Defense Ventures

Government

  • Frontier Development Lab brings AI engineers to work together from the effects of climate change to predicting space weather, from improving disaster response, to identifying meteorites that could hold the key to the history of our universe. The lab is hosted by the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center.

Corporate VCs

  • Airbus Ventures – aerospace, cryptocurrency, materials, tough tech
  • Boeing HorizonX – Mobility, AI, IOT, Security
  • Lockheed Ventures
  • Scout Ventures – AR, AI, Drones, Mobility, IoT, Cyber, Enterprise
  • In-Q-Tel – focuses on intelligence community, tough tech investor
  • LunarX – hosted by Google

Accelerators

  • Second Front Systems “accelerate delivery of emerging commercial technologies to U.S. and Allied warfighters.”
  • FedTech
  • One Defense – Government startup consultant for YC 500 and Techstars
  • 500 Startups
  • Lemnos Labs – Hardware

Traditional LPs

  • Lux Capital is a prominent deep tech/tough tech VC based in NYC.
  • *Team 8 “is an Israeli cybersecurity foundry focused on developing disruptive technologies and building category-leading companies that challenge the biggest problems in cybersecurity today.”
  • 8VC – Former Palantir founder, Firm has lobbyist on staff
  • Khosla Ventures seeks to invest into cost-effective, scalable inventions, or black swans of energy invention. This medium post captures the vision well.
  • C5 Capital “is a specialist investment firm that exclusively invests in the secure data ecosystem including cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure, data analytics, and space.” They also launched C5 Impact Partners – “It is our first fund focused on data-driven technologies that support inclusivity, safety, resilience and sustainability of cities and communities.”
  • General Catalyst -Anduril Investor
  • ForgePoint Capital – Cybersecurity
  • Harpoon
  • Andreesen Horowitz – Anduril Series B Investor
  • Lightspeed – enterprise, security, citadel defense anti-drone company
  • Founders Fund – government, Trae is early Palantir, co-founder of Anduil
  • Trident Capital – Enterprise, IT, Cyber, Cloud
  • Acero Capital – Enterprise Software, co-invested with In-Q-Tel
  • Crosslink Capital
  • Bessemer Venture Partners – Consumer, Enterprise, Healthcare
  • Khosla Ventures
  • DCM
  • Shasta Ventures
  • DCM
  • Shasta Ventures
  • Softbank
  • Arsenal Growth – Enterprise, Commerce/Logistics, Healthcare
  • The Engine – tough tech investor
  • New Enterprise Association – tough tech
  • SOSV – runs HAX and Indie Bio. Focus on hardware and has Chinese chapter

Climate Ventures

Prelude Ventures “is a venture capital firm partnering with entrepreneurs to address climate change. Since 2013, we have invested in over 40 companies across advanced energy, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, advanced materials and manufacturing, and advanced computing.”

X Prize “has designed and operated seventeen competitions in the domain areas of Space, Oceans, Learning, Health, Energy, Environment, Transportation, Safety, and Robotics.

Stanford Climate Ventures is “led by two Precourt Energy Scholars with decades of energy technology, business, and policy expertise…[who] launch plans for high-impact ventures in the context of a new energy development framework.” Here is the latest from the 2020 Impact Assessment.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a $1 billion dollar Bill Gates energy fund. “Our strategy links government-funded research to the patient, risk-tolerant capital so that more transformative clean energy innovations get to market faster.” Here is a great Quartz article on the latest portfolio.

Obvious Ventures. “Early-stage venture capital for startups reimagining trillion-dollar industries through a world positive lens.” They invest in health, wellness, energy, mobility, and sustainable cities.

Advancing Multilateral Public-Private Partnerships for Biden’s Priorities

One lesson I had learned witnessing the Trump transition at State was that while policies and programs may not outlast an administration, the work can continue with advancing priorities under shared values, iterating upon what works, and working with the private sector.

In the private sector, I witness an incredible array of work by innovators in climate science, aerospace, and defense protecting human lives and achieving security and sustainability agendas through greener, cheaper, lighter, and more efficient technologies.

I had an opportunity to work on a program called Engage America – a whole of government initiative to bring policies closer to the American people. With State as a more diplomatic arm of the federal government, we worked with interesting private innovators to provide public resources to local municipalities, such as Small Business Administration to provide translation services for Somali populations in Buffalo, NYC.

Many public programs, such as Engage America, did not continue, but public and private resources exist to be harnessed with a renewed sense of optimism and energy to be catalyzed. We are also at the precipice of many changes to move at scale on complicated and interrelated issues.

Executive Offices at institutional banks, like Goldman Sachs, adopted Environmental and Social Policy under a top-level operational framework. Investors are pouring an unprecedented amount of capital into start-up ventures with government stakeholders as a source of funding, building confidence among investors.

In many ways, coronavirus is accelerating what has already been out there in building the cyber resilient networks and thinking through supply chain disruptions. As a country, we should come together to think about how public-private partnerships can instrument the solutions that can be scaled.

Each entity offers from a business or government standpoint to meet the needs of consumers, citizens, and the environment in a collaborative working sense. By creating the conditions for tackling those problems within and in partnership with implementation strategies that are feasible, practical, and operational.

Government officials need to work with business or non-profit not only as a way to reduce cost but also for innovative and long-term solutions to manage multi-dimensional policies. Business leaders will need to balance responding to short-term solutions and long-term strategic policies part of the larger political reality by anticipating risk, clear social goals with flexibility and independent expert advice.

  1. Create industry coalitions for immediate solutions, such as pandemics. There are technologies we can utilize today such as sensors or commercial satellites monitoring the patterns of life. We can mobilize this data to predict the patterns of future biological threats.
  2. Establish R&D coalitions in each arm of the federal government. We can apply the technical knowledge of U.S. startups to policy goals to cover Presidential priorities, such as nuclear disarmament, food security, global health, and climate change. By working closely with the Department of Energy, entrepreneurs would help bring clean energy technologies with high upfront capital costs into the market. By catalyzing the connection with DOE, entrepreneurs, regional partners, and incubators, the partnership would foster collaborations among start-ups and federal entities. 
  3. Educate. The advent of the internet and the data is that everyone can share information. The downside to this is that everyone can share information. Massive amounts of disinformation or misinformation about the coronavirus are still out and about. Information can be weaponized to polarize each other.
  4. As the US seeks to broaden its alliances, it should engage partners not just on trade and traditional security issues, but also on emerging “nontraditional” challenges. One principal area for America to collaborate constructively with Asian nations is in “natural security,” or the security implications of climate change, environmental degradation and natural resource dependence.
  5. We could also establish bilateral technology funds, funds could support a range of initiatives, from seed projects to road test high-risk ideas to incubators for startups innovating at the nexus of defense and commercial applications.
  6. We could build anonymous data sets with U.S. allies to offset China’s scale advantage in the arena or its potential deliberate policy choices. Each government’s initiative to pool select, curated datasets can be used by companies and innovators in each country.

Achieving national security and next administration’s priorities will continue to require working across those barriers. It cannot be done without building upon what has already been effective and also through tapping into convening grounds across the public and the private entities for a safer and a more secure world.

Coding.

Coding controls how we live online, and how we live.

About a third of 1% of us can write it.

Think about what we’re doing right now. You’re probably reading this article. This article itself is – coded, and run on a web browser, which is code, run on a computer which is designed by code.

It’s a very exciting time to be living today. Everything we do on the computer, and as we’re generating more data, we’re relying on it to make more decisions for us day by day.

Advancements of code can also put lives in danger in new ways.

Here is how artificial intelligence works. We give the computer a lot of examples and get it to write its own code with its own set of directions to follow. If we do not train it to consider set of decisions to go into making more decisions, the computer will decide it is not relevant. For instance, the computer may decide the parties don’t have any hispanic people, if the machine learning system don’t have any hispanic people.

I think it might be fun – to devote three months of my COVID-19 time into it.

We’ll see.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

I do want to share how this book was written. The author a well-renowned medical doctor and a global health educator with a well-known TED talk. When he was diagnosed with an incurable pancreatic cancer, he canceled his external engagements and focused on pouring his knowledge into this book. This book is his final gift to the world to make sense of the world around us amidst the noise and to create impact with the knowledge.

Every day, We are bombarded with information too general and simplistic. This book was spoken from the author’s voice and was an easy read. Each chapter demystifies each of our instincts and shares with us stories and rules to test our assumptions. He gives us tools at the end of each chapter of how we can think like a true data scientist.

With this book, we can see that the world is not as bad as it seems, “and we can see what we have to do to keep making it better.”

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Link here

I picked up this book in the midst of COVID-19. It helped me rationalize and understand this mark in our better.

One day, I will think of this moment as a simple story, simplified, summarized, and elegant, but there are often moments like these with great pangs in our stomachs unsure and unfathomable.

As Nassim taught us, we seem to tend to rationalize the events past – that they are fathomable that they somehow made sense. Alas, the occurrence of the market shifting up or down, one country or state falling or another though they lay completely outside of our forecast, do not seem so outlandish in the aftermath.

Perhaps instead of focusing on the worst-case scenario and the unknowns, we can focus on the redundancies – less imposed, more regular, and more derived from the past – the long-term game. And we continue to stay true of – sticking to what grounds us – just like time spent with family, friends, and all else certainly keeping our feet on the ground.

Digital Diplomacy: Conversations on Innovation in Foreign Policy

Digital Diplomacy is a series of interviews compiled by a public affairs officer at the Italian Embassy. I will never forget the first time I met him. He hosted an all-women panel with the coolest social impact pioneers in DC – Frances Holuba from the Obama White House, Nicole Isaac from LinkedIn and Anastasia Dellaccio of WeWork Creator Awards at the time. I remember this was one of my most favorite events to this day..

This is an important book of our time for many reasons. There are not many books told from the perspective of a public diplomacy practitioner of how to navigate the waters of the changing time today. He cherry-picked the innovation leaders across the administration and those at the front seat in Washington DC from the World Economic Forum, United Nations, TEDx, and the New America Foundation. His questions are well-researched and poignant. He pulls from history and covers different perspective specific for each interviewee for what it means to innovate, what conditions create the culture to innovate from respective organizations, and how to conduct it with vision, strategy and for good.

It is a guidebook to treasure for all thinkers and practitioners in government, business, and private partners interested in working at an international level. I am still a fan of his Medium, and I recommend you all to check it out, if you haven’t done so already. 🙂

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

Physics of the Future is one of Michio Kaku’s earlier books of his series of his forecasts of the future. I really enjoyed this book – as he dissects each industry into each layers, he goes in depth into each industry with a rules as a physicist under fundamental laws of physics. As he begins the book, he warns the readers – everything we will read about are projections are the future.

The storyboards he envisions is quite extraordinary. From his own experiences and from the tech evolution he witnesses, he shows us the economic and physical possibilities of the future, for instance, how room temperature semiconductors can enable flying cars. He does explain the tech limitations as he goes into each sector, but I did wish he went into the unintended consequences of each tech today.

Instead of writing about how robots might gain consciousness some day, I wished he could write more about issues we are currently facing, such as the AI’s flawed algorithm giving us biased results. Data trust and privacy issues.

This book takes you on quite a journey. There is energy and enthusiasm radiating from the book as a quantum physicist in the future that he sees. I am certainly looking forward to reading his other books.