Finalists presented information-sharing solution concepts for wildfire first-responders in a virtual pitch event on Friday, April 16.

More than 30 teams of innovators, including academic and early-stage ventures, participated in this hackathon, of which three earned a total of $45,000 in contract funding at the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) virtual hackathon ‘Beat The Blaze,’ which concluded on April 16, 2021.

A total of 10 teams were selected to present in the final round from more than 400 hackathon registrants, representing a mix of student teams and early-stage ventures for the finalist round of pitches.

“The quality of the competition for Beat The Blaze was outstanding,” said Kedar Pavgi, NSIN Hacks Program Manager. “Our panel of judges was impressed with the quality of each pitch from our final 10 teams, the competition was fierce, and the viability of the winning solutions is promising.”

The Beat The Blaze winners each receive $15,000 to develop their solution further and help the National Guard and first-responder end-users solve this mission-critical problem.

  • Autonodyne, a venture team from Boston, MA, and its solution puting the human in a supervisory role commanding high-level behaviors;
  • Perimeter, an early-stage venture team from the University of California, Berkeley. Perimeter is a situational intelligence platform that shares information between fire personnel in real-time as an incident progresses in order to protect our communities from natural disasters.
  • WICS, a collaborative student team with students from University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Irvine, and Kings College, London. The WICS solution comprehensive common operating platform that enhances the mobilization capabilities of local, state, and federal bodies (like FEMA and the National Guard) by centralizing file sharing and form processing and then condensing relevant information into a single clean dashboard for high-level situational awareness.

The ‘Beat the Blaze’ hackathon virtually challenged participants to solve communications and information sharing challenges during wildfire operations.

NSIN created ‘Beat The Blaze’ based on the DoD end user demand, and was driven by multiple years of catastrophic and deadly wildfires which have impacted California, Arizona, and many states across the country in devastating ways. Recognizing the need for organizations taking part in counter wildfire operations – including the National Guard and civilian agency partners – it is imperative to have full situational awareness across a given area. Beat The Blaze focused on information and data sharing solutions.

“This is our second virtual collision event this year, and we continue to see tremendous engagement and collaboration from our participants nationwide,” Pavgi said. “From day one, the idea exchange and concept solutions for this challenge were driven by mentor guidance and customer needs. ”

Strategic partners for the ‘Beat the Blaze’ hackathon are the U.S. Air Force 163rd Attack Wing, Hap Arnold Innovation Center, ARCWERX, Arizona State University, University of California at Berkeley, San Diego State University, and the University of Washington’s CoMotion program.


Watch the final pitch round competition for ‘Beat The Blaze’ here.

About NSIN

The NSIN mission is to “build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems.” NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, VA, and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs, and embedded university partnerships, NSIN builds a national network of innovators and delivers programming that solves real-world, DoD problems through collaborative partnerships with non-traditional problem-solvers within the academic and early-stage venture communities.