Air Force's 'Pitch Day' to Focus on Space, Award Up to $40M
15 Apr, 2019
Space News reports that winners of Defense Department small business innovation research (SBIR) contracts will have a chance to compete for a share of up to $40 million from the Air Force in a live pitch event this fall in Los Angeles focused on space technology.
“What the Air Force wants is for companies who are innovating in space to come to us first because we’ll be able to get you paid quickly,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics told Space News on Wednesday at the 35th Space Symposium.
This “Space Pitch Day” will be the Air Force’s second live pitch event. In one day last month in New York City, 51 small businesses were awarded $8 million worth for contracts and were paid instantly by swiping a government credit card.
Now the Air Force wants to narrow the focus to space, says Space news, and it is especially interested in technologies “that we didn’t even know we needed,” Roper told the publication. A company can deliver a winning pitch “and 15 minutes later they’re not just on contract, they actually have money in their accounts,” he said. “And we’re not going to ask for equity in their company. So we hope we can be part of this space innovation ecosystem in the commercial sector.”
The businesses that will be invited to the Space Pitch Day are only those that submitted proposals under the SBIR 19.2 Broad Area Announcement that closed February 6 and won SBIR Phase 1 contracts. They will present their ideas live to a team of Air Force experts, commercial investors and defense executives for an opportunity to compete for Phase 2 awards and get paid on the spot. By contrast, the average timeline to award an SBIR contract is 180 days. The Air Force awards about $660 million a year in SBIR contracts.
For the Space Pitch Day candidates will be matched up with military space operators and they will deliver a joint presentation to Air Force program executive officers. The idea is to give PEOs a chance to hear about the military utility of the technologies.
“I think the Space Pitch Day will likely be similar in scale to the one in New York,” Roper said. “We’ll have $30 to $40 million available.”
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