HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army announced the winner of the inaugural Expeditionary Technology Search competition, known as xTechSearch, March 28.
Adranos, Inc., a Purdue University-affiliated company out of West Lafayette, Indiana, took the top prize for their high-performance, clean solid propellant for long-range missile and space launch systems.
"The Army's xTechSearch competition set forth relatively broad goals and allowed companies to propose solutions to accomplish those goals," said Chris Stoker, CEO and co-founder of Adranos, Inc., with Dr. Brandon Terry, chief technology officer. "This approach was ideal for us, because funding opportunities that fit our specific solution were difficult to find. In addition, we were astonished at how quickly the Army progressed through all four phases of the competition. It enabled us to accelerate the development of our products so that we can implement them sooner than we would have been able to otherwise."
The xTechSearch competition is an opportunity for the Army and the non-traditional small-business sector to engage with each other to drive American innovation for Army challenges, spur economic growth, and uncover novel science and technology solutions.
xTechSearch mirrors entrepreneurial pitch competitions where aspiring entrepreneurs make innovative proposals to panels of investors, who then choose whether to invest as business partners. In xTechSearch, companies are able to pitch novel technology solutions directly to panels of judges from Army leadership.
Small businesses submitted more than 350 white papers for the first xTechSearch. In less than a year, after pitches held around the country, the field was progressively narrowed down to the 12 companies selected to give their final pitch presentation to a panel of U.S. Army active duty and civilian judges at the 2019 Association of the U.S. Army ILW Global Force Symposium & Exposition on March 26-27.
Officials said plans are underway for xTechSearch 3.0, and expect to launch it later this spring with a call for new proposals and white papers.
The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), also known as ASA(ALT), launched the nationwide competitions to revolutionize the way the Army attracts and encourages innovation.
"In all of our efforts, innovation is our watchword," said Jeffrey S. White, principal deputy to ASA(ALT). "Innovation--in forms both large and small--has improved the lives of our Soldiers and contributed immeasurably to their success on the battlefield. Continued innovation is absolutely critical to future force modernization."
While awarding the grand prize for the first xTechSearch competition, White also announced the 12 finalists for the second iteration of the competition, xTechSearch 2.0, which is ongoing and will culminate with the final round of pitches at the AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C., in October 2019.
The 12 xTechSearch 2.0 finalists selected to compete for the grand prize in October are AKHAN Semiconductor, Inc.; Antimicrobial Materials; Cogitari, Inc.; Great Lakes Sound and Vibration; Lumineye; MELD Manufacturing; Novaa Ltd.; Olifant Medical; Spark Thermionics, Inc.; United Aircraft Technologies; Valley Tech Systems; and Vidrovr Inc.
For information about the program please visit xTechSearch (see related links below).
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology) provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining the world's finest equipment and services; and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs.
The CCDC Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army's corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.