Small Business Track Overview

The Small Business Track of AIxCC replaces the Funded Track.

The Small Business Track is designed to empower innovation and enable small businesses to compete in AIxCC. DARPA will award up to seven (7) small businesses with prizes of $1 million each.

The Small Business Track Teams will be the winners of the Small Business Track Competition.

Between AIxCC Kickoff and the ASC, Small Business Track Teams will have the opportunity to participate in additional AIxCC events and demonstrate their technology to DARPA during a virtual site visit.

Small Business Track Competition: Eligible Teams may compete in the Small Business Track Competition by submitting a Concept White Paper, which will be scored by a panel of Government subject matter experts and judges. Based on the scoring of these Concept White Paper, the seven Teams with the highest score will be awarded prize money. Please refer to Appendix A of the AIxCC Rules for further details.


To register to compete in the Small Business Track Competition, eligible Teams can visit Please select the box labeled Small Business Track Competition and upload your Concept White Paper as your Paper Submission.

Registered Teams not awarded in the AIxCC Small Business Track Competition will be placed in the Open Track of the competition and will be considered registered. The Concept White Paper will satisfy the Registration Paper requirement. Teams who do not wish to participate in the AIxCC Open Track may email [email protected].

Please refer to Appendix A of the AIxCC Rules for further details.

Concept White Paper Criteria

The Small Business Track Competition invites all eligible small businesses to complete a Concept White Paper outlining their knowledge, skills, capabilities and approach for this challenge.

The Concept White Paper must be in two parts:

  • Abstract: Competitors will write a one (1) page abstract that describes a technical concept Cyber Reasoning System (CRS) for the AIxCC.
  • White Paper: Competitors will write a white paper, of no more than 20 pages, that discusses the following:
    • A justification of feasibility of their CRS concept. White papers are encouraged to include supporting evidence such as:
      • Publicly available evidence
      • Past work
      • Research results
      • Other relevant supporting evidence
    • The technical approach for constructing their CRS for competing in AIxCC, including:
      • Specific objectives and metrics
      • Risks and mitigations
      • A technical plan for accomplishment of objectives
    • The open-source strategy for their CRS should their Team advance past the ASC (in accordance with the Open-Source Requirement described in 3.5). This plan should:
      • Identify a license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) under which their CRS would be released.
      • Identify any part or dependency of their expected CRS which would be exempt from the Open-Source Requirement, described in 3.5, including pre-existing intellectual property (IP) that existed prior to the AIxCC kickoff date, or external, commercial products on which the CRS may rely.
      • Identify any risks in their open-source strategy and describe mitigations.

Concept white paper submissions will be evaluated and ranked using the following scoring criteria:

  • Abstract – (10%)
  • White Paper – (80%)
    • Justification of feasibility – (35%)
    • Technical Approach – (35%)
    • Open-source strategy – (10%)
  • Proposal Quality – (10%)


The Concept White Paper and the Technology Review Contest will be judged by a panel of Government subject matter experts and judges. Once entries have been received, all contestant names will be provided to the judges, who will then certify that no conflicts of interest exist, or will disclose any potential conflicts with any of the teams. More details to follow.


In addition to the general eligibility requirements of AIxCC (refer to Section 2.2 of the Rules), Teams competing in the Small Business Competition must satisfy the following requirements. Teams must be:

  • A U.S. Entity, defined as a private entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business within the United States; see 15 U.S.C. § 3719(g)(3).
  • A small business in accordance with Small Business Administration guidance under 13 C.F.R. § 121.201; or any U.S. Entity that meets the requirements of 13 C.F.R. § 121.201 and agrees to register as a small business if eligible to participate in this competition.
  • Within the size standard by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 541715 as noted in 13 C.F.R. § 121.201 (
  • Registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) and have or obtain an active Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code (; or agree to register in SAM and obtain an active CAGE code if eligible to participate in this competition.

Please refer to Appendix A of the AIxCC Rules for all eligibility requirements.