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HACKING 4 ALLIES 2022 - 2023

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: H4A 2022/23 PROGRAM CYCLE

Join the Informational (AMA) Webinar on Tuesday, May 10th, 3pm CET via Zoom

FFI, Innovation Norway, BMNT and NADIC are seeking applicants to the Hacking 4 Allies (H4A) program’s 2022/23 annual program cycle. If you define yourself as a Norwegian startup or scaleup company with a value proposition within defense or dual-use technology, you qualify to apply. 

 

Prospective companies are required to submit applications in English by May 15, 2022. 

 

 

 

You are encouraged to apply if:

  • Your company is ready to explore commercial and defense opportunities in Norway and the U.S.

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

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

  • Looking for more information? Join our webinar on May 10.

 

Applications will be evaluated on:

  • Product/market fit 

  • Team’s collective experience

  • Product Technical Readiness Level (TRL)

  • C-Suite commitment to actively participating in program sessions

  • Understanding of competitive landscape & unique value proposition

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

  • Company/accelerator fit

 

Key Points:

  • Application deadline:   May 15, 2022

  • Participation fee:          NOK 30,000

  • Program duration:        AUG 2022- JUN 2023

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

  • While the program participation fee is modest, 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 the bi-weekly meeting with BMNT advisors, and several trips to the U.S. is expected.

Program Details

Assessment/Selection (MAY - JUL 2022)

  • Informational webinar, 10 May, 3:00pm CET via Zoom

  • Applications close 15 May, finalists are invited for interviews through June. Selected teams are notified in July.

 

Kick-off event (AUG - SEP 2022)

  • In-person kick-off  for selected companies in Norway.

  • Virtual kick-off with BMNT

 

Product Validation and Pathways to Deployment in the U.S. (SEP 2022 - MAR 2023)

  • 6 month customized advisement program for each company in order to support their needs when entering the U.S. defence and commercial markets.

  • In-person and virtual program designed to help teams pursue product iteration to achieve product/mission fit, including assisting teams with navigating government customers; educating and advising teams in navigating U.S. defense market opportunities; adapting business models for the U.S. market;  and accessing investor networks.

 

Technology Exposure in Norway (SEP 2022 - APR 2023)

  • Workshops in Norway to prepare for exposure to Norwegian military problem owners (SEP 2022 - JAN 2023)

  • Digital exposure to the Norwegian Armed Forces (JAN - MAR 2023)

  • Meeting with interested parties from the Norwegian Armed Forces (APR 2023)

 

Exposure to the U.S. Defense & Security Markets (OCT 2022 - JUN 2023)

  • NADIC’s Strategic International Partnerships Day (B2B/B2G/G2G), NOR Ambassador’s Networking Reception & Team Norway Pavilion at AUSA (OCT 2022)​

  • Hacking 4 Allies Showcase in Silicon Valley & NOR Consul General’s Networking Reception in San Francisco (FEB 2023)

  • Washington Defense Week (WDW), including 9th Annual Norwegian-American Defense Conference, NOR Ambassador’s WDW Reception & Team Norway Pavilion at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition (APR 2023)

  • Other relevant arenas in MAY/JUNE 2023 include NDIA’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), AUVSI Xponential, Modern Day Marine & SelectUSA 

  • House of NADIC (Washington, DC) incubator membership/office space is included throughout the program

Points of Contact:

 

About Hacking 4 Allies

 

Hacking 4 Allies was conceived from the start in 2018 as a true Team Norway program, including the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and Innovation Norway (IN) as equal program partners. The program is 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). Hacking 4 Allies has strong support from the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Norwegian Defence and Security Industries Association (FSi). 

 

The Hacking 4 Allies pilot ran from 2019 to 2021 and included four (4) Norwegian startups – Alva Industries, Excitus, Fieldmade and UBIQ Aerospace. The 2021/22 program cycle included eight (8) companies – Anzyz Technologies, Avju Solutions, Eelume, Green Ammo, Mnemonic, Mode Sensors, Vake and Yetimove – and future H4A cycles will continue to assess eight (8) Norwegian companies into the program per year.Hacking 4 Allies is intended to yield investments, R&D funding and sales contracts for Norwegian startups and scaleups within dual-use (i.e. military and civilian) markets in the U.S. and Norway. Main program activities takes place at FFI’s ICEworx facilities, the Washington, DC-based incubator House of NADIC and at BMNT, Inc.’s H4XLabs facilities in Palo Alto, CA. 

 

Hacking 4 Allies sources problems common to both U.S. and Norwegian national security and defense. The program employs Hacking 4 Defense (H4D) methodology – rooted in Lean Startup- and Business/Mission Model Canvas methodologies by Alexander Osterwalder and Steve 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 relevant investor-, acquisition- and R&D communities in the U.S. and Norway. While the Hacking 4 Allies pilot during 2019-2021 sought solutions in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) field – typically quicker to adopt new (and non-U.S. sourced) technologies – follow-on program cycles have opened up the aperture to be military branch agnostic, and as such covers all aspects of national and allied defense and security. 

 

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 companies 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), U.S. 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 the establishment of an allied innovation base, with Norway as its pilot program partner.

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Hacking 4 Allies seeks companies with new and innovative dual-use technologies that address problems within national security and defense common to the U.S. and Norway. An established relationship with the Armed Forces in Norway or to FFI is an advantage, but not a requirement. FFI, Innovation Norway and BMNT will shortlist promising applicants and conduct virtual interviews to end up at the desired target of eight (8) companies. Preference will be given to companies that a) have technology that matches problems within national/allied defense and security that are common to the U.S. and Norway, b) have ambitions in the U.S. market, and c) are deemed to be at the right stage in their overall business development cycle. In addition to traditional defense- and security related technologies, the program will also seek to include companies within the fields of cold-weather resilience, sensor technology, medical technology, cyber security, autonomy, unmanned systems and artificial intelligence – all of which are seen as important emerging sector trends. The evaluation of how well a company fits into the program is performed jointly by FFI, IN and BMNT.

Competitiveness of Norwegian Defense- and Security Industry

 

The U.S. military R&D- and acquisition system is large and highly distributed, and as such can be challenging to navigate – particularly for a foreign SME. 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 Norwegian defense authorities both acknowledge that their respective military acquisition processes are unnecessarily complex and lengthy. Both countries are implementing faster and simpler methods of acquiring defense and security equipment, by focusing on rapid innovation cycles, closer connection between industry and the 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.

 

Compared to that of many peer- and allied nations, Norway’s defense-industrial base is highly niche-oriented and thus specialized. As such, Norway's 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 correspond to our Armed Forces strategic requirements. The recent Norwegian parliamentary white paper (Parliamentary White Paper No. 17, 2020-2021: Cooperation for Security – National Defence-Industrial Strategy) points out that this specialization over time has given Norwegian defense and security companies competitive advantages in international markets 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. Norwegian defense industry mainly provides systems, sub-systems and components that are considered complementary to many U.S. defense contractors’ offerings, and as such often avoids competitive situations with its American partners. 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 that their value proposition involves a technology or solution that is needed by the U.S. military, and because of its competitive advantages. Hacking 4 Allies ensures the first condition is satisfied, while leveraging the competitiveness stemming from specialization and complementarity.