PROPELS Accelerator Success and Recap

by Jun 30, 2023

The PROPELS Accelerator, a partnership between NSWC Crane and The Mill, recently concluded, providing entrepreneurs with valuable knowledge for working with the Crane Tech Transfer Office to license technology and establish companies based on Navy technology patents.

The first phase of PROPELS was highly successful, starting with a Tech Expo on April 26. With over 80 attendees, the event featured informative presentations from various inventors from Crane. Entrepreneurs from different parts of Indiana, including Michigan City, West Lafayette, Terre Haute, Carmel, and Indianapolis, eagerly gathered at The Mill to witness the showcased intellectual property (IP).

 The Tech Expo presented a unique opportunity for individuals to access groundbreaking technology, collaborate with inventors, and benefit from comprehensive support programming. The generous support from Naval X Midwest, TechBridge, Dioltas, and ARI, who sponsored food and beverages, made the event possible.

During the Tech Expo, scientists and innovators unveiled world-class patented technologies developed for the Navy, including:

  • Drone tracking technology: An innovative system that uses imaging sensors to detect, identify, and track drones at long-range distances by monitoring light reflections from metals, polymers, and other materials.
  • Junctional tourniquet: A ready-to-market tourniquet solution shaped like a hockey puck that stops bleeding in hard-to-reach places, such as the armpit.
  • Natural language processing software: Software designed to find patterns in large amounts of complex data, with numerous potential applications.
  • Additive manufacturing: A 3D-printing innovation.

Following the Tech Expo, several entrepreneurs were accepted into the formal accelerator program. The accelerator offered a support system for navigating the complexities of working with Crane, securing tech licensing, and launching businesses.

This year, the accelerator took place May 15, condensing the program into a week-long intensive session that maximized participation and maintained strong engagement throughout the six-day sprint.

The accelerator consisted of weekly meetings tailored to the availability of each participant, whether they were local or remote. Given that many participants had full-time jobs, most meetings were conducted via video calls, providing a convenient approach for individuals with busy schedules.

Continuing that momentum, a follow-up event occurred on June 20. Participants reconvened at The Mill for a collaborative workshop and one-on-one conversations with the technology inventors. This shift from the traditional “demo day” format to a more intimate working session proved successful. The gathering allowed participants to receive personalized attention and refine their pitch decks, engaging with inventors from Crane, including Maria Duran, and other experts from the Tech Transfer Office. This event was particularly beneficial for those preparing for the 4th Annual Radius Crane IP Pitch Competition, which took place on June 27.

Every PROPELS participant had the opportunity to compete in the Radius Crane IP Pitch Competition, aiming to secure non-dilutive funding to kickstart their companies. Johnny Goode, a program participant, successfully pitched the Junctional Tourniquet IP and emerged as the competition winner. Johnny’s outstanding pitch to commercialize the Junctional Tourniquet earned him a well-deserved cash prize of $6,000 to further his commercialization efforts.

The PROPELS Accelerator has successfully nurtured innovative ideas into entrepreneurial aspirations. While the condensed week-long format and personalized meetings effectively supported participants, the timeline is being thoughtfully reconsidered.

Given the complexity of the IP associated with Crane and participants’ other commitments, allowing for more development time and attention to crucial details may lead to a longer schedule in the future. Feedback and conversations are ongoing, demonstrating PROPELS’ commitment to continually enhancing the program and catering to the diverse needs of its participants.

Stay tuned for updates on the next PROPELS as it continues to empower entrepreneurs in their pursuit of success with Navy IP.