Currently working on an early stage GovTech startup & curious to hear from others what are the chances that the government will buy into my startup? What are some tips/suggestions to ensure that a deal goes through?
There are 3 solid methods for startups to sell to Government:
(First, you need to do this: https://www.sba.gov/contracting/getting-started-contractor/register-government-contracting.)
1) SBIR: Small Business Innovation & Research Grants. These are highly competitive grants geared specifically to innovative minds (aka startup entrepreneurs). They are broken into Phases. If you compete for the grant and are awarded, you will receive $100k to produce a validated proof of concept that meets the criteria for the solicitation (Phase 1). Phase 2 is $300k-$500k towards commercial production of the solution. If successful, you will have "sole-source" rights to sell this technology to the Government without competition.
2) TechTransfer: Government frequently produces technology through R&D that they cannot scale and support at and enterprise/commercial level. Through the Procurement and Technical Assistance program (PTAC) - you can gain insights into potential opportunities for TechTransfer. Where they will hand over the reigns of a technology to small businesses to manage and commercialize - provided the Government can use the technology. (https://dslbd.dc.gov/service/technology-commercialization)
3) This last method is more of a business development strategy. Let's stay your product is AMAZING and it fills a much needed gap in the GovTech spectrum. You will have much better success targeting incumbent government contracting firms through partnerships or sub-contracts. You should have an idea of the agencies best suited for your solution, and a solid grasp of the pain points your solution can alleviate to construct your marketing platform. Lastly for this - show up at major procurement events - all prime contractors show up to these - this is a big marketing opportunity, sell your tech to them, then you're in.
Once you start selling to the government and build past performance, you can work with the SBA through their programs and business officers to angle for sole-source awards. Platforms like FedBizOps and Deltek will be your best friend.
UPDATE! Check out: https://apps.gov/ <---This might be what you're looking for!
Govtech or any public sector sales/adoption process is inherently different from B2B or B2C in many regards. Its critical to be able to explain the value proposition in terns that are meaningful to the decision maker, but its as crtical if not more so to also be able to "sell" to the multitude of influencers. Unlike in many business or consumer purchase decisions, where the decision maker is also the end user, in public procurement that is rarely the case - or at least not in a vacuum. In competing for dollars in the public sector, you have to know exactly which budget line item will be used to purchase your giids or services. Further, you have to know what or who else is competitive for those dollars (often an established "incumbent" even if your idea is new. The established incumbent could even be "do nothing" - because its safer. If "your" dollars (or those that would be used to procure your goods/services have historically been spent elsewhere - well then you will likely have to find a way to convince a whole team of people to go in a new direction and that can be hard. Its not all lost however because if you find some champions, they will likely be champions for the long haul as long as your product or service delivers. Since people in the government sector often move around to other public sector organizations, the influence of these champions can be widespread! Professional organizations of public agency procurement officials is a great place to find champions. Relationships. Relationships. Relationships. I am always intrigued by this sector. Its ripe for more change and now more than ever, there is funding for great solutions.