When the government is the customer (some things to keep in mind)
Five years ago, Google backed away from a Pentagon government contract because thousands of employees protested that its tech might be used for lethal drone targeting. Today, however, Silicon Valley has far fewer qualms about developing tech for the U.S. Department of Defense.
So said four investors — Trae Stephens of Founders Fund, Bilal Zuberi of Lux Capital, Raj Shah of Shield Capital and longtime In-Q-Tel president Steve Bowsher — speaking at a startup event for military veterans today in San Francisco. Said Shah of the shift in attitude that he has observed personally: “The number of companies, founders, and entrepreneurs interested in national security broadly — I’ve never seen it at this level.”
Bowsher argued that the “reluctance of Silicon Valley to work with the [Defense Department] and intel community” was always “overblown,” adding that across his 16 year with In-Q-Tel, which is the CIA’s venture fund, his team has met with roughly 1,000 companies each year and just “five to 10 have turned us down, saying they weren’t interested in…