News | May 14, 2019

US Army has $2 million in cash prizes for small businesses with ‘disruptive’ ideas

The Army Expeditionary Technology Search, or xTechSearch, mirrors entrepreneurial pitch competitions where aspiring entrepreneurs make innovative proposals to panels of investors, who then choose whether or not to invest as business partners. xTechSearch is the U.S. Army's latest initiative to uncover novel science and technology solutions by engaging with small businesses and nontraditional partners.

U.S. Army graphic

The U.S. Army has $2.29 million in prizes set aside for small businesses and entrepreneurs who can pitch innovative ideas that address battlefield problems and the contest has already started.

Through the Expeditionary Technology Search, known as the xTechSearch, the Army will be awarding $5,000 prizes to up to 50 small businesses who submit white papers on their technologies by June 13.

The concept papers will be ranked by:

  • Potential for Impact/Revolutionizing the Army – 45%
  • Scientific and Engineering Viability – 45%
  • Proposal Quality – 10%

Those companies will then hone their ideas and compete in a second round with for 24 $10,000 prizes, followed by the third round of 12 $120,000 prizes, culminating in a capstone demonstration with a $250,000 prize awarded to the first place company.

We want “to connect the Army with non-traditional small businesses to spur innovation, cut bureaucracy and lower entry barriers to engaging with the department,” said Matt Willis from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research and Technology, in an email to TechLink.

This is the third iteration of the competition and the Army is continuing to broaden engagement across the U.S. To date, xTechSearch has had competing businesses from 42 states.

“xTechSearch is a nation-wide competition for small business and startup developed technologies – from basic technology concepts still under development to novel applications of existing technology in the marketplace,” Willis said.

Competitors must be sole proprietors or small businesses as defined by the Small Business Administration or be willing and able to be registered as a small business if selected to participate. And their ideas must address Army needs in the following areas:

  • Long Range Precision Fires
  • Next Generation Combat Vehicle
  • Future Vertical Lift
  • Network Communications
  • Air and Missile Defense
  • Soldier Lethality 
  • Medical Technologies
  • Military Engineering Technologies

For more details on how to enter the competition, including the technical scope and submission requirements, click here.