HUSTLE Defense Accelerator

READY...SET...HUSTLE Defense Accelerator! 

Are you a tech startup pushing artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, quantum science, or uncrewed aircraft system solutions?

Are you interested in sharpening your skills in running a business?

Are you interested in education and mentoring through a group of highly talented professionals with the chance to learn how to work with the government, how to open the door to partnerships and how to fund and grow your ventures and deliver trusted technologies to the American economy?

HUSTLE Ask Me Anything 2/14 at 1:45 pm


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 851 9152 2639
Passcode: 809819

Griffiss Institute is revving up for the third cohort of the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator!

Are you a tech startup pushing artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, quantum science, or unmanned aircraft system solutions?

We are looking for early-stage and pre-seed startups that could benefit from participation in the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator.

EMERGE Track: A twelve 12-week course designed for emerging pre-seed companies ready to accelerate and tackle nationally relevant defense technology commercialization.

ELEVATE Track: An eight (8) week course designed for the seed stage companies that are a little more advanced and that could use some elevation with a minimal viable product (MVP).

If either of those sound like your start-up, please sign up below and we will notify you of the 2024 application process & other important dates.

Interested in HUSTLE? Apply today!






HUSTLE is Supported & Sponsored by:

Air Force Research Laboratory
National Grid

HUSTLE Defense Accelerator is...

The HUSTLE Defense Accelerator is an elite and immersive accelerator for pre-seed and seed-stage tech startups pushing AI/ML, cyber, quantum and UAS solutions with dual-use potential and the drive to elevate the United States’ national security and economic competitiveness. 

This program is 100% in person and on site at Innovare Advancement Center in Rome, NY. 

Startups will be selected for participation in this elite program for defense innovation and summer residency in our world-class facility. 

HUSTLE Defense Accelerator graduates will…

  • Know the defense enterprise as a customer.
  • Know how, when, and where to make the perfect pitch.
  • Know the people and players who will be your partners in delivering national security solutions.
  • Know how to engage early-stage sources of capital to de-risk technologies and develop your team.
  • Launch your venture in an inclusive community of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs who areinspired and committed to elevate national security and economic competitiveness.
  • Learn the rich legacy of innovation in New York's picturesque Mohawk Valley.
  • Learn the ropes of startup success from world-class trainers, coaches and mentors.
  • Compete for hundreds of thousands in seed funding to grow your company in the Mohawk Valley. 

HUSTLE Defense Accelerator cohort teams will be provided a unique opportunity to learn knowledge and skills to develop, market and grow their businesses and a special track focused on how to successfully work with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies. 

Business Development Track focuses on all aspects of establishing and growing your company through a combination of lectures and guest speakers. Topics include:

  • Motivation
  • Ideation
  • Customer Discovery
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Competition
  • Intellectual Property Strategy
  • Go to Market, Customer Acquisition
  • Key Activities, Resources & Partners
  • Business model, Revenues & Costs

Government Business Track focuses on requirements for the DoD/Air Force SBIR/STTR programs, How to Write a Winning SBIR/STTR Proposal, How to Handle Control Unclassified Information (CUI), International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Data Rights, Technology Transfer Agreements, Developing and Submitting a DoD License Request to DoD Labs, What is a Project Intermediary and How They Can Help, Government Procurement: Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), and DoD Contracting 101. 

The HUSTLE Defense Accelerator culminates in a Demo Day where qualifying HUSTLE teams will have the opportunity to compete for hundreds of thousands in prize money, based on their track, to scale their ventures in the Mohawk Valley!

Thank you, New York State and Empire State Development, for your steadfast support of HUSTLE Defense Accelerator! 

HUSTLE Defense Accelerator FAQ


Important Dates

  • August 17, 2023: HUSTLE Demo Day
  • December 6, 2023: HUSTLE Cohort 3 Application goes LIVE 
  • February 7, 2024: HUSTLE Ask Me Anything goes LIVE at 2:20 pm
  • February 14, 2024: HUSTLE Ask Me Anything LIVE Discussion at 1:45 pm 
  • February 23, 2024: HUSTLE Cohort 3 Application closes

HUSTLE Defense Accelerator News

7.6.23  Griffiss Institute's HUSTLE Cohort 2 Unleashes Game-Changing Innovations in Defense Acceleration!

2.28.23 Griffiss Institute helps boost transfer of cutting-edge technology
8.19.22 Griffiss Institute Hosts First-Ever HUSTLE Demo Day for Startups to Make Their Home in the Mohawk Valley with $300,000 Investment
5.31.22 Griffiss Institute Partners with Amazon to Provide Free AWS Services to Startup Companies
5.11.22 Griffiss Institute Launches First Cohort of HUSTLE Defense Accelerator, Offers $300K Prize for Winning Innovation

Got Questions?


Meet the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator Team!

Meet a few of the instructors, trainers, coaches, guest speakers, and mentors who will be part of the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator program.

Interested in participating as a HUSTLE Defense Accelertaor coach, sponsor or mentor? Email


Patricia Baskinger
John Blaho
Robert Bojanek
Corrine Bush
Mary Carol Chruscicki
Stephen Colenzo
Dan Fayette
Michael Graniero
Charles Green
Heather Hage
Dr. Michael Hayduk
Dan Kalil
Chad Lawrence
Denise Lee
John Liddy
Dan Madden
Sarah Metott
Seth Mulligan
Anthony Newton
Matthew Nicholl
Courtney Olsen
Dori Placito
Kelly Poynter
Mark Romano
Karen Roth
Arber Ruci
Noa Simons
Melissa Tallman
Ariella Trotsenko
Michael Wessing
Dr. Bryant Wysocki
Pam Mustee

Meet the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator Partners & Sponsors!

Business Incubator Association of NYS
Griffiss Institute
Innovare Advancement Center
National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps
National Security Innovation Network
NSF Innovation Corps
Patent Hacks
Syracuse University
UNY I-Corps Node
Upstate Capital