Air Force creates new pitch day to give away $40M to startups

By KARA DRISCOLL | The Dayton Daily News | Published: January 16, 2019

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — Startups and small businesses could land up to $40 million at the U.S. Air Force’s first Pitch Day.

The Air Force is calling for submissions from start-ups and small businesses at Air Force Pitch Day in March as part of a larger rapid-contracting effort. Air Force 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.

“Mind-blowing ideas are being birthed in U.S. start-up companies, but the Pentagon largely misses out on them,” said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. “We have to do business at the speed of ideas so we can both inspire and accelerate start-up creativity towards national security challenges.”

Submissions are open to ideas furthering national security in air, space and cyberspace with a special emphasis on three areas: command, control, communications, intelligence and network technologies; battlefield air operations family of systems technologies; and digital technologies.

Proposals and pitch decks will be accepted from Jan. 8 to Feb. 6.

The most promising candidates will be invited to pitch their ideas live to a team of Air Force experts, commercial investors and defense partners in New York City on March 6 for an opportunity to compete for an Air Force contract award up to $158,000.

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