The Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative
Accelerating technologies that fundamentally change the way we live, work, and fight
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  the internet, miniaturized GPS, smart phones, RNA vaccines, stealth, commercial space access, and autonomous vehicles.

Opportunity

The Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative’s goal is to accelerate transformational innovations to products and is positioned to support 150 DARPA research teams over the next five years. We provide funding, mentoring, and connections to investors and corporate partners.

DARPA-funded scientists and engineers are an invaluable resource to the country and the world. They produce technologies that have the potential to create entirely new industries, upend existing markets, establish military advantage, and create lasting societal change.

Yet impact is dramatically slowed by a lack of foundational entrepreneurial skills and an insufficient understanding of private sector market dynamics. The Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative fills these knowledge gaps by augmenting scientific research teams with critical business expertise.

Initiative

The Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative (EEI) provides catalytic funding, mentorship, and investor and corporate connections for DARPA researchers.

To scale the EEI and support a larger number of research teams, DARPA is pleased to team with IQT EmergeTM, a new effort within In-Q-Tel (IQT), that will provide entrepreneurial expertise as well as connections to early stage U.S. investors. IQT Emerge leverages IQT’s 20-plus years of investments and a non-profit mission to keep the national security community at the forefront of technology innovation.

Resources Provided:

  1. An average of $250,000 in non-dilutive funding to hire a seasoned entrepreneur or business executive for 1 to 2 years with the goal of developing a robust go-to-market strategy for both defense and commercial markets
  2. Dedicated commercialization mentors with extensive private sector experience​
  3. Engagement with DARPA’s private sector Transition Working Group composed of top-tier U.S. investors and corporations key to scaling and supply chain development

Impact

Over the past two years, the Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative (EEI) has helped more than 30 pre-seed stage research teams raise over $100M in U.S. investment, spin out a dozen new companies, establish numerous joint development agreements with corporate partners, and commission multiple manufacturing facilities.

We are proud to highlight a few of our outstanding EEI teams.

Embody

Embody is pioneering next generation regenerative medical devices and therapeutics for the repair of tendon and ligament injuries. Embody has novel collagen-based additive biomanufacturing platform technologies and products for Achilles, rotator cuff, and knee ligament repair.

Embody recently:
  • Raised a $9.3M Series A.
  • Built, qualified, and are selling products from their novel DARPA-driven FabriTec hybrid electrospinning-pneumatospinning manufacturing platform and facilities in Norfolk, VA.
  • Secured FDA 510(k) clearance and launched their tendon repair product, Tapestry™.

Tasso

Tasso is developing self-collection devices for on-demand blood sampling. They recently raised $17M Series A and are ramping up kit shipments to meet surging demand for more patient-friendly diagnostic solutions.

Beta Hatch

Beta Hatch's insect-rearing technology converts low-value industrial byproducts into high-value proteins, oils, and nutrients for agriculture. The valorization of agricultural byproducts and wastes through insects allows Beta Hatch to cost-effectively, and scalably, address the growing needs for environmentally and sustainably sourced feed, food, and fertilizer. Working with DARPA, Beta Hatch has developed mealworms as a bioremediation tool to recover nutrients from mycotoxin contaminated feedstocks.

Beta Hatch is building a flagship commercial rearing facility, which will enable thousands of tons of insect production. This operation in Cashmere, WA will be the largest mealworm production facility for animal feed in North America. Through partnership with strategic investor Wilbur Ellis, Beta Hatch has secured venture backed Series A financing to enable this pivotal growth. In 2020 with help from EEI, Beta Hatch hired a VP of Business Development and formalized a $20M customer pipeline and pre-sold capacity through 2021.

LightDeck Diagnostic

LightDeck Diagnostic’s portfolio includes rapid, highly sensitive, multiplexed point-of-care diagnostics for COVID-19, sepsis, and cardiac markers. LightDeck believes in a new approach to healthcare, where lab-quality, rapid diagnostic tests are run wherever and whenever they are needed. The platform is built on advanced planar waveguide technology that uses inexpensive, disposable test cartridges, and a portable analyzer.

LightDeck recently:
  • Raised approximately $60M from government agencies, private investors, and venture capital funds. Closed $11M Series B in July 2020.
  • Developed and launched the LightDeck COVID-19 Total Antibody Test, funded in part by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
  • Shipped their first instrument and IL-6 test kits to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) for research in COVID-19 and sepsis.
  • Started development of a 3-plex host-response panel for the management of COVID-19 and other serious infections.

Photo Credit: Colorado Bioscience Association

ProbiusDx

ProbiusDx, a spinout from Stanford University, is developing a quantum-enabled, AI-driven, bioanalytical platform to detect and quantify a wide variety of analytes in biological matrices. Analytes include pathogens, (e.g., that cause COVID-19 and sepsis), proteins and biomarkers (e.g., those useful in discovery, diagnosis, and therapeutic endpoints), as well as bio fingerprinting of complex biological specimens to detect subtle QA/QC differences, with a single, simplified workflow.

Probius has raised $9.85M in Seed and Series A financing to date.

stealth

Stealth

The DARPA Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative supports several classified efforts. In these cases, EEI funding, mentorship, and connections ensure that sustainable businesses are established in the U.S. and are successfully selling capabilities for national security.

ProbiusDx

ProbiusDx, a spinout from Stanford University, is developing a quantum-enabled, AI-driven, bioanalytical platform to detect and quantify a wide variety of analytes in biological matrices. Analytes include pathogens, (e.g., that cause COVID-19 and sepsis), proteins and biomarkers (e.g., those useful in discovery, diagnosis, and therapeutic endpoints), as well as bio fingerprinting of complex biological specimens to detect subtle QA/QC differences, with a single, simplified workflow.

Probius has raised $9.85M in Seed and Series A financing to date.

stealth

Stealth

The DARPA Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative supports several classified efforts. In these cases, EEI funding, mentorship, and connections ensure that sustainable businesses are established in the U.S. and are successfully selling capabilities for national security.

How to Participate

Meet The Team

We are a diverse set of entrepreneurially focused scientists and engineers who have deep experience across the innovation landscape. We wake up every day with one goal in mind: provide the needed resources so that DARPA innovators can make an impact. We are excited to welcome the senior commercialization experts at IQT Emerge as part of the DARPA EEI team.

Kacy
Gerst
Scott
Cunningham
Chelsea
Blake
Cathy
Cotell
Alain
Harrus
Dick
Urban
Signe
Yock
Major Nicholas
“Wolf” Anderson
Kacy
Gerst
Scott
Cunningham
Chelsea
Blake
Cathy
Cotell
Alain
Harrus
Dick
Urban
Signe
Yock
Major Nicholas
“Wolf” Anderson