NSIN Propel

Empowering early-stage ventures to tackle national security challenges

Deadline to Apply—May 19

Apply now
In partnership with the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) and Decisive Point, NSIN Propel enables the development of next-generation applications of emerging dual-use technology for government and defense. As a center of gravity for the Department of Defense (DoD) innovation community in the Mid-Atlantic region, the program supports early-stage ventures with commercial applications to develop practical acquisitions knowledge and capacity necessary for success in the federal market.

NSIN Propel is collaborating with the Rome, New York-based Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate (AFRL)—the premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber technologies—to recruit companies new to the defense sector with technology solutions that can be adapted to address the needs of both the AFRL and the broader DoD community. The first cohort of early-stage ventures engaged in the program will deliver safety, resiliency, and agility to National Security initiatives across the focus areas described below.


NSIN Propel is open to strategic collaboration with corporations and investors focused on dual-use technologies and partnerships with startups. Get in touch to inquire about opportunities.

Open Call - Deadline to Apply: May 19

Info Sessions

Who Should Apply?

Early-stage ventures seeking an opportunity to expand into the federal market based on their technologies that have been developed for commercial applications. Specifically, companies working across sectors including:

  • Smart Cities / Urban Tech
  • Mobility
  • Industrial Automation & Manufacturing
  • Logistics & Supply Chain Management


Investment & Exposure

  • Total grant funding pool up to $200K for participating companies to support prototyping and pilot development; no equity taken
  • Access to Newlab and Decisive Point’s investor network
  • Exposure to additional federal and corporate partners and programs

Build & Pilot
  • Work with Newlab, Decisive Point and AFRL to scale your product and business in-line with established federal procurement opportunities
  • Bespoke defense curriculum to support customer discovery, uncover technology requirements, meet compliance requirements, and move forward in acquisitions
  • Access to $5M in on-site prototyping resources and product realization team; 84,000 sq ft industrial work space, private 5G network and compute testbed infrastructure in the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard

Community & Space
  • Access to the Newlab flagship location and peer community of 170+ companies scaling transformative technology
  • Engage leading industry, venture, and academic experts through curated roundtables and meetings

Apply now

Key Dates
Open Call Info Sessions
April 28 & May 13
Open Call deadline
May 19
Finalists notified
End of May
Startups selected
Startups in Program
Demo Day
Follow-on Support
Focus Areas

Leveraging sensing capabilities to augment the operational picture, increase situational awareness, inform planning and decision-making. Smart cities applications and technologies built specifically for urban environments are of high interest.


New mechanisms to establish reliable, fast, secure connectivity in dense urban environments and enable intelligence at the edge. Advances in 5G and applications in industrial automation and manufacturing are relevant.

Autonomous Systems

Automating dangerous or repetitive tasks, augmenting and extending human capability, enabling surrogate swarm operations, and anomaly detection. Developing user trust with explainability of autonomous decision making, and designing human-in-the-loop systems and related interfaces.

Data Fusion & Analytics

The above categories may include both hardware and software technologies. Underlying the topics will be a focus on data fusion and analytics to automate, train and customize systems that support, inform and enable human operators and decision makers.

About Decisive Point

Decisive Point is a venture capital firm focused on technology for government, public safety, and defense. Decisive Point’s mission is to support founders with the guts to try; the ones who look at challenges facing the country and their communities and see problems worth solving. Decisive Point supports their clients as they navigate the federal market and invest in those that deliver solutions to both commercial customers and the nation.

About NSIN

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.