WASHINGTON -- The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is launching a new tech accelerator in St. Louis as a way to help commercial startups to develop new geospatial technologies.

The NGA Accelerator, which will be run in partnership with Capital Innovators and the Missouri Technology Corporation, will select eight companies to participate in its inaugural 13-week program. The program boasts more than $1 million in perks and incentives for participants, including office space, mentorship, $100,000 in grant funding, investor connections and direct feedback from NGA. Participants will temporarily relocate to St. Louis for the duration of the program, which is set to launch March 22.

NGA has selected four technology focus areas for the first cohort: advanced analytics and modeling, data integrity and security, data management and artificial intelligence.

“Geospatial-intelligence is a rapidly growing industry and the NGA Accelerator will be the epicenter for next-generation technologies,” said Capital Innovators Management Director Brian Dixon in a Dec. 15 statement. “We think our combination of expert mentorship, a burgeoning startup community in St. Louis, and a range of support services will form the perfect foundation for any early-stage company looking to build a reputation among the government sector and beyond.”

In a press release, NGA boasted that the accelerator is a first of its kind in the U.S. intelligence community.

The decision to place the program in St. Louis adds to NGA’s recent investments in the city, where the agency is building a new state-of-the-art facility to house NGA West and has partnered with local universities to develop talent for its workforce.

“This project is part of our larger effort to grow the world’s best geospatial ecosystem in St. Louis,” said NGA Director Vice Adm. Robert Sharp. “Our strategy is to work closely with talented teams in the region to form a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Our tactics include close collaboration and technology transfer. The growing ecosystem is central to our efforts to maximize game-changing innovation.”

Applications to join the first cohort will be accepted through midnight Jan. 17.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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