Army seeking concepts for second small-business competition

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski / December 10, 2018 at 3:42 PM

The Army is starting up a second small business-oriented technology competition just as the pilot version enters its final phase.

The service is seeking white papers by the end of December for the second Expeditionary Technology Search, or xTechSearch 2.0, a prize competition that gives small businesses and other non-traditional military contractors the opportunity to pitch concepts or demonstrate how their off-the-shelf technology can solve the Army's problems, according to a Nov. 23 Federal Register notice.

For this contest, the Army is looking for concepts in the service's six modernization priorities as well as in the categories of medical and military engineering technologies.

As many as 60 contestants will be asked to make an in-person pitch, which will be followed by a live demonstration and question-and-answer phase. From that group, 25 will be selected to be featured in March at the 2019 Association of the United States Army Global Force Symposium and Exposition Innovators' Corner in Huntsville, AL. A final down-selected group of 12 will demonstrate their proof-of-concepts at the October 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington.

One contestant will receive a top prize of $250,000 -- $50,000 more than the top award in the previous contest. The other phases have smaller cash prizes ranging from $4,000 to $120,000, according to Matt Ociepka, a service spokesman.

The Army received 350 concepts for xTechSearch 1.0, and Ociepka said the service expects more submissions for 2.0.

"XTechSearch 1.0 proved there is considerable interest from small business to engage with the Army, especially when traditional barriers to entry are lowered," he told Inside Defense in a Dec. 7 email. "The competition provided invaluable opportunities to have a conversation with these companies and better understand emerging and disruptive technologies."

The first contest's final demonstration is currently scheduled for March 26 to 28, 2019 in Huntsville, AL.