Seize your chance to commercialize world-class, patented tech from the Navy!

PROPELS Accelerator 

The PROPELS Accelerator is an incredible opportunity to commercialize cutting-edge technology developed at NSWC Crane, the third-largest naval installation in the world.

Imagine: a world-class scientist hands you a tested, patented, valuable piece of intellectual property. You work with a team for six weeks to develop a commercialization plan, with support from experts in defense and entrepreneurship. First you’ll focus on customer discovery, competition, problem definition, and unique value proposition. Then you’ll turn to financial models, early business planning, marketing and sales, building a team, and crafting a pitch deck for investors.

At the end of the PROPELS Accelerator, you demo your solution to a panel of experts. Later, you’ll pitch at the Radius Indiana Crane IP Defense Innovation Competition for a chance at a prize package.

Questions? Check out the FAQ.

The Big Break You’ve Been Looking For

Any way you look at it, you win. You get access to amazing tech. In addition, you connect to the defense and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Finally, you build an incredible new product, launch a new business, reach new markets. However you seize the opportunity, you win.

No experience contracting with the Navy or the Department of Defense? No problem! PROPELS will help you navigate the process and connect to the ecosystem.

  • Check out the video of the Tech Expo to hear scientists explain the various IP available and how the Navy uses it.
  • APRIL 25: Attend PROPELS orientation with your team.
  • BY APRIL 29: Officially register for the PROPELS Accelerator, join a team, and select IP to commercialize.
  • MAY 4-JUNE 17: Work with your team, NSWC Crane, and The Mill to develop a commercial product or platform.
  • JUNE 15: Present your solution at Demo Day.
  • JUNE 28: Later, pitch at the Radius Indiana Crane IP Defense Innovation Competition for a shot at the prize package!

February 14

registration opens for the PROPELS Accelerator


March 28

public info session (virtual)


April 14, 5:30-7:30 PM


April 25

participant orientation


April 29

deadline to register for the PROPELS Accelerator


May 4

accelerator program begins


June 17

accelerator program concludes


June 15, 5:00 pm


June 28

Radius Indiana Crane IP Defense Innovation Competition


April 14, 5:30-7:30 pm at The Mill

The exciting event where the Navy will unveil the valuable tech & IP they’re making available for commercialization

May 4–June 17

The 6-week program in which you’ll work with a team on problem definition, customer discovery, unique value proposition, financial models, marketing & sales, and more, plus building a pitch deck for investors

June 15, starting at 5 pm

Your chance to showcase the commercialization plan that you and your team have developed!

propels accelerator FAQ

Q: What does PROPELS stand for?
A: PRomising OPportunities for Engaging the Local ecoSystem. The Navy loves acronyms! Don’t worry, we’ll help you learn the lingo.

Q: Why is the Navy willing to share their tech?
A: Because they feel sure there are fantastic opportunities to fully utilize their valuable IP for other government and commercial applications. The Navy encourages entrepreneurs and small businesses to leverage the resources of its laboratories.

Q: I just want to watch the Tech Expo presentations. Can I attend even if I don’t think I’ll participate in the accelerator?
A: Sure! Spectators are welcome. (And if you change your mind after you see the awesome innovations at the Tech Expo, you can register for the PROPELS Accelerator program afterwards.)

Q: Can I participate alone or bring my own team?
A: Either one! You’re welcome to participate alone, we can pair you with other interested entrepreneurs, or bring your team of likeminded friends!

Q: Will the PROPELS accelerator sessions be online, in person, or both?
A: We encourage you to participate in PROPELS in person, to get the most out of interacting with our experts, the guests who will talk about their services for entrepreneurs and start-ups, and the activities designed to help you get started. If you live too far to join us in person, you are definitely invited to check out the IP portfolio and participate in the Radius Indiana Pitch Competition. More details on the dates and sign up for that competition will be released soon!

Q: What kind of time commitment will be required during the six weeks of sessions?
A: We’ll have roughly 2 hours of meeting time each week of the program. That time is split between weekly cohort meetings and 1:1 sessions with The Mill’s network of mentoring. Beyond that, we encourage participants to put in as much time as possible to push their idea forward.

Q: I’m a student. Can I participate?
A: Absolutely. We love students!

Q: My company already contracts with the DoD. Can we participate?
A: Yes!

Q: I’ve never done anything with the Navy. Can I participate?
A: Yes!

Q: What kinds of tech will be available?
A: While specific technologies are still being selected for the Tech Expo, NSWC Crane has a wide variety of technologies available in its intellectual property portfolio. Some examples of technology that will be showcased include: long-range heat detection, machine learning for “cleaning” data, and drone tracking technology. Check out a complete list of our available patents and patent applications here: Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division | TechLink (

Q: What kind of licensing or legal arrangements will be required to fully develop a commercial solution?
A: In order to make commercial sales of products containing US Navy–owned intellectual property, you will need to have a Patent License Agreement. These are negotiated directly with the NSWC Crane Technology Transfer Office! Several license options are available, and the Crane team will be standing by to assist in finding the type of license that will best suit your needs.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the commercialization opportunities?
A: The PROPELS Accelerator will help you discover the commercialization opportunities for Navy technologies!  Entrepreneurs are encouraged to complete the Accelerator and explore what you can do with these inventions. The NSWC Crane team will be there to work with you through any questions you might have.

Q: Is this a competition? Are there prizes for the best idea?
A: All participants will be eligible to move on to the Radius Indiana Crane IP Defense Innovation Competition, which offers prizes. We’ll have great food, drinks, and a fun event!

Thank you to our event sponsors!