Rushlight Assets Presents at Congressional Briefing on SBIR Innovation

Published: February 9, 2024

CRG President Christopher Hemmelgarn (at podium) discusses the impact of SBIR awards on the Dayton-based aerospace and defense company during a February 6 Congressional Briefing.

The Rushlight Assets enterprise, represented by Christopher Hemmelgarn, president of Cornerstone Research Group (CRG), took part in the Congressional Briefing on “SBIR: Powering Innovation and Paying Dividends” on February 6, 2024, held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Hosted by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), the event featured a distinguished panel moderated by Bryan Bender, vice president of Strategic Marketing Innovations and the former defense and space editor of POLITICO. In addition to Hemmelgarn, panelists included Dr. Maryann Feldman of Arizona State University and Bill Marinelli, president and CEO of Physical Sciences, Inc.

Hemmelgarn highlighted Rushlight Assets’ pivotal role in advancing technology for national defense, emphasizing multiple successful transitions to the warfighter, such as thermal protection systems and smart tooling technology. These technological advances, originating from SBIR-funded projects, have been instrumental in enhancing military platforms and addressing national security priorities. Additionally, they have been advanced commercially through CRG’s sister company Rushlight Ventures.

The Rushlight Assets enterprise, encompassing CRG and Rushlight Ventures, showcased remarkable success, executing over $250 million in Phase III development work, product sales, and investments from both angel and institutional investors. Notably, while 34% of enterprise revenue was from SBIR funding over the last decade, only 24% of the enterprise revenue was from SBIR in 2023, reflecting an increasingly diversified revenue base.

CRG’s achievements include generating over $2 million in Phase III funding for every Phase II SBIR, exceeding the 2024 SBIR eligibility benchmarks by over eightfold. In just the past two years, the enterprise has grown to 180 employees and collaborated with 63 partner organizations, including 13 universities nationwide, reflecting its commitment to research, innovation, and collaboration.

“Innovation is non-linear and highly unpredictable at lower levels of maturity,” emphasized Hemmelgarn. “Disruptive solutions stem from combinatorial innovation and the ability to leverage knowledge gained across programs.”

Hemmelgarn concluded by stressing the importance of not limiting SBIR awards to any single organization since the result would be a reduction in the quality of innovation derived from the SBIR program. Disruptive solutions come from combinatorial innovation and limiting awards would place constraints on the opportunity for this to occur.

The briefing highlighted Rushlight Assets’ dedication to addressing critical national security challenges through tangible solutions, made possible by SBIR programs and collaborative partnerships.