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NASA Launches Space Race Competition, Other Efforts to Commercialize NASA Tech

March 31, 2016

NASA is accepting applications for the Space Race Competition – a startup accelerator challenge that allows startups to license patented NASA technologies without any up-front costs and no minimum fees for up to three years. In partnership with the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI), NASA will allow potential startup teams to choose one of 10 specially selected NASA technologies and develop a plan to commercialize it. Winners of the four-stage challenge will be enrolled in a business accelerator program that provides training in business fundamentals and access to mentorship from industry experts as well as prizes of $2,500 each. In addition to the $2,500 prizes, awardees have the opportunity to raise as much as $1.2 million seed funding from an unnamed, committed private investment fund. Applications are due May 1, 2016. More information is available at: http://technology.nasa.gov/spacerace.

The Space Race competition is part of a larger effort launched by NASA in October of 2015. The Startup NASA initiative is intended to make it easier for startups to commercialize NASA technologies, create well-paying jobs, and support economic prosperity. The intent of the initiative is to make it easier for startups to maintain their initial startup capital while securing intellectual property rights without any up-front costs and no minimum fees for up to three years.

While NASA waives the initial licensing fees, the agency will start to collect royalty fees if the company takes the product to market and earns revenue from the product. Multiple startups will be allowed to apply for the same technology, but NASA said it is open to negotiating if exclusive rights are preferred.

NASA hopes that these companies can create high-growth, well-paying jobs and spur economic development.

To support this effort, NASA has created a streamlined, online patent portfolio covering 15 categories and over 1,200 technologies, ranging from aeronautics to power generation to general electronics. The online portal allows startups to complete an online application once they have identified a desired technology. Although the license itself is free, the startup companies must adhere to several guidelines. More information is available at: http://technology.nasa.gov/startup

accelerators, nasa