Home 9 Opportunities 9 Dual-Use Venture Incubator


Helping technology startups navigate non-dilutive defense funding

The MIx Dual-use Ventures Incubator helps technology startups navigate early-stage challenges in market research, use cases, and federal funding opportunities. Over the course of 18 – 24 months admitted participants will have the opportunity to apply for and be awarded up to $1,500,000 or more in federal contract or grant dollars. This program is intentional about instruction and training – our eminent goal is to help MIT-affiliated tech startups traverse the trough of disillusionment and commercialize tough tech products for the betterment of humankind.

This incubator is funded through your awarded SBIR/STTR with MIT as a subcontractor. We guide you through the application process, and then, upon award, your startup participates in a non-resident, part-time incubator program throughout the period of performance of your federal contract.

This program offers you and/or other members of your startup to:

  • Participate in a partner accelerator program
  • Consult with mentors about building your business, which will be customized based on your business needs and performed with curated experts
  • Network across the innovation ecosystem through personal introductions, social events in Kendall Square, and more.

Key Outcomes:

  • Gain experience applying for non-dilutive federal grants and contracts
  • Train on key topics such as customer discovery, understanding stakeholder needs, and how to talk with potential federal sponsors for future work
  • Gain access to a curated mentor network
  • Learn how to navigate both federal and commercial markets in a way that fits your business strategy
  • Consider and determine whether VC funding is right for your startup, and, if so, learn when and how to attract VC investors.


Upon acceptance, we work with you to:

  • select the federal solicitation that best fits your technology.
  • apply for an STTR Phase 1 or 2 solicitation. At this step MIx provides consultations to facilitate your navigation in the process. The startup applies for the solicitation with MIT as a subcontractor.

    Upon Phase 1 award, we work with you to:

    • conduct the Phase 1 STTR contract (typically 6 months)
    • prepare the Phase 2 proposal.

    Upon Phase 2 award, we work with you to:

    • conduct the Phase 2 STTR contract (12-24 months)
    • leverage the relationships built to devise a plan for a Phase 3 contract.

    Which startups are eligible for the Incubator? 

    Because we rely on US federal SBIR and STTR contracts and grants, we are limited to participants who must meet the following requirements:

    • Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States
    • More than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States, or by other small business concerns that are each more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States
    • No more than 500 employees, including affiliates and/or contractors.

    *Note: These criteria are directly from the SBIR/STTR website and can be found at https://www.sbir.gov/about 

    What is the acceptance criteria? 

    We seek candidates who solve a tough problem with a deep tech (or otherwise highly technical) solution. We seek a diverse team with the expertise needed to conduct the technical work and commercialize the product.