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Will Roper on Air Force’s AFVentures Program

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Will Roper
Will Roper

Will Roper, assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics at the U.S. Air Force and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, said the service is bringing in novel technologies from small businesses through its AFVentures initiative, National Defense reported Thursday.

AFVentures is a partnership between AFWERX and the Air Force Small Businesses Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program that seeks to support small companies with technologies that have potential military applications.

“The process as it exists today, does about 1,000 very small entry level awards to get companies in,” Roper said Thursday during a Decode webinar. “The second step is where we move up to medium-sized bets.”

Awards that are considered “small bets” range between $50,000 and $75,000, while “medium bets” range from $1 to 3 million and “big bet” awards are between $5 and 50 million. 

“If they select you for one of those medium bets, well, that’s a pretty good indication of a product market set,” Roper said. “The fact that we selected you means you have a better chance of getting access to that broader market we represent."