The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and In-Q-Tel, the intelligence community’s investment arm, will collaborate to help 150 research teams transition ideas from laboratories to the technology production phase over the next five years through the Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative, Nextgov reported Thursday.
Through EEI, the agency and IQT will provide funding to help research teams hire business executives that advance the development of go-to-market strategies and engage with commercialization mentors and a DARPA working group composed of corporate investors to help bring tech platforms to market.
Kacy Gerst, chief of commercial strategy at DARPA, said DARPA started EEI as a pilot program two years ago because the agency sees its tech projects in artificial intelligence, 5G and 6G telecommunications and microelectronics, among other areas, as key to U.S. military and economic edge in the next century.
“More and more DARPA is investing in spaces that have a massive commercial market and a small defense market, like for example, microelectronics and biotechnology,” Gerst told the publication. “If we want the [Defense Department]DOD to be able to use these technologies in the future, they need to be sitting within sustainable businesses.”
Gerst noted that EEI seeks to address the challenges posed by the lack of business connections and experience needed to help technical teams bring their platforms to market and the emergence of foreign adversarial investments.
DARPA will team up with IQT Emerge to expand EEI, which has helped over 30 research teams secure over $100 million in U.S. investments, forge joint development agreements with corporate partners and establish a dozen new companies.