AUSTIN ( KXAN) — Innovators from around the world will be at the J.W. Marriott to pitch their ideas and technology in hopes of getting interest from the U.S. Department of Defense.
More than a thousand innovators signed up for the Defense Innovation Summit. Through a vetting process, only 300 will get the chance to pitch their ideas in a shark tank like environment. The entrepreneurs will be set up in rooms and try and sell their product to Department of Defense and Investment Leads.
“We’re working with the Department of Defense to identify what we think are some of the top technologies that can fit with the needs of the department of defense and this ranges across topic areas such as energy, cyber security, medical technologies and even advance materials,” said Matthew Laudon, CEO of Tech Connect.
Tech Connect is a company which looks for innovations that meet the needs of corporate, government and investment partners. It’s partnering with National Security Technology Accelerator or NSTXL, an Austin non-profit, for the summit. NSTXL works with entrepreneurs and start-up companies to help them connect with business opportunities within the government.
“It used to be that the federal government, in particular the military, was responsible for most of the big innovation within our country and that’s no longer the case,”explained Tim Greeff, CEO and Co-Found of NSTXL. “That’s really shifted to the private sector but the problem is that the government bureaucracy is so complicated that they can’t keep up with the rapid pace of innovation where now devices are outdated six months after they hit the market place.”
Representatives from more than than 15 federal agencies participate including the Department of Defense, Dept. of Homeland Security, National Science Foundation, Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, Special Operations Command and Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Greeff said the U.S. Department of Defense spends more than $200 billion a year on new technologies. He said for small companies and innovators, they don’t have access to the money because it’s a complicated bureaucratic process.
“We’re absolutely cutting through the red tape which is and exhaustive process and that’s really the point of our non-profit, Is taking the big bureaucracy, creating a very stream lined way for the government buyer to connect with the small innovator and vice versa, helping the small innovator get in touch with the right person within the government to talk to showcase their technology,” explained Greeff.
He said if a purchaser within the DOD likes a company or several companies and the technology they have, NSTXL acts as the chief operator of the contracts so that the small company doesn’t have to deal with all the bureaucracy. NXTXL also helps with the government prototype and the technology specifically for military or defense purposes
This is a unique opportunity this is the first time this has happen, that we’ve run a program like this and the Department of Defense has used these types of challenged programs at this level.
“This is a unique opportunity, this is the first time this has happen, that we’ve run a program like this and the Department of Defense has used these types of challenged programs at this level,” said Laudon. “What we think will be an opportunity for technology such as power generation to, we even have medical technology such as tissue generation, to even jet packs that will be shown here at the event and with the Department of Defense seeing a way to invest into them and partner with them.”
Laudon said usually theses summits happen in Washington D.C. but the community is coming to Austin because they feel like central Texas is an innovation hub.
- The summit also has workshops starting on Tuesday through Wednesday.
- Tickets are still available
- Active Military free
- To learn more click here
Laudon said this is the summit’s third year in Austin.
“The first two years we focused a lot on energy and then as we worked with the Department of Defense we’ve expanded into these new areas. Including as I said, kind of the book ends of the programs of energy one side and medical on the far side,” explained Laudon.