Dual-use Ventures Incubator

Helping technology startups navigate non-dilutive defense funding

The Mission Innovation Dual-use Ventures Incubator helps technology startups navigate early-stage challenges in market research, use cases, and defense and other federal funding opportunities. Over the course of 18 – 24 months admitted participants will have the opportunity to apply for and be awarded up to $1,500,000 in federal contract or grant dollars. 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 incubator is funded through your awarded SBIR/STTR with MIT as a subcontractor or vendor. We guide you through the application process, and then, upon award, your startup participates in a non-resident, part-time incubator program throughout the period of performance of your federal contract.




This program offers you and/or other members of your startup to:

  • Participate in weekly webinars on important topics in customer discovery. MITii hosts a series of internal and external experts to present on how to do business with the government
  • Conduct a series of readings and homework that benefit your business, such as creating and improving upon proprietary and non-proprietary versions of marketing and communication material
  • Match your startup with a technical expert from MIT-Lincoln Laboratory in an area in which you seek certain insights
  • Network among a variety of curated professionals across the innovation ecosystem through mentorship programs, virtual social events, and a culminating pitch day.

Key Outcomes:

  • Gain experience applying for non-dilutive federal grants and contracts
  • Train on key topics such as customer discovery, understanding stakeholder needs, and how to talk with potential federal sponsors for future work
  • Gain access to a curated mentor network
  • Learn how to navigate both federal and commercial markets in a way that fits your business strategy
  • Consider and determine whether VC funding is right for your startup, and, if so, learn when and how to attract VC investors
  • Grow and scale your business alongside peers within your cohort, structured programming to instruct you through challenges, and a team of dedicated mentors.


How does the program work?

First, apply to the MITii Mission Innovation Dual-Use Incubator through the online portal here.

Upon acceptance, we work with you to:

  • select the federal solicitation that best fits your technology.
  • apply for an SBIR or STTR Phase I solicitation. At this step MITii provides consultations to facilitate your navigation in the process. The startup applies for the solicitation with MIT as either a subcontractor or vendor.

Upon Phase I award, we work with you to:

  • conduct the Phase I SBIR or STTR contract (3-6 months)
  • prepare the Phase II application, including various MIT resources to include in the proposal.

Upon Phase II award, we work with you to:

  • conduct the Phase II SBIR or STTR contract (12-24 months)
  • leverage the relationships built to devise a plan for a Phase III contract.


Which startups are eligible for the Incubator? 

Because we rely on US federal SBIR and STTR contracts and grants, we are limited to participants who must meet the following requirements:

  • Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States
  • More than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States, or by other small business concerns that are each more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States
  • No more than 500 employees, including affiliates and/or contractors.

*Note: These criteria are directly from the SBIR/STTR website and can be found at https://www.sbir.gov/about 


What is the acceptance criteria? 

We seek candidates who solve a tough problem with a deep tech solution. We seek a diverse team with the expertise needed to conduct the technical work and commercialize the product. At least one founder must be an MIT affiliate, such as a graduating student, alumnus, research scientist, or faculty. 


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