The event, presented by NSIN, in partnership with NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge and the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pacific), is designed to highlight further substantial investment by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in 5G technology and, subsequently, 5G-enabled companies.
COMSovereign, GenXComm, Omnispace, and VRotors made their way from the initial field of entries into a group of 10 finalists who presented at the October 27 event. Each of the 5G startups received $50,000 and the opportunity to demonstrate their technology with the Marine Corps.
“Prize events like this, in partnership with organizations like NSIN and NavalX, add high value to in-demand DoD research and development,” said Carly Jackson, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) chief technology officer. “Events like this lower the barrier to entry and provide a mechanism to establish meaningful partnerships with a part of the innovation base, which can introduce novel ideas to push the limits of technology. Our partnership with the Marines and Verizon established the first DoD 5G Living Lab, enabling the joint forces and industry partnership to lead the way — at Marine speed.”
The DoD has identified 5G as one of its top strategic technological priority areas and will be investing hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire and develop capabilities. Many 5G technologies will have immediate applications to operations on U.S. bases and have implications for forward operating units. These winning startups will help the DoD leverage the potential of 5G to support a variety of capabilities in both environments.
“This event is the culmination of an incredible team between the Marine Corps, Navy, NSIN, and Verizon,” said Lt. Col. Brandon Newell, NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge Director, USMC. “It embodies the collaborative nature and power of relationships and how that is integral to unlocking the future. I’m so proud of this team of teams. We are excited to move forward with our four winners to host a demonstration of their capabilities on the 5G Living Lab.”
The virtual event included presentations by the group of finalists to a panel of judges, a series of keynote presentations, and panel sessions outlining DoD’s strategy around 5G and current partnerships.
The four companies will also pilot their technology solutions with the Marine Corps at MCAS Miramar’s 5G Living Lab deployed in partnership with Verizon.
“Leaders across the Department of Defense understand the mission-critical role Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband will play in unlocking innovation and technology for the military,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “We look forward to working with the NSIN Pitch Winners as they demonstrate their capabilities at the Verizon 5G Living Lab at Miramar.
NSIN planned and executed this event through the Starts program within its Acceleration Portfolio of programs.
“We are incredibly excited to partner on this important event and see these four incredible companies as the winners,” said Morgan Plummer, NSIN Managing Director. “The response to our call for entries included dozens of 5G-enabled companies who entered this competition and contributed their time and talent toward helping the DoD stay on the cutting edge of this critical technology.
The number of participating companies shows the deep bench of talented entrepreneurs working on advanced technology that can help address the challenges that the DoD faces on this critical national security issue.”
The NSIN mission is to “build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems.” NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, VA, and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs, and embedded university partnerships, NSIN builds a national network of innovators and delivers programming that solves real-world, DoD problems through collaborative partnerships with non-traditional problem-solvers within the academic and early-stage venture communities.