NSIN Propel

Proven Expertise, Endless Opportunity

Accelerator Program
  • Program Type
    Accelerator Program
  • Industry Focus
    Dual-Use Solutions to Solve DoD Problems
  • Submission Deadline
    May 2nd, 2022
  • Program Duration
    June - September '22
  • Location or Virtual

Propel is a program within NSIN’s Acceleration Portfolio that partners with commercial startup accelerators to provide solutions to the Department of Defense by rapidly developing dual-use companies. This approach de-risks the search for emerging technology and uses a proven strategy to accelerate the development of novel solutions relevant to the Department of Defense. By working with accelerators, Propel helps units, commands, and program offices discover and shape emerging technologies in response to the real-world needs of DoD end-users.

Accelerating the Adoption of Novel Concepts and Solutions

The Acceleration Portfolio is focused on finding and creating ventures that develop solutions to the real-world problems faced by service members. The Acceleration Portfolio identifies startups emerging from the academic and venture communities that can address DoD problems in innovative ways. Our programs and services support the engagement of ventures with potential DoD customers and stimulate the creation of new ventures from technologies emerging from DoD labs.


Proven Expertise, Endless Opportunity

Propel partners with leading startup accelerators like Techstars and MassChallenge to create new opportunities for both DoD customers and early-stage ventures. By leveraging the proven developmental programs of our partners and NSIN’s nation-wide network, Propel expands DoD customer access to the venture community and assists start-ups in transforming their technology into capabilities.
Ventures that apply to Propel-associated accelerators go through a rigorous selection process to form a cohort focused around DoD challenges. Through a multi-month process, with the guidance of commercial mentors and DoD liaisons, cohort members improve their technology, strengthen their understanding of customer needs, and build their team into a viable business. The result is a small business that is much more prepared to work with the Department of Defense and succeed in the commercial market. Accelerator programs culminate in a demo day, when the start-ups show their progress to prospective customers and private sector investors.

Growing the National Security Innovation Base

Past Propel programming has been focused on areas of technological innovation relevant to DoD, such as unmanned systems, high-performance hardware, and software, computer vision, augmented reality/virtual reality, and data-enabled recruiting, training, and education. Crucially, these technologies have both commercial and defense applications, because we believe that the sustainable growth of our partners depends on having broad markets.

Proven Track Record

In FY19, Propel collaborated with two accelerators to advance more than 20 high-potential dual-use ventures. To date, these ventures have received 31 DoD awards, as well as more than $31 million in DoD grants and private investment, at a 5:1 ratio of private to public dollars.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.

Program Sponsor