xTechSearch is a competition sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)), targeting small businesses to uncover novel dual-use science and technology solutions. The competition aims to tackle the Army's most critical modernization challenges supporting the top Army focus areas and consists of four phases that all eligible participants progress through, culminating in proof-of-concept demonstrations at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference. Monetary prizes will be given to finalists of each phase:
Phase I finalists receive $5,000
Phase II finalists receive $10,000
Phase III finalists receive $120,000
Phase IV grand prize winner receives $250,000

The xTechSearch program provides resources to the small businesses by providing research opportunities with Army labs and helping to make connections to Army subject matter experts that can provide feedback and mentorship on their technology.


Historical Background


xTechSearch competition was launched in June 2018 as a way to revolutionize the way the Army attracts and encourages innovation. The xTechSearch competition engages the non-defense business sector and start-up technology companies, with the Army Science and Technology ecosystem to leverage cutting edge technologies in support of the Army of the Future. The first cohort, xTechSearch 1.0, concluded in March 2019. The winner of the competition was Adranos, Inc., for their work on ALITEC, a cost-effective solid rocket propellant that increases the range of ballistic missiles against other propellant-based projectiles by 40 percent.


Competition Phases


Phase I: Concept White Paper -
The Concept White Paper invites all eligible entities to submit a white paper outlining their technology, the potential impact on the Army, the scientific viability of their approach, and the dual-use technology applications for both the commercial and defense space. Technology focus areas are topic suggestions for where to focus technology solutions. Participants can submit white papers on additional technical areas if they align to an Army need. Each concept white paper will be reviewed by a panel of Army subject matter experts from the Army S&T ecosystem including Warfighter, acquisition, and research and development subject matter experts. Up to 48 small businesses with the highest-ranking white papers will receive a prize of $5,000 and a written invitation to Phase II: xTechSearch Technology Pitches.

Concept White Papers will be ranked using the following Scoring Criteria (further details on each scoring dimension can be found in the Phase I Scoring Criteria Guide available at the xTechSearch registration page):
Potential for Impact/Revolutionizing the Army – 35%
Scientific and Engineering Viability – 35%
Dual-use – 20%
Proposal Quality – 10%


Phase II: xTechSearch Technology Pitches -
The xTechSearch Technology Pitch phase invites the selected small businesses from Phase I to complete an in-person pitch to a panel of Army subject matter experts at location across the United States. Participants will pitch their technology concept from the Phase I white paper in greater detail including the potential impact on the Army, the scientific viability of their approach, and the dual-use technology applications for both the commercial and defense space. In addition, participants will present their team ability to accomplish the technological approach. Each participant will have 15-minutes to pitch followed by 10-minutes for questions and answers with the Army panel. Up to 24 small businesses with the highest-ranking pitch will receive a prize of $10,000 and a written invitation to attend Phase III: AUSA Innovators’ Corner. Technology Pitches will be ranked using the following Scoring Criteria (further details on each scoring dimension can be found in the Phase II Scoring Criteria Guide available at the xTechSearch registration page):
Potential for Impact/Revolutionizing the Army – 30%
Scientific and Engineering Viability – 30%
Dual-use – 20%
Team Ability – 10%
Presentation Quality – 10%


Phase III: AUSA Innovators’ Corner -
The AUSA Innovators’ Corner phase will provide the invited Phase II participants with Army-sponsored exhibit space at the AUSA Global Force Symposium and Exposition, March 17-19, 2020. Phase III participants will leverage the exhibit space and conference attendance to engage with Department of Defense (DoD) customers, Army leadership, industry partners and academia in attendance.

In addition to the opportunity to showcase the participants’ technology, Phase III participants will present a venture capital-style pitch to a panel of subject matter experts discussing their business plan, product development plan, the results of any customer discovery with the Army and commercial users, and what they would present at a live proof-of-concept demonstration if they were to proceed to Phase IV. Detailed instructions and evaluation criteria will be provided to companies that are selected for Phase III. Up to 12 participants with the highest-ranking business plan and proof-of-concept demonstration plan will receive a prize of $120,000 and 6 months to prepare their proof-of-concept demonstrations for their xTechSearch technology at the Phase IV: xTechSearch Proof-of-Concept.


Phase IV: Proof-of-Concept -
The xTechSearch Proof-of-Concept Demonstration is an opportunity for each Phase IV finalist to demonstrate their technology solution and present their transition plans to experts at the AUSA 2020 Annual Meeting, October 12-14, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Detailed instructions and evaluation criteria will be provided to companies that are selected for Phase IV. A single grand-prize winner will be selected by a panel of Army subject matter experts and be awarded a prize of $250,000. All other Phase IV finalist will receive a $10,000 prize.


Accelerator Program
The xTech Accelerator program is designed to help xTechSearch winners be successful via education, mentoring, networking, and community building. This program will be available to xTechSearch 3.0 Phase III finalists and xTechSearch 4.0 participants. The ultimate goal of the xTech Accelerator is to develop xTech winners as quickly as possible so that they can transition technologies to the warfighter. xTech Accelerator will also include guidance on product development for dual-use technologies. All xTechSearch participants will be invited to join the xTech Community, operated by FedTech. Here you will have access to a private community of defense innovators, mentors, Army leaders, educational opportunities, and in-person events. This initiative will pull together participants from multiple xTechSearch cohorts into a bespoke community of defense technology innovators.


Competition Rules
The xTechSearch program is voluntary and open to all entities that meet the eligibility requirements. There may be only one submission per eligible entity.

Terms and Conditions: The entities allowed to participate in this competition must be sole proprietors or small business concerns in accordance with Small Business Administration guidance under 13 Code of Federal Regulations § 121.201 or any entity willing and able to be registered as a small business if selected to participate in this competition.

Each eligible entity:
• Shall be incorporated in, and maintain, a primary place of business in the United States;
• May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment

Sole proprietors may participate in xTechSearch if the individual is a citizen or national of the United States or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and the business is registered in the United States. Foreign companies may participate in xTechSearch by establishing a US domestic business relationship (e.g., wholly owned US subsidiary) or partner with a US based company. Companies that have previously participated in the xTechSearch competition are eligible to participate for new technology concepts or improvements to prior submitted proposals.

Disclaimers
Registered participants shall be required to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in this prize competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.

Participants shall be required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility, in amounts determined by the Army, for claims by—
• Third parties for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in this prize competition, with the Federal Government named as an additional insured under the registered participant’s insurance policy and registered participants agreeing to indemnify the Federal Government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to prize competition activities; and
• Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity.

Intellectual property
The Army is a strong proponent of deliberate intellectual property (IP) rights and management by the private sector and the Department of Defense.

For the xTechSearch program:
• The Federal Government may not gain an interest in IP developed by a participant without the written consent of the participant;
• Nothing in this xTechSearch prize competition shall diminish the Government’s rights in patents, technical data, technical information, computer software, computer databases, and computer software documentation that the Government had prior to this xTechSearch prize competition, or is entitled to, under any other Government Agreement or contract, or is otherwise entitled to under law; and
• The Federal Government may negotiate a license for the use of IP developed by a registered participant in the prize competition.