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Have you heard of APFIT as a potential option for your small business? Many have not yet.  

 Ambiguity is probably one of the greatest causes of hesitancy among most companies when faced with the decision of whether to pursue federal funding. Our goal is to help demystify a lot of this confusion of federal funding by opening the conversation about many of the different opportunities in every stage of your federal journey.  

Which brings us back to this newer, and lesser-known, opportunity currently available: the pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT) 

 What is APFIT? 

 We saw APFIT roll out in 2022, According to the USDR&E, the purpose of APFIT is to provide a “competitive, merit-based pilot program to accelerate procurement & fielding of innovative technologies,” as well as to “transition technologies from pilot programs, prototypes projects and research projects into production.” 

 You can check out our APFIT Tools Page to learn more about what it is and how much we have seen awarded throughout the past two years of its running.  

How is APFIT Similar to a STRATFI/TACFI?  

 So APFIT is like another STRATFI/TACFI, Right?  

 Not exactly, however, they do have a few similarities, particularly their original intention.  

 Much like STRATFI/TACFI, the main goal of this program is to be an option for companies looking for additional funding to help them through the infamous Valley of Death, or the gap of funding and resources that many companies find themselves in once they scale through a SBIR Phase I or Phase II and are waiting for the higher dollar Phase III funding.  

 How is APFIT Different Than STRATFI/TACFI?  

Type of Funding.  

STRATFI/TACFI is SBIR funding, meaning it is awarded through the SBIR and STTR programs. These programs are designed to encourage small businesses to engage with the Department of Defense by providing funding for research in development with the incentive being the potential for commercialization.  

From the information we have right now, it appears that APFIT is going to be procurement funding, which is different than SBIR Phase I, Phase II, and STRATFI/TACFI funding. In order to qualify for procurement funding, you must already have an established technology.  

  • STRATFI/TACFI requires a matching grant 
  • APFIT does not.  
 Eligibility Requirements 
  • STRATFI/TACFI Prioritizes performers that qualify as small businesses or nontraditional defense contractors. 
  • APFIT is not held to that same criterion.  

Below are the qualifications for each:  

If you answer yes to these four questions, you could be eligible for STRATFI/TACFI: 


  1. Do You have an active Air Force SBIR/STTR Phase II or one completed within the past 3 years? 
  2. Has your subject effort not already been awarded a “sequential” Phase II?  
  3. Have at least 90 days have passed since the beginning of the Phase II execution? 
  4. Are you not executing a prior STRATFI effort at the time of submission? 
  5. Are you able to achieve the minimum matching/investment requirements? 
  6. Are you able to obtain the required end user and customer memoranda? 


If you answer yes to these four questions, you could be eligible for APFIT: 


  1. Do you have an established technology that can use procurement dollars (in other words, are you providing a solution, not further developing one)? 
  2. Have you won less than $500 million in DoD contracts? 
  3. Are you a small business or a non-traditional defense contractor? 
  4. Do you have programmed procurement funding in future fiscal years (planned program of record several years down the road)? 



Can You Leverage Both?  

Are you qualified for both a STRATFI or TACFI and APFIT?  

If you happen to be eligible for both of these programs, then you can absolutely pursue both.  

In fact, you should pursue both.  

 STRATFI awards can be upwards of $15 million. You don’t want to leave any of that on the table. The Valley of Death can be a huge barrier if you do not have options to help supplement your finances as your cross it, so it is important to consider every possibility that might be a good fit.  

Not only do these programs help to fund your technology as you pursue Phase III funding, but there can also be some interesting strategies to employ between the two programs to help make the most in bridging the gap before you get a program of record.   

If you execute this right, we’re talking a technical potential of $65M, and a more realistic potential of $25M, between APFIT and STRATFI, which is a pretty good stock cap.  

Next Steps 

What many don’t know about the 2023 version of APFIT is that it has already come and gone; the submission round is already over. If you’re just hearing about it now, you should start prepping for the FY24 program, which will likely start in late 2023. 

 To learn more about APFIT, and how to prepare, be sure to check out our Tools Page or sign up to join us for for our Upcoming Masterclass- APFIT Everything we Know About the DoD’s Most Recent Venture, hosted on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 2pm Est-