Ukrainian and United States Partners Launch MITS – The Primary Accelerator for Ukrainian Defense Tech Startups

KYIV, Ukraine, Feb. 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — There is a stereotype that defense institutions can only work with large defense companies and organizations and are biased against startups. However, the defense sector is currently undergoing significant transformations and requires bold decisions. The impetus for these changes was strong Ukrainian resistance and Ukraine’s creative approach to warfare. The solution is to cooperate with startups – small technology companies – whose fast and innovative proposals influence the course and outcome of combat operations here and now. All this allows us to significantly contribute to the development of the Ukrainian and global defense ecosystem and accelerate the development of technologies.

To this end, leading Ukrainian and American companies, and experts in the field of defense, technology solutions, and education announced the launch of the MITS (inspired by Ukrainian word for “Might”), an international defense accelerator on February 23, 2024, in Kyiv.

It aims to become a driver of Ukraine’s defense tech, to help young technology companies find the best partners and scale up, and to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine get the best defense technology products into use as soon as possible. MITS offers startups an investment of $200,000: $100,000 in direct investment in the company and $100,000 in unique expertise provided by the accelerator in cooperation with the private American university in Ukraine, American University Kyiv, as well as a post-acceleration program aimed at further assisting startups in attracting investment and scaling.

MITS and American University Kyiv, powered by Arizona State University (No. 1 in innovation among American universities in the newly released annual “Best Colleges” 2024 rankings by U.S. News & World Report), have developed a unique business program to help startups reach the world level of defense tech products, gain new competencies and become market leaders.

The acceleration program has two stages, each lasting three months: business acceleration and post-acceleration support. The program also consists of 2 training blocks:

1) development of business thinking – raising the level of business education, fundraising, management, and financial management with the involvement of industry experts from different countries according to the highest standards of Arizona State University;

2) practical component, which considers the specifics of defense production and is aimed at the successful execution of a defense order. The practical part will involve the heads of Ukrainian and international defense companies, representatives of customers, military, and defense tech experts. The accelerator’s unique value lies in access to a global network of highly qualified mentors and specialists who will provide unique knowledge and skills.

The post-acceleration program aims to prepare companies for future exports and attract foreign investment. Close collaboration with the BRAVE1 Defense Technology Cluster and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine will provide teams with direct support at every stage of contracting and execution, including testing, certification, and codification.

MITS is looking for teams with a working MVP (Minimum Viable Product, TRL 4-6 Levels) or who are as close to a functional product as possible.

The following startup categories will be targeted for acceleration in this phase:

  • Ground robotic systems
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Unmanned surface vehicles
  • Unmanned underwater vehicles
  • Electronic warfare (EW)
  • Communications, optical, and acoustic reconnaissance equipment
  • Military transport
  • Mining/demining equipment
  • Software, AI, and cybersecurity solutions
  • Ammunition
  • Equipment for the “soldier of the future”

The organizers state that they aim not only to form a technological defense ecosystem in Ukraine, but also to develop the MITS Venture Fund, which will help startups after acceleration. The fund will focus on startups that have successfully completed the MITS accelerator program and other defense, dual-use and deep-tech companies.

Teams that offer innovative defense solutions that can help accelerate Ukraine’s victory are invited to apply for the accelerator from February 23 to March 14, 2024, by filling out the form on the MITS website.

About MITS:

The founders of the accelerator comprise a group of American investors with substantial experience in defense and investment spheres, led by Perry Boyle, a former member of the executive committee of Point 72, LP, one of the leading global investment management firms.

MITS has established a Supervisory Board comprising experts from the defense industries of NATO countries.

The Supervisory Board will be Co-Chaired by Dr Phillip Karber, a former Strategic Advisor to US Secretary of Defense, NATO SACEUR and Governments, and Ernest Herold, a former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment.

The board will also include well-known experts in defense and investment sectors such as:

David Bonfili, co-founder of ACME General Corp., who served as a senior executive at investment firms Citadel, BlackRock, and Two Sigma and as a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a DC-based federally-funded research and development center that works primarily for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

Monique Brown, Chief of Strategy and Business Development at Actus Advanced Systems, Former Regional Director, International Business Development at Lockheed Martin, and others.

Anton Melnyk, one of the co-founders of the open association of participants in Ukraine’s technological ecosystem “UATechosystem” and Alina Lovchynovska, Ukrainian Army Support activist since 2014, will coordinate the accelerator’s activities in Ukraine.

American University Kyiv is a strategic partner of MITS and Lyudmila Dolhonovska and Yuriy Bots from the American University Kyiv are coordinators in creating the acceleration program.

Media contact:
Alina Lovchynovska