Jan 23, 2020 Hot on the heels of a powerhouse 2019 program, Techstars, the U.S. Air Force, NSIN, and BAE Systems FAST Labs, are delighted to announce the 2020 class of the Air Force Accelerator Powered by Techstars.

In 2018 the program launched with the goal of connecting the Air Force to early stage commercially-oriented startups with innovative technologies, and adapting Air Force business processes to match the commercial world – instead of turning startups into full-fledged defense contractors. The first year of our program was a huge success, and in 2019 we welcomed BAE Systems FAST Labs as an additional partner to support the program. For BAE Systems FAST Labs, access to our pool of program applicants provides tremendous insight into current industry trends, and being part of our startup selection process affords a tremendous head-start in integrating our companies technologies into their military systems. Beyond our Air Force and BAE Systems FAST Labs partners, we are grateful to have the support of our sponsors the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN, formerly MD5), AFWERX, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and AFIMSC Tyndall Program Management Office (PMO) for our 2020 program.

Of our 20 alumni companies, 19 have gone on to win a collective $20+ million in Department of Defense contracts from AFWERX/AFRL’s newly re-designed Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)  “Open Topic” program. Many of these companies are also executing proof-of-concept projects from commercial entities and have raised significant private investment as well.

Funded by the U.S. Federal Government, SBIR, also known as the Small Business Innovation Research program, is one of the largest sources of early-stage capital in the United States, and is intended to help small businesses accelerate their dual-use products to market with non-dilutive prototyping contracts. In past years AFWERX and AFRL have transformed the legacy SBIR program to make it more attractive to commercial startups and VCs with generous matching grants – up to $1.5 million – and a much quicker turnaround time for awarding contracting, usually under 30 days.

Click to read the full article and the members of the Techstars class of 2020