Regional Pitch Day Leverages National Event's Success

18.03.19 09:21 PM By Jennie Hempstead

Ms. Devaki Raj, CEO and Founder at CrowdAI, pitches her product to a crowd of small businesses, venture capitalists, and Airmen during the Inaugural Air Force Pitch Day in Manhattan, New York, March 7, 2019. Raj was awarded a same-day contract with the U.S. Air Force during AF Pitch Day. AF Pitch Day is designed as a fast-track program to put companies on one-page contracts and same-day awards with the swipe of a government credit card. The Air Force is partnering with small businesses to help further national security in air, space and cyberspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Last week at the first-ever Air Force Pitch Day in NYC, Air Force Magazine reported "The Air Force awarded 51 initial phase one (Small Business Innovation Research - SBIR) contracts, immediately delivering $3.5 million with the swipe of a government credit card, with another $5.25 million to be delivered later". Contracts were completed and paid in 15 minutes or less, shattering the previous record of three months. This is great news for phase one SBIR winners, who have proven novel concepts that solve Air Force challenges. The hope is to turn those concepts into reality, and that happens during the phase two and three SBIR process.

Wright Brothers Institute (WBI), the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and The Entrepreneur Center (TEC) have partnered to create the T3 Transition Accelerator, an experimental pilot that will accelerates companies' ability to successfully win phase two SBIR awards. The focus of the Transition Accelerator is to develop innovative concepts and prototypes for technologies that address human-machine teaming with the objective of providing the U.S. Air Force with an improved capability to execute its Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance (ISR) mission. The accelerator goes beyond mentoring and business plan development. The 10-week series will help companies create a commercialization plan, develop investable business pitches and apply for phase two SBIR contracts.

Heavy hitters like Proctor & Gamble were asked to help evaluate the market-readiness of each company's concept via consumer research firm, The Living Room. Companies use the feedback to devise a successful commercialization plan, increasing the likelihood of a phase two award.

The Air Force Pitch Day's success may provide a pipeline of cohorts for the T3 Transition Accelerator in coming years. Imagine going from zero to phase two completion in six months? It may be possible, thanks to the promise of new procurement flexibility and providing companies with a strong foundation of commercialization. While not all of the cohorts are from the Dayton region, if they find success through the T3 Accelerator, they may be inclined to relocate to the area.

The program culminates with a Demonstration Day on April 5 at 3:00pm at The Steam Plant in Dayton, OH where participants will present their cutting-edge solutions to a live audience. Free registration for the event and information can be found at https://t3accelerator.com/demo-day/ . Read the press release.