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Melissa Oh, DHS Program Managing Director, Discusses Value of Startups

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The Department of Homeland Security‘s Silicon Valley Innovation Program has had continued success in acquiring technologies from startup companies that would otherwise not pursue the government space, said Melissa Oh, managing director of SVIP.

In an interview with Government Matters, Oh said that all of the technologies that surpassed Phase IV trials through SVIP have been commercialized.

Established in 2015, the program prioritizes small businesses with no previous participation in federal contracts but have less than 200 employees and a revenue of under $1 million, Oh explained. She distinguished SVIP from the Small Business Innovation Research program, saying that they focus on meeting DHS challenges and are able to fund international startups.

Oh discussed that DHS intentionally set up SVIP in Silicon Valley to be closer to their target tech firms. She noted that some of those entrepreneurs have landed multimillion-dollar federal projects as a result of their partnership.

Working primarily with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration, Oh’s efforts concentrate on identifying pain points that need to be addressed with new technologies.

The Silicon Valley Innovation Program was created under the DHS Science and Technology Directorate.