Dual-Use Ventures IAP 2021 Course

How to Navigate Your Tech Startup in both Government and Commercial Markets

The Dual-use Ventures series helps technology startups navigate early-stage challenges in market research, use cases, and federal funding opportunities. We provide insights into navigating SBIRs, STTRs, and other federal funding opportunities while working within the commercial marketplace so that tech founders – when thoughtful and working rigorously – can take their Minimum Viable Product from $0 in revenue to $1,500,000 in defense contracts over the course of 24 months. This program is intentional about instruction and training – our eminent goal is to help MIT-affiliated tech startups traverse the trough of disillusionment and commercialize tough tech products for the betterment of humankind.


This course is for students who want to learn useful and actionable steps to create dual-use ventures (DuV). A dual-use venture is one that has both government and commercial (enterprise and/or consumer) customers. We’ll discuss frameworks, funding opportunities, entrepreneur roadmaps, and government resources. Topics in this course are particularly relevant to aspiring technology entrepreneurs interested in learning more about working with the Department of Defense.

This series is entirely webinar-based and offers presentations from MIT and government speakers, a networking event, and plenty of opportunities to ask questions on topics we have found tech startups are most interested in learning more about.

Course Thesis

Startups can be purposeful about designing their company to be ready to pursue both commercial and defense markets. This requires being informed, prepared, and ready when either market opportunity becomes available.

Key Outcomes

  • Learn about criticality, non-dilutive funding opportunities, and nuances of the defense and dual-use markets
  • Understand the need to move opportunistically across both commercial and defense markets in the early stages of ventures
  • Learn and ask hard questions about IP constraints when working with the DoD
  • Understand initial cybersecurity compliance challenges that exist now and will expand in the near future




Day 1 | Monday, January 11th, 2021 | Welcome & Overview on Dual-use Ventures & the DoD Landscape for Tech Startups

10:00 AM – 11:30AM
Welcome & The DoD Landscape for Tech Startups
Katy Person
Program Manager, Mission Innovation Program
MIT Innovation Initiative
2:00PM – 3:30PM
The DoD Landscape for Tech Startups
The importance and history of dual-use ventures in today’s society
Fiona Murray
William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship, Associate Dean for Innovation & Inclusion, Co-Director, MIT Innovation Initiative, Faculty Director, Legatum Center, Member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology (CST)

Day 2 | Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 | Air Force as a Customer – Founder Perspective & Current Programs

10:00 AM – 11:30AM
Air Force as a Customer – Founder Perspective & Recent Air Force Transformations
Warren Katz
Managing Director
Air Force Accelerator Powered by Techstars
2:00PM – 3:30PM
How the Air Force Buys Things; AF Ventures; Matching Program
Jason Rathje
AFVentures, AFWERX
United States Air Force

Day 3  | Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 | Pathways to Working with the Navy & How SOCOM Thinks About & Uses Tech

10:00 AM – 11:30AM
Pathways to Working with the Navy
Steven Bordonaro
Chief Scientist
Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport
2:00PM – 3:30PM
How SOCOM Thinks about & Uses Tech
Marcos Cervantes
Senior Project Manager
United States Special Operations Command
US Department of Defense

Day 4  | Thursday, January 14th, 2021 | DoD & IP and Cybersecurity Compliance Now and Soon

10:00 AM – 11:30AM
IP and Data Rights: What you need to know when working with the DoD
David Jacobs
Chief Legal Counsel
Air Force Artificial Intelligence Accelerator
2:00PM – 3:30PM
Cybersecurity Compliance Now & Soon
Amy Williams
Director of Proactive Services

Day 5  | Friday, January 15th, 2021 | Dual-use Ventures Framework, Startup Stories, and Networking

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Dual-use Ventures Framework Overview & Startup Examples
Gene Keselman
Executive Director
MIT Innovation Initiative
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Deciphering between Players in the Accelerator & Investment Spectrum – A Panel with MassChallenge, the Engine, IndieBio, Techstars, Arsenal Ventures, and the Defense Investors Network
Christian Melton
Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships


Orin Hoffman
Venture Partner
The Engine



Pae Wu
CTO & Partner


Warren Katz
Managing Director
Air Force Accelerator Powered by Techstars



Adam Goobic
Arsenal Growth



Heather J. Richman
Entrepreneur in Residence, BMNT
Founder, Defense Investor Network

2:00PM – 3:30PM
Breakout Room Speed Networking & Happy Hour



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