The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) selected five start-ups to receive Phase 1 Awards under the re-release of its Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses solicitation. The solicitation seeks out standards-based technologies to continue DHS’s efforts in utilizing blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to modernize operations.
This follow-on solicitation outlined five use cases that support the missions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the DHS Privacy Office (PRIV). The companies awarded under this solicitation include three start-ups new to the SVIP portfolio and two current portfolio companies:
- MATTR Limited, a woman-owned start-up based in Auckland, New Zealand, was awarded $200,000 to help USCIS develop a capability to digitally issue and validate essential work and task licenses. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for this capability. MATTR proposes to build an extensive set of foundational capabilities in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for verifiable credential issuance, verification, and storage.
- Mesur IO, Inc. based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded $193,612 to develop a capability to enhance CBP’s visibility of food supply chains. The project aims to improve food safety through the international supply chain by enhancing visibility from farm to point of purchase.
- Spherity GmbH, a Dortmund, Germany based start-up, received $145,000 to develop a capability to enhance CBP’s supply chain traceability of direct-to-consumer e-commerce shipments. Spherity proposes to adapt their core digital-twin binding technology to provide traceability of packages from internet purchase to consumer.
- SecureKey Technologies, a business based in Toronto, Canada and current SVIP portfolio company, was awarded $193,000 to develop an alternative identifier to the Social Security Number to support PRIV’s SSN Collection and Use Reduction initiative. The project’s goal will be to implement a globally unique, meaningless, and verifiable identifier that will not divulge personally identifiable information or enable cross tracking.
- Mavennet Systems, Inc. of Toronto, Canada, a current SVIP portfolio company, received $86,100 to support CBP by improving the traceability of natural gas. Mavennet proposes to enhance their Neoflow platform to digitally trace natural gas supply chains between Canada and the U.S.
“This was a very competitive solicitation with more than 80 applicants from across the globe with diverse perspectives and approaches to solving the variety of problem sets we shared in our solicitation,” said Anil John, SVIP Technical Director. “The selected start-ups proposed innovative solutions to the problems, demonstrated a firm commitment to technical interoperability using global standards from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and provided concrete plans to commercialize their final solutions. With this, we are demonstrating the clear intersection of DHS priorities, industry needs, and public interest.”
For more information about DHS S&T’s work and portfolio in DLT and blockchain technologies, please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/blockchain-portfolio