SBIR Success Strategies

October 29th’s panel on Back 2 Biz will focus on success factors for the SBIR program from the corporate, SBIR program manager, and venture perspectives. Here’s an opportunity to hear from and interact with a diverse panel of experts who know SBIR success.

We’ll sit down with entrepreneurs, a federal VC and SBIR program managers for a session moderated by Jen Sovada, Chief Futures Officer and SVP/GM, MissionTech Solutions, where we will explore the current state of SBIR funding, how companies can successfully navigate the SBIR process, what federal VCs and program managers look for in companies that apply, and how they measure SBIR program and innovation success.

Congress created the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in 1982 with the mission to support scientific excellence and technological innovation using federal R&D funds and the goal that those projects will become commercial successes. For small companies that qualify, the three-phase system can be lucrative. For example, first stage or Phase I awards can deliver up to $150K for 6 months of project feasibility research.


Join us Thursday, October 29 at 12:00 p.m. ET for a live conversation moderated by Jen Sovada with:

  • Anusha Iyer | Co-Founder and CTO, Corsha
  • Dr. Manny Oliver | Director, SBIR/STTR Programs Office, Department of Energy
  • Riya Patel | Program Manager Government, Dcode
  • Jason Rathje | Director, AFVentures AFWERX, U.S. Air Force
  • Jen Sovada | Chief Futures Officer & SVP/GM, MissionTech Solutions | Board Member, Defense Entrepreneurs Forum
Anusha Iyer

Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Corsha

Anusha is a technology leader with over 15 years of experience in security-minded software, analytics, and managed services. Prior to Corsha, Anusha was the Director of Software Programs at Galois, Inc., managing DARPA contracts in the areas of privacy, cyber-mission planning, and software diversity. She started her career in the Washington, D.C area at the Naval Research Lab, where she contributed to programs in the realm of tactical edge networking, program analysis and reverse engineering.

Anusha earned her Master’s degree in Computer Science from SUNY Buffalo and an undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She did her graduate work in formal models for insider threat assessment. Anusha is passionate about making security accessible, easy to adopt, even self-assuring.

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Manny Oliver

Director of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
US Department of Energy

Manny Oliver is the Director of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for the US Department of Energy, Manny has reduced the time from application to start of R&D from 8 months to 4.5 months. He is focused on commercialization outcomes through revised application requirements, a revamped commercialization assistance program, and web-based tracking of outcomes. Manny is implementing a collaborative effort with technology transfer offices at National Labs and universities to leverage the SBIR/STTR programs to accelerate technology transfer.

Manny is an MIT graduate with a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Materials Science. Manny was also an Assistant Professor at MIT.

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Riya Patel

SBIR Government Program Manager

Riya Patel is Dcode's Government Program Manager. Riya
- Develops and manages relationships with key officials at various DoD and civilian agencies
- Develops new and exciting ways to work with government, startup technology companies, and system integrator partners to advance government missions.
- Leads curriculum sessions for both Dcode's tech and government community on innovative acquisitions, engaging with tech companies, and conducting deliberate market research.

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Jason Rathje

Director of AFVentures, AFWERX
United States Air Force

Jason Rathje is the Director of AFVentures, AFWERX. AFWERX connects the US Air Force,, to innovators.

Jason is part of a team that implements novel initiatives to mature and transition "dual-use" technology ventures. Their approach is to (1) build relationships between commercial solution-providers and Air Force problem-owners and (2) scale successful problem-solution matches. They are successful if their initiatives accelerate product-market fit between the companies who are passionate about national security and Air Force users who need their revolutionary technologies.

Jason has researched the intersection of entrepreneurship, innovation, and national security in Stanford's Management Science & Engineering Department, specializing in technology entrepreneurship strategies. Specifically, Jason studied the effect of government partnerships, both as an investor and customer, on basic research through commercialization. This research heavily influenced my involvement in AF Ventures, as well sparked new research projects on how to expand the dual-use economy more intelligently.

Jason is an MIT graduate with a B.S. and an M.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

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Jen Sovada

Futures Officer and Senior Vice President / General Manager for the Defense market for the Intelligence Community (IC)
MissionTech Solutions

Forbes Top 50 AI in Government Influencer Colonel (Ret.) Jen Sovada is MissionTech Solutions Chief Futures Officer where she is responsible for bringing MissionTech's model for integrating new technologies and best practices into government. While at MissionTech, Jen developed MissionTech’s Promethean Process™, a proprietary five-step innovation framework that drives the success of our projects and clients. Prior to joining MissionTech, Jen served as an Intelligence Officer for over 25 years in the Air Force and held high-level positions across the Intelligence Community to include serving as the Chief of Talent Management for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Cyber Effects Operations and as the Wing Commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

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Bring your best ideas, innovations and SBIR funding challenges and enjoy the conversation!


Back 2 Biz is a series of engaging and interactive conversations examining how tech, entrepreneurship and innovation can improve our lives and bring businesses back — stronger & safely. Sessions are live and free to register. On-demand access will be available to all registrants. Overflow live stream on the MITEFDC YouTube Channel.

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MITEFDC October 29th SBIR Success Strategies

Thursday, October 29, 2020
12:00-1:00 pm | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)


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Cutting Edge: Health Tech

MITEF Washington DC & Baltimore introduces our first “Cutting Edge” podcast. Board member Larry Trotter II speaks with Health Tech expert Scott Kozicki. Scott is an accomplished entrepreneur who spends his time advising CEOs and improving the health of millions. Larry and Scott discuss the dichotomy of increasing health care costs and decreasing medical quality. Scott explores how technology could improve outcomes and presents his innovate ideas.

Listen with Spotify on our website.

Or listen in with your favorite podcast source.

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Listen on RadioPublic.

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Listen on Breaker

Download via RSS feed.

Outdoor Fun: SAE Golf Tournament

Let’s get outdoors for a fun and safe charity golf tournament. MITEF DC is partnering with SAE to raise funds to support SAE’s mission – to enhance tech and mobility solutions that benefit humanity. The SAE DC Section also promotes local student technical development with donations and support of STEM, engineering, and technical learning.

The charity event was held at the Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge, VA on Friday, September 4, 2020.

Beyond networking, the event highlights included breakfast and lunch, beverages during golf, prizes for: 1st place team, longest drive, closest pin, and a hole-in-one contest.

Investor Perspectives Virtual Roundtable

Just how much has the current state of affairs changed the way investors think about new investments and their current portfolios? How has the fundraising landscape changed in the past 6 months? Here’s an opportunity to hear from and interact with a diverse panel of investors and bankers.

Video from our July 28, 2020 webinar.

Video recorded on July 28. 2020

July 28th’s panel on Back 2 Biz focused on investor perspectives — we sat down with four investors and entrepreneurs for a session moderated by Kate Goodall, co-founder and CEO of DC’s Halcyon — to explore the current state of venture funding, how investment perspectives have changed in the past 6 months, what investors, bankers and fund managers expect during today’s economic climate and how they see the next year playing out.

Kate Goodall moderated our distinguished panel:

  • Katie Bilek | Senior Vice President, Republic Capital Access | Co-Founder govmates
  • Kate Goodall | Co-Founder and CEO, Halcyon | Co-Founder WE Capital
  • Terry Hsiao | Angel Investor | President, Monte Jade DC | Director, MIT Angels DC
  • Jennifer O’Daniel | Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds | Venture Partner, NextGen Ventures Partners

Katie Bilek

Senior Vice President, Republic Capital Access | Co-Founder govmates

Katie Bilek is Senior Vice President at Republic Capital Access - the largest finance company dedicated to government contractors. Katie began her career at Goldman Sachs in Equity Sales & Trading on the West Coast. She is co-founder of govmates, an innovative teaming partner platform for government contractors. Katie holds dual degrees in Finance and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. As the spouse of a veteran, she is passionate about SDVOSB advocacy, serving on the board of the National Veteran Small Business Coalition. Katie is the recipient of the SmartCEO Banker of the Year and the Washington Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award. She holds Series 3, 7, 63 and 65 licenses.

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Kate Goodall

Co-Founder and CEO, Halcyon | Co-Founder WE Capital

Kate Goodall is the Co-Founder and CEO of Halcyon, a non-profit dedicated to solving 21st century problems by providing space and access to emerging leaders in social entrepreneurship and the arts. Goodall continues to grow Halcyon’s offerings with By The People, an international arts and innovation festival in partnership with the Smithsonian and numerous organizations throughout DC. In 2016, Goodall helped establish WE Capital, a consortium of leading businesswomen investing in and supporting women and women-led companies. Goodall has served as juror at national and international social entrepreneurship competitions, like the Creator Awards, and MIT Tech Review Innovator Europe & Latin America. She was listed as one of the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 and 40 Under 40, Washingtonian’s 2017 Tech Titans, and Techweek 100 DC’s Talent Cultivators.

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Terry Hsiao

Angel Investor | President, Monte Jade DC | Director, MIT Angels DC

Terry Hsiao is an entrepreneur, advisor and investor with extensive experience in software, cloud and fintech. He has founded multiple companies in mobile that got acquired by Sybase, Verifone, and Kaleyra where he helped its recent public listing on NYSE:KLR in November 2019.

Mr. Hsiao served on the board of Virginia’s Center of Innovation and Technology, a state-funded economic development and investment agency. Terry is the current President of Monte Jade DC, a non-profit organization representing Asian American business leaders and entrepreneurs for 25+ years. He also co-founded and serves as Executive Director at DC MIT Alum Angel Group.

Terry received a BSEE Honors degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in Management of Technology from MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Jennifer O'Daniel

Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds | Venture Partner, NextGen Ventures Partners

Jennifer O'Daniel is the Investment Director of CIT GAP Funds where she leads seed and early stage investments in tech companies with a concentration on cybersecurity and enterprise software. A key member of the investment team, O’Daniel has led over 50 investments in seed and early stage companies as well as investments for MACH37, a cybersecurity accelerator. O’Daniel is a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners, and was the Co-Founder and Managing Director of VT Investor Network (VTIN), a 75+ member angel group that invests in Hokie-led startups.

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Future of Golf & Tech Innovation

June 16th’s panel on Back 2 Biz focused on golf & technology — we sat down with three great golf entrepreneurs for a session moderated by MIT Club of DC’s own resident golf expert and board member — to examine how technology plays a key role in improving your game.

A video from our webinar on June 16, 2020.

Just how much has the current state of affairs changed the way we think about and play sports? Here’s an opportunity to slice into your golf swing and explore how technology can improve your game — and your stroke.

We explored how technology can actually improve your golf swing — and examined the data and analytics that drive the apps. We discussed how technology and analytic tools transform what you put on your feet into how your shoes improve game performance. And we’ll look at what golfers can do in between rounds to get more consistent from round to round.

Our Expert Panel

Ybet Villacorta moderated our conversation.

  • Tim DeJarlais | Former CEO, Hills Golf Club | Currently Manager, Swing Catalyst USA 
  • Shawn D McDonald | Founder and President, FeedbacK Enterprise, LLC
  • Stephen “Slot” Slotterback, PGA | Director of Instruction, Kinloch Golf Club
  • Ybet Villacorta | Board Member, MIT Club of DC | Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

Bring your best game face and enjoy the conversation!

Future of Wine & Technology Virtual Event

June 4th’s panel on Back 2 Biz focused on wine & technology — examining how the wine industry is “ripe” with technical disruption. We explored issues affecting the customer-facing / demand-side of the wine business — including how technology is moving the sales, distribution, accounting, and education of the grape online and into the cloud. We discussed how technology and analytic tools transform massive volumes of environmental sensor data into crop management decisions. And we looked at our changing climatic conditions and how wine entrepreneurs combat known weather conditions and the more recent extreme conditions.

A video from our webinar on June 4, 2020.

Just how much has the pandemic changed the way we, um drink…. wink? Here’s an opportunity to up your wine education while dipping in to the tech-side of the wine business.

Bring your favorite glass of wine or beverage and enjoy the conversation!

Our Panel of Wine Entrepreneurs

Chris Parker moderated our conversation.

Chris Parker
Chris Parker, Co-Founder of the Virginia Wine & Spirits Academy

VAWSA is the premier Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) approved program provider (APP) located and certified in Virginia.

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David Ebert
David Ebert, Co-Founder of VinSense

VinSense software generates a precision soil map for optimal sensor deployment and provides visual analytic tools to transform massive volumes of environmental sensor data into crop management decisions.

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Geni Whitehouse
Geni Whitehouse, CPA, CITP, CSPM

Geni Whitehouse, CPA is a Napa Valley winery consultant and a technology evangelist who writes, speaks, and tweets about finance and technology at

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David Ebert provided a slide deck with some more information about taming wine technology, Respect for tradition, vision for the future (PDF, 1.8MB).

Back 2 Biz is a series of engaging and interactive conversations examining how tech, entrepreneurship and innovation can improve our lives during — and will bring businesses back (safely) — after the pandemic. Sessions are live and free to register. On-demand access will be available to all registrants.

Quantum Computing in DC: Event Summary

We thank our knowledgeable speakers, our generous event host Foley & Lardner, our gracious volunteers, and most of all our fabulous attendees for making this a successful event.

Our speakers have shared their slide decks. They may be downloaded from the links below.


Michael Brett
SVP of Applications at Rigetti Computing
PowerPoint Slides
(.pptx 14MB)
Joseph Broz, Ph.D.
Vice President SRI International and Executive Director and Governing Board Chairman, The Quantum Economic Development Consortium
(.pdf 0.6MB)
Bo Ewald
President & CEO at ColdQuanta, Inc.
PowerPoint Slides
(.pptx, 76MB)