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FedTech’s Startup Pitch Day Features Deep Tech’s Rising Stars

The industry leader in building startups around bleeding-edge technology from top-tier federal labs, universities and corporations showcased its graduating class of startups.

David Henshall, senior advisor of commercial strategy at DARPA, delivering the keynote address at FedTech's Startup Pitch Event.

WASHINGTON, NOV 27, 2018 - Today, FedTech, a D.C.-based startup studio and accelerator that builds startups around deep tech from federal labs, universities and corporations, hosted its pitch day for its Fall ‘18 cohort at the Make Offices at the Wharf in Washington, D.C. It featured demos from teams built around 20 different technologies - primarily artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and internet of things (IoT). The top six teams competed for the top startup of the evening in front of a capacity crowd of 200.

Each of the 20 teams were formed around a cutting-edge technology sourced from top-tier federal labs, universities and one private company. Upon team formation, the entrepreneurs were introduced to their team members, mentors and the inventor of the technology, where they received a crash course in its capabilities. From there, they spent the next ten weeks learning and applying lean startup methods to determine if their technology could achieve problem/solution fit in their target market.

“This is our most successful and accomplished collection of entrepreneurial talent to date. We had a record number of applicants, both on the technology and entrepreneur side. We’re extremely proud of our startups’ accomplishments in a relatively short period of time,“ said Ben Solomon, Founder and Managing Partner of FedTech.

The formal portion of the evening began with David Henshall, senior advisor of commercial strategy at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), who delivered his keynote on how to work with DARPA. DARPA is the government agency that has fundamentally changed modern society through its breakthroughs such as the internet, GPS and the predecessor to Google Maps. Mr. Henshall shed some light on partnering with DARPA, “The key is — be familiar with the opportunities of national security.”

The pitch segment of the evening was highlighted by AQ Digital Health Institute, a startup founded by a former NFL Superbowl champion, Femi Ayanbadejo. Mr. Ayanbadejo licensed a technology from NASA that combines computer vision and machine learning to produce a more accurate and corrected Body Mass Index (BMI). Mr. Ayanbadejo aims to transform the way people understand and take control of their health and well-being through his digital corrected BMI technology.

Mr. Ayanbadejo said of the FedTech Startup Studio, “The information I was able to glean on the B2B side; the customer segments that we were able to dive into; the CEOs, the SVPs, the technicians, the engineers that I’ve been able to interview and meet — priceless. That part of it I could never do on my own… the template that FedTech laid out was so straightforward and easy. What FedTech did was to help me accelerate an idea that would have probably taken me 2-4 times longer to do.”

The startup that won the competition, as voted on by the audience, was Digital Brain Technologies, formed around a technology from the Army Research Laboratory. Their company leverages mobile sensors and machine learning algorithms to revolutionize how Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is detected, diagnosed, treated and managed at the point of impact, regardless of how mild the impact is. According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, there is increasing concern that individuals who sustain multiple concussions are at risk for prolonged or permanent neurologic damage, including early onset dementia.

The teams were formed around technologies from NASA, Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Department of Transportation and Skyworks Global.


FedTech is a unique private venture program, funded by federal agencies and corporate partners, that connects entrepreneurs to technologies developed across DoD, NASA, DOE, top-tier universities, corporate R&D arms and other laboratories. FedTech runs multiple cohorts per year where successful applicants are paired with lab partners/inventors to serve as founders. Teams work closely with instructors and mentors and are taken through modules on lean startup, business models, product development, customer discovery, intellectual property and licensing, funding strategies for spinning out R&D, pitch skills, and more.

For questions or comments related to this press release, please contact FedTech at

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