Why this type of program? What does it bring that another program doesn’t?
In the DOD intelligence/cybersecurity community, it is extremely difficult for start-up technology companies to correctly determine customer needs, identify opportunities and commercialize technologies without the assistance of a large systems integrator. Northrop Grumman is uniquely positioned to serve as a strategic partner for these companies by leveraging its resources and applying them in a highly focused way that expedites the commercialization of new ideas and enables us to respond to the most pressing cybersecurity challenges. Additionally, bwtech and UMBC bring extensive business incubation expertise and access to both the capital and talent that start-ups need.
What makes this partnership unique?
1) Targeting. The Cync program is focused on identifying, developing and commercializing technologies that will meet the cybersecurity needs of the DOD, DHS, DOJ and intelligence communities. No other incubation program is as highly targeted.
2) The scope and quality of resources and relationships that Cync provides its clients. Nearly all of the Incubator’s core team of advisors have both agency experience and/or prior entrepreneurial experience. The Incubator has a partnership venture fund so Cync companies will have access to the investor community as appropriate. And of course, UMBC has a wealth of computing and engineering resources and talent available. The facility itself is strategically located, offers a highly collaborative environment and is free to the companies joining.
3) The strategic partnership with one of the largest systems integrators, Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman is an industry leader in all aspects of computer network operations and cybersecurity, offering customers innovative solutions to help secure the nation's cyber future.
How does the program work?
High potential, early-stage companies can learn about the program, including the information and the means needed to apply by visiting www.advantageincubator.com/cync. The program will focus on the following areas: situational awareness/visualization; sensors; processing; workflow management; and modeling and simulation. Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis, but we expect the first four to six companies to be in place during the first quarter of 2011. The companies chosen to join the program will begin working at the Incubator in Baltimore along with UMBC and Northrop Grumman in early 2011.
What types of companies are you looking for?
Any early-stage company, entrepreneur or research group that is developing innovative technologies in one or more of the following areas: situational awareness/visualization; sensors; processing; workflow management; and modeling and simulation. Once developed, the company will be in a position to sell the product/technology into the federal marketplace.
What will the companies be giving up?
There is no expectation from Northrop Grumman other than that Cync companies work in “good faith” to complete their projects. Companies can remain in the program until the end of their term even if no further business relationship develops. Ideally, as the relationship between Cync companies and Northrop Grumman evolves, a business relationship may develop if it is deemed to be mutually beneficial. The relationship could be in the form of direct funding for R&D, pursuit of joint funding opportunities or licensing technology, to name some examples.
The initial agreement for Cync companies is simply an NDA and an agreement that covers the terms of occupancy. Any subsequent agreements or business relationships would be discussed if and when appropriate. It is expected that Cync program companies will retain IP rights unless there is significant investment by Northrop Grumman in co-development of technology.
What will the companies be gaining?
In addition to free first class office and laboratory space, business mentorship and access to all of the Advantage incubator’s resources, Cync companies would be given access to Northrop Grumman’s customers and clients by way of introduction, as well as access to internal Northrop Grumman business and technical resources. Northrop Grumman will be providing technical staff on-site to collaborate on Cync company projects.
Is there a specific area of the country you’ll be targeting to recruit these companies?
We are accepting applications from companies throughout the United States.
Will the companies have to work on-site at the Incubator?
One of the benefits of the program is the office space and on-site collaboration in the Cync Program’s dedicated space at the Advantage Incubator. Companies will be required to have representation on-site, but specific schedules will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
What is the goal of this program (what will be considered a success)?
We have several missions:
1) Satisfying the nation’s needs for advanced technologies to counter emerging and existing cyber threats
2) Commercializing technologies; translating R&D into valuable products and services
3) Economic Development; growing Maryland’s “cyber” economy, creating jobs and providing meaningful internship and career opportunities for UMBC’s talented students
4) In general creating value for customers and stakeholders
Until when will you accept applications?
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, but companies will be evaluated for the first phase of the program at the beginning of 2011.
Will members of the University community be working with the companies in the Incubator?
Yes, on a case-by-case basis there will be opportunities to collaborate with both faculty and students.
What about this area makes it well suited for this type of partnership?
Baltimore’s proximity to key government customers and Northrop Grumman’s nearby cyber facilities make this an ideal location for the Cync Program. UMBC has an established business incubator program located on the campus with a proven record of success and this is an ideal next step for the overall program.
How much money is Northrop Grumman and/or bwtech putting into this partnership?
Northrop Grumman and bwtech entered into a mutual agreement where both parties are bringing resources to the program. However, we are not disclosing specific dollar figures.
Will the companies entering the program be required to provide any funding toward the program?
No. Companies will be provided a “scholarship” to enter the Cync Program. This includes resources including on-site support and a dedicated workspace free of charge. Companies will however be responsible for their own operating costs.
When will you begin working with these companies (when will the program begin)?
We are currently evaluating applications for companies wishing to enter the Cync Program. It is expected that the first companies will be in place during the first part of 2011. However, companies will continue to be evaluated on a rolling basis.