Impulse raised $34 million in Series B funding and now has a valuation of $234 million. 

JAN. 19, 2022, 2 p.m. EST (Virtual)

EVENT: Attend Kessel Run Engagement Day to learn more about the software development and acquisition unit for the U.S. Air Force, and discover how Kessel Run’s innovative platform can deliver cloud-based infrastructure and software solutions for your organization.

Thursdays, noon EST (Virtual)

EVENT: Air Force Ventures (AFVentures), under AFWERX, hosts weekly webinars to answer questions about the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) open topics every Thursday at noon EST.
 Learn more >>


The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is seeking innovative research that combines artificial intelligence (AI)-driven planning with interactive gaming to improve joint air capabilities. Solutions should generate potential courses of action to allow operators to explore, cull, and evaluate combat plans while gaining insight into the future battlespace. Total funding for this opportunity is approximately $99 million. White papers are due Jan. 10, 2022.
Follow the NSIN funding opportunities blog to identify more funding across the defense innovation space. 
Access the power of NSIN to tackle the toughest DoD challenges. Complete the problem intake form below and discover our network of problem solvers.
NSIN Problem Intake Form
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The National Security Innovation Network is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation. We operate three portfolios of programs and services: National Service, Collaboration, and Acceleration. Together, these portfolios form a pipeline of activities and solutions that accelerate the pace of defense innovation.  
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