xTech Collider fosters collaboration between small businesses and technology integrators

By Rachel Cox, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army SBIR ProgramAugust 17, 2023

The U.S. Army xTech Program will bring together small businesses and technology integrators at the xTech Collider, an event challenging companies to team up and pitch novel, dual-use solutions to supply Soldiers with critical, next-generation technology. (U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army xTech Program will bring together small businesses and technology integrators at the xTech Collider, an event challenging companies to team up and pitch novel, dual-use solutions to supply Soldiers with critical, next-generation technology. (U.S. Army) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army xTech Program will bring together small businesses and technology integrators at the xTech Collider, an event challenging companies to team up and pitch novel, dual-use solutions to supply Soldiers with critical, next-generation technology.

Taking place on Aug. 23 at Fed Supernova at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas, the xTech Collider will be a full-day event featuring small-business exhibitions by xTechPrime competition semi-finalists, an advisory panel on best practices for teaming and one-on-one mentoring sessions focused on cultivating impactful relationships. The Army welcomes participation from all technology integrators, or businesses that have previously worked with the U.S. government, have managed at least one subcontractor and were responsible for ensuring the work was complete.

At the xTech Collider, technology integrators will have the opportunity to network with small-business semi-finalists from the xTechPrime competition, who have captured the interest of Army program executive offices, warfighters, program managers and researchers. These connections can transform into enduring, mutually beneficial partnerships as technology integrators provide expertise and resources to scale solutions, and small businesses integrate their technologies into the Army ecosystem.

“The xTech Collider event empowers small businesses and integrators to partner as teams and accelerate the transition of novel, and potentially overlooked, ideas by leveraging the creativity of nontraditional vendors and the resources of technology integrators,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army SBIR Program. “As we increase collaboration with U.S. businesses through efforts such as the xTechPrime competition and Collider event, it is important that we encourage these relationships to address innovation challenges within the Army.”

During the initial phase of the xTechPrime competition, the xTech Program received more than 300 concept white papers from small businesses across the U.S. that were seeking funding through the Army’s $28.5 million investment. While xTechPrime is an open-topic competition, it prioritized concepts focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, autonomy, climate and clean technologies, immersive and wearables, and sensors. Proposals also addressed specific topic areas of interest, including information collection management, long-range precision munitions, Project Linchpin, small multipurpose equipment transport and weather operational effects.

Focusing on these technology areas, evaluators selected the top 50 businesses to each receive $5,000 in cash prizes, a chance to virtually connect with experienced businesses and an invitation to partake in the networking-based xTech Collider event, where semifinalists must team with an integrator by Wednesday, Oct. 11, to move on to the competition’s second round.

Originally announced by the Under Secretary of the Army, Hon. Gabe Camarillo, at the October 2022 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, xTechPrime is one of five new initiatives – alongside the Army SBIR CATALYST Program, the Army Tech Marketplace, IP Cadre and Project VISTA – seeking to  incentivize integrator partnership with nontraditional small businesses to enhance the research, development and deployment of leap-ahead capabilities across the Army.

As one of the Under Secretary’s new efforts, xTechPrime builds on the existing xTech Program’s structure of non-dilutive cash prizes and potential follow-on SBIR contracts. Launched on April 25, it challenges small businesses to team with technology integrators to submit their innovative solutions that can contribute to the Army’s current modernization goals.

“Operating in tandem with the xTechPrime competition, the Collider plays a pivotal role in the Under Secretary’s innovative initiatives,” Willis said. “It utilizes xTech’s proven competition model while providing the networking opportunities needed to bring novel ideas to fruition.”

As these semifinalists move forward and connect with defense innovators and Army stakeholders, small businesses will compete to win a total of $40,000 in non-dilutive cash prizes and the potential for an Army Direct to Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract worth up to $1.9 million.

Companies interested in participating as an xTechPrime technology integrator can register at the Valid Eval xTech integrator sign-up page. All technology integrators that complete their registration for xTechPrime will receive a 20% discount code for general admission to Fed Supernova.

Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program strives to integrate small and nontraditional businesses into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem. It provides opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers from across the Army.

Participants receive extensive feedback from subject matter experts and through the accelerator program, receive access to training, mentorship and other support infrastructure throughout competitions. This feedback and support help determine how to best align businesses’ solutions with real users and buyers within the Army.

The xTech Program holds several competitions per year, from open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch to technology-specific competitions targeting key Army challenges. For competition information, please visit the Army xTech website.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and 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.