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NSIN Forge is a National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) program that partners with FedTech to bring deep tech government inventions to established ventures. Forge identifies Department of Defense (DoD) technologies available for commercialization and matches them with startup companies to participate in the cohort.

Registrations are open for the NSIN Foundry and Forge Showcase Day!
Save your spot on Eventbrite.

How It Works

Group of Engineers

Accepted participants are paired with a technology from DoD labs.

Office Worker

Cohort companies will learn valuable business and tech skills over the 12-week program.

Office Meeting

Ventures will pitch their use case at the final Showcase Day event.

Business Handshake

Participants will have the chance to license government technology to develop new, dual-use solutions.

Ready to submit your company for a business venture?

Key Dates


Prize Competition Overview


The NSIN Forge 2023 Cohort will culminate in a prize competition to select the early-stage ventures that demonstrate the most potential to commercialize U.S. Government technologies to provide dual-use solutions that benefit the DoD and the private sector.


Benefits of Participating

  • $50,000 in total prizes to the top three companies:

    • 1st Place: $25,000

    • 2nd Place: $15,000

    • 3rd Place: $10,000

  • Opportunity to work with U.S. Government labs and inventors developing cutting edge technologies

  • Opportunity to conduct customer discovery with end-users and subject matter experts across the DoD and the private sector

What Type of Companies are Eligible

  • U.S. owned and operated companies

  • Companies must be accepted into the Forge program and complete the 12-week cohort

  • Preference will be given to companies that are pre-series A venture fundraising and have not been awarded government contracts worth more than a total of $1,000,000


  • April 2023: Application period opens

  • April - July 2023: Q&A periods - applicants will be able to submit questions throughout the application process.

  • July 2, 2023: Application due date:

  • August 25 - November 15, 2023: Forge Cohort

  • November 6 - 10, 2023: Down-select to finalists

  • November 15, 2023: Showcase day and prize competition

  • November 15, 2023: Select and announce winners

Judging Criteria

  • Problem-Solution Fit (30%):

    • Has the early-stage venture demonstrated evidence for a significant and clearly articulated need among its target customer(s)?

    • How well does the proposed solution address this need?

    • How disruptive is the potential of the proposed solution?

  • Market and Use Case Analysis (15%):

    • How significant is the need in the market for the proposed product or service? (Can be DoD, private, and public sector)

    • How significant is the market opportunity? (Market size and trends)

  • Competitor Analysis (10%):

    • How strong is the competitor analysis?

    • How well does the company/team differentiate from competitors?

  • Early-stage venture Member Aptitude (20%):

    • What is the level of confidence that the early-stage venture can execute their plan?

    • Are the early-stage venture members’ current skill sets well utilized?

    • Has the early-stage venture defined milestones to build out a team capable of successfully executing the plan?

    • Has the early-stage venture identified talent gaps and plans to address them?

  • Technology Plan (15%):

    • Does the early-stage venture have a viable plan to transform the technology into a minimal viable product (MVP)?

    • How well is the future technical risk presented and addressed?

  • Go-to-Market Plan (10%):

    • Has the early-stage venture identified a clear pathway for bringing the product/service to market?

    • Has the early-stage venture identified future product users and buyers?

    • Has the early-stage venture identified viable funding sources?

Intellectual Property Considerations
By participating in this competition and submitting in any of the rounds, participants are granting the US Government and its Partners permanent access to any provided presentations, videos, and white papers with the provision that the US Government and its Partners may store and copy the presentations, videos, and white papers in perpetuity. Participants will retain intellectual ownership of and publishing rights to the presentations, videos, and white papers.

Excluding presentations, videos, and white papers and any material considered to be co-produced with the US Government, the US Government and its Partners agree not to share submissions with other entities, including files and tradecraft concepts.

Other Transaction Authority
This NSIN Forge public announcement is an open call to small businesses and non-traditional defense contractors seeking innovative, commercial technologies proposed to create new DoD solutions or potential new capabilities fulfilling requirements, closing capability gaps, or providing potential technological advancements, technologies fueled by commercial or strategic investment, but also concept demonstrations, pilots, and agile development activities improving commercial technologies, existing Government-owned capabilities, or concepts for broad Defense application(s). As such, the Government reserves the right to award a contract or an Other Transaction for any purpose, to include a prototype or research, under this public announcement. The Federal Government is not responsible for any monies expended by the applicant before award and is under no obligation to pursue such Other Transactions.

Satisfying Competition Requirements
This Open Call Announcement is considered to have potential for further efforts that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects 10 USC 4022 and Research 10 USC 4021, Prizes for advanced technology achievements 10 USC 4025, and/or Prize Competitions 15 USC 3719. If a prototype OTA is awarded and considered successfully completed, follow-on production may be pursued in accordance with 10 USC 4022(f). The public open call announcement made at NSIN Presents: NGA gSEARCH is considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 4025(b), 15 USC 3719(e) and 10 USC 4022(b)(2). Any FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly.


Startups looking to delve into government contracting and dual-use technology will be prepped with the knowledge, advising, and experience to make a long-lasting change to your company!

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