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FFI and Innovation Norway are seeking applicants for the Hacking 4 Allies (H4A) program’s annual 2023/24 program cycle. If you define yourself as a Norwegian startup or scaleup company with a value proposition within defense/security or dual-use technology, you qualify to apply. Prospective companies are encouraged to submit applications in English.


Applications are due on May 30, 2023 




Eligibility Criteria

  • Your company is ready to explore commercial and defense opportunities in Norway and the United States.

  • Your company’s leadership (C-suite level) is prepared to engage and dedicate up to 10 hours a week in online meetings with U.S. advisors and mentors on the topics of U.S. commercial and government markets, Lean Startup, market exploration, customer discovery, and working with the U.S. federal government.

  • You are ready to travel to the U.S. and start building networks across the defense industry and investor community.


Evaluation Criteria

  • Product/Market fit 

  • Team’s collective experience

  • Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

  • C-Suite commitment to active participation in program sessions

  • Understanding of competitive landscape & Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

  • Interest in/suitability for entering the U.S. market

  • Company/Accelerator fit


Key Points

  • Application deadline: May 30, 2023

  • Participation fee: NOK30,000

  • Program duration: Late August 2023 to April 2024

  • Market Immersion Option: House of NADIC (Washington, DC) and Nordic Innovation House (Silicon Valley) memberships

  • Participating companies are responsible for travel and accommodation costs associated with trips to the U.S. and FFI ICEworx locations in Norway.


Program Timeline

  • Application/Assessment/Selection (April to July 2023)

    • Applications close on May 30

    • Finalists are invited to interviews through June

    • Selected teams are notified in July

  • Kick-off event in Oslo (August 2023)​

  • Product Validation and Pathways to Deployment in the U.S. (September 2023 – March 2024)

    • Customized advisement program for each company to support their needs when entering the U.S. defense and commercial markets; in-person and virtual sessions designed to:

      • Help teams pursue product iteration to achieve product/mission fit

      • Assist teams with navigating government customers

      • Educate and advise teams in navigating U.S defense market opportunities

      • Adapt business models for the U.S. market

      • Access investor networks


Technology Exposure in Norway

  • Workshops in Norway to prepare for exposure to Norwegian Armed Forces problem owners (August 30 – January 17)

  • Asynchronous digital exposure to the Norwegian Armed Forces (January 18 – March 9)

  • Meeting with interested parties from the Norwegian Armed Forces (April 21)


Visits to the U.S.

  • Visit #1: Washington, DC (October 2023)

    • AUSA 2023 Trade Show w/Team Norway Pavilion

  • Visit #2: Washington, DC/Silicon Valley (March/April 2024)

    • Washington Defense Week, incl. the 10th Annual Norwegian-American Defense Conference, Henry Bacon Arctic Security Seminar and Ambassador's Reception

    • H4A Networking Event & Reception (based on the cohort’s objectives)

  • Visit #3 (optional): Relevant 2024 Trade Show 

    • SOF Week (Tampa, FL)

    • AUVSI Xponential (San Diego, CA)

    • Space Symposium (Colorado Springs, CO)

    • Navy League's Sea-Air-Space (Washington, DC)

    • ++


Time and Travel

  • While the program participation fee is modest, the commitment with respect to time & travel is considerable, and should be carefully weighed by prospective applicants.

  • All companies must commit to senior leadership participation in bi-weekly meetings with BMNT advisors. 


Points of Contact



Q: What is Hacking 4 Allies?

A: Hacking 4 Allies is an accelerator program designed to help Norwegian startups and scaleups find pathways to deployment in the U.S. and Norwegian dual-use markets, with the aim of yielding investments, R&D funding, and sales. The program is a collaboration between the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), Innovation Norway, and BMNT, Inc., a U.S.-based leader in national security innovation.


Q: What kind of companies is Hacking 4 Allies looking for?

A: Hacking 4 Allies is looking for Norwegian companies with new and innovative dual-use technologies that address problems within national security and defense common to the U.S. and Norway.


Q: What is the recruitment process for Hacking 4 Allies?

A: FFI, Innovation Norway, and BMNT will shortlist promising applicants and conduct virtual interviews to select eight (8) companies per year. Preference will be given to companies that have technology that matches defined problem sets within national/allied defense and security that are common to the U.S. and Norway, have ambitions in the U.S. market, and are deemed to be at the right stage in their overall business development cycle.


Q: What is the duration of the Hacking 4 Allies program?

A: The program duration is approximately nine (9) months, from September 2023 to May 2024. 


Q: What are the benefits of participating in the Hacking 4 Allies program?

A: Participating in the Hacking 4 Allies program provides companies with exclusive access to dual-use technology experts and tailored guidance on securing funding and navigating the defense and security markets in the U.S. and Norway. This hands-on program offers one-on-one dedicated advisor meetings and monthly cohort-wide sessions and workshops to help companies expand their business and global network. Additionally, the program provides customized business advisory, cultural, and networking support to build a go-to-market strategy and scale a company in the U.S. market.

About Hacking 4 Allies

Hacking 4 Allies is intended to yield investments, R&D funding, and sales for Norwegian startups and scale-ups within dual-use (i.e. military and civilian) markets in the U.S. and Norway. Hacking 4 Allies was conceived from the start as a true Team Norway program, including the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and Innovation Norway as program partners. The program has since 2019 been managed by FFI and Innovation Norway’s Washington, DC-office, and supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and its Defense Attaché Office in Washington, DC, the Norwegian General Consulate in San Francisco, IN-San Francisco, and the DC-based Norwegian-American Defense Industry Council (NADIC). Furthermore, the program has strong support from the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Norwegian Defence and Security Industries Association (FSi).


BMNT, Inc. is a leader in national security  innovation and empowers mission-driven entrepreneurs within the public and private sectors to solve challenging national security problems. BMNT’s accelerator, H4XLabs,  provides specialized support for dual-use company founders tackling hard problems from concept through product deployment and scaling. It employs a unique approach to accelerating companies by working 1:1 with each team and tailoring the program around the company’s specific stage in creating a dual-use company. BMNT works with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and many other intelligence community organizations with the vision of capturing the entrepreneurial community’s innovation spirit and applying it to America’s most pressing national security missions. Hacking 4 Allies represents BMNT’s recognition of the importance of innovative solutions from allied nations and its desire to contribute to establishing an allied innovation base, with Norway as its pilot program partner.


Hacking 4 Allies sources problems common to both U.S. and Norwegian national security and defense. The program employs H4D methodology (rooted in lean startup and Business/Mission Model Canvas methodologies by Osterwalder/Blank) to help Norwegian technology startups and scaleups address these problems in order to discover and realize pathways to deployment. This is achieved through training/coaching, connection with the problem owner/end-user, iterative problem-solving techniques, and introductions to the relevant investor-, acquisition- and R&D communities in the U.S. and Norway. While the Hacking 4 Allies pilot sought solutions in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) field – typically quicker to adopt new (and non-U.S. sourced) technologies – current program cycles open up the aperture to be military branch agnostic and as such, covers all aspects of national and allied defense and security.


In the U.S., the military R&D and acquisition system is highly distributed and not well coordinated, and as such, can be challenging to navigate – particularly for a foreign entrant. A central component of Hacking 4 Allies is to decide whether the best pathway to deployment for a company’s technology exists in the military or commercial market – and in both cases, facilitate the necessary connections and provide tailored guidance on how to secure funding. U.S. and Norway are in the process of implementing faster and simpler methods of acquiring defense and security equipment by focusing on rapid innovation cycles, closer connection between industry and end user, and more focus on dual-use technologies and SMEs. Hacking 4 Allies is designed specifically to leverage these trends in the allied technology innovation and acquisition space.


Competitiveness of Norwegian Defense- and Security Industry

Compared to that of many of our peer- and allied nations, Norway’s defense-industrial base is highly niche-oriented and thus specialized. As such, our defense industry does not deliver large complex military platforms often seen among the product offerings of large U.S. defense contractors (aka “primes”). This is a direct result of the Norwegian government’s focus on certain technological competency areas, which again corresponds to our Armed Forces strategic requirements. The recent parliamentary white paper (Stortingsmelding 17, 2020-2021: Samarbeid for sikkerhet – Nasjonal forsvarsindustriell strategi for et høyteknologisk og fremtidsrettet forsvar) points out that this specialization over time has given Norwegian defense and security companies competitive advantages on the international market in areas such as missile technology, air defense systems, ammunition, underwater technology, autonomous and unmanned vehicles, command-, control- and communications systems, including crypto.


Apart from being world-leading in many of these areas due to technological specialization over many years, an important additional competitive advantage is derived from the fact that our defense industry can in principle collaborate with most large U.S. providers of military systems. In fact, Norwegian defense industry mainly provides systems, sub-systems and components that are considered complementary to most U.S. defense contractors’ offerings, and as such often avoids competitive situations with its American partners. This is in stark contrast to many of our international competitors in the U.S. market, including Sweden, France and Germany – all of whom deliver complete military system platforms.


Competitors to Norwegian defense and security industry in the U.S. market comprise both domestic and international players. Norwegian industry has potential for success in the U.S. provided a) their value proposition involves a technology or solution that is needed by the U.S. military, and b) because of the competitive advantages stemming from specialization and complementarity mentioned above. Hacking 4 Allies ensures that point a) is satisfied, and the effect of point b) will often beat out other international competitors while at the same time ensure a non-competitive relationship with large U.S. defense contractors.


Framework Conditions in the U.S. Defense Market

Norway has bilateral agreements with the U.S. that a) provides a “public interest exemption” to the Buy American Act for defense equipment (according to the Reciprocal Defense Procurement MoU from 1978) and b) provides for reciprocal security of supply of defense products (according to the US-NOR Security of Supply Arrangement (SoSA), signed by the US DoD and the Norwegian MoD at the NADIC conference in 2018).


Norway’s law about industrial participation when acquiring defense equipment from foreign suppliers (earlier called offset) requires that industrial participation involving Norwegian defense contractors is valued at 100% of the contracted sum. This acts as a strong incentive to U.S. obligors to partner with Norwegian defense industry, when trying to satisfy obligations stemming from either prior contracted sales or prospective contracts with the Norwegian Armed Forces. The current amount of obligations from U.S. suppliers alone is BNOK6.3, of which BNOK4.6 stems from the acquisition of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (P-8 Poseidon) from Boeing.


Since the 1930s, the U.S. Gov’t has been heavily discouraged from buying products from foreign suppliers, according to the Buy American Act. This law was initially intended to keep hostile forces out of the U.S. supply chain, and that is still the case today. Norway is today considered one of the closest allied nations to the U.S., within both security policy and defense-industrial cooperation. With several bilateral agreements within defense cooperation having been put in place over the last 40+ years, Norway has never been better positioned as a trusted and attractive defense-industrial ally to the U.S.

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