Wednesday, January 3, 2024

VCs Working With Think Tanks to Help Fund Defense-Tech Companies

Here is more from Eric Lipton of the New York Times:

More than a dozen [venture capitalists], assisted by think tanks and other nonprofits that get funding from venture capital groups, have been pushing Congress and the Defense Department to accelerate spending with defense-tech companies, or to make policy changes that make it easier for them to get Pentagon money.

Many of the venture capitalists keep ties to Washington.  [Mark] Esper is co-chairman of a commission set up by the Atlantic Council that is studying ways to accelerate the Pentagon’s embrace of new technology. The Atlantic Council staff set up a series of 70 briefings for Pentagon and congressional officials to promote their ideas.

The staff director of the report, Stephen Rodriguez, is an executive at a defense venture capital firm. He also serves as an adviser to Applied Intuition, a software startup and military contractor that helped fund and promote the report. Funding for the Atlantic Council report also came from several other venture-backed defense startups and Mr. Philippone’s Snowpoint Ventures.


Relatedly, it has become quite common for consulting firms, public relations (PR) firms, and lobbying shops to use think tanks to promote reports that benefit their clients.