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In Memory of Brett Davis, Success for HawkEye 360, Fundings: Orbit Fab, SwitchOn, Deep Cognition
19 April 2023 - A Weekly Publication by New North Ventures
In Memory of Brett Davis, Co-Founder and General Partner New North Ventures
We are taking a moment to recognize the legacy of Brett Davis. His grace and tenacity battling cancer is an exemplar for how we should all face adversity, thrive in life, and support a mission larger than ourselves.
Brett and I co-founded New North Ventures based on his unique government/Navy EOD past and my tech-startup path. It was an unusual pairing for two seemingly different people. Over the past few years, we launched the firm, having made almost a dozen investments into teams securing our future and advancing innovation in the national interest.
Brett's constant quest for performance was present in all things. There was always a mission met with an unyielding force of will. He brought his A game for a quest for the finest Manhattan on our travels or to tackle problems of legend.
He did all of his work with immense skill and dexterity, but he was also unmet in his curiosity and humanity. Whether we were working with a company in quantum/AI/flight or wacky business models, Brett was amazing, absorbing the countless innovative things we saw and synthesizing how their plans could advance us all.
In a recent post, he wrote, "You don’t know how strong you can be until being strong is the only option you have." He was an exceptional and effortless leader and had a superpower at building/coaching/mentoring teams.
His boundless optimism and zest for life I will forever remember, along with his smile and warmth. Brett’s legacy will be carried forward by all who were touched by his devotion to national security and innovation, inspirational leadership, and authenticity.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to THIRD OPTION FOUNDATION, a charitable organization that seeks to heal, help and honor members of the CIA’s Special Operations community and their families.
We want to extend our warmest congratulations to HawkEye 360 on the successful deployment of its Cluster 7 next-generation satellites. The trio of satellites launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California during the Transporter-7 mission.
This successful launch further expands HawkEye 360's constellation to 21 satellites, with extended and improved data collection in the 15-18 GHz range, first introduced in Cluster 6 launched in January 2023. The new collection capabilities around the globe allow HawkEye 360 to meet the persistently high demand for their RF analytics and provide increased situational awareness into an array of activities.
We are also delighted to report that after a successful launch, HawkEye 360 has established initial communications with all three satellites in the #he360Cluster7 trio, and the team will begin the first steps in the commissioning process. Congratulations again to HawkEye 360 on this exciting achievement!
Key People: Founded by Daniel Faber
Elevator Pitch: A space refueling technology designed to offer remote monitoring services.
Funding: The company raised $28.5 million of Series A1 venture funding in a deal led by 8090 Industries on April 17, 2023, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $85 million. Lockheed Martin Ventures and 12 other investors participated in the round.
Elevator Pitch: Trainable artificial Intelligence platform designed to help precision manufacturing industries reduce their manufacturing defects.
Funding: The company raised INR 401.36 million of venture funding in a deal led by Pi Ventures and Axilor Ventures on April 17, 2023, putting the company's pre-money valuation at INR 796.64 million. Laxmi Narayanan Sridharan, Anuj Bihani, British International Investment, and Vistra ITCL also participated in the round.
Elevator Pitch: Artificial intelligence development and deployment platform intended to help companies to design artificial intelligence through visual programming.
Funding: The company raised $1.25 million of seed funding in the form of convertible notes from undisclosed investors on April 14, 2023.
The National Security Strategy of the US describes climate change as the "existential challenge of our time".
The DOD conducted a tabletop exercise called Precipitous Storm in June to assess opportunities for deepening engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean to prepare, respond, and reduce climate change-related security and defense risks.
The exercise presented significant climate change-driven catastrophic conditions 15 years out to 2037, including direct impacts such as degraded critical infrastructure, environmental damage, economic decline, and food supply insecurity.
The US and the DOD are accelerating and broadening efforts to address climate security implications, and they will work with the international community to build capabilities to meet the climate crisis.
Construction spending for manufacturing in the US reached $108 billion in 2022, the highest on record, as new factories are being built across urban and rural areas, backed by government incentives in high-tech fields like electric-vehicle batteries and semiconductors.
US manufacturing employment is holding steady at around 10% of the private sector, with nearly 800,000 jobs added over the past two years. However, the industry is currently experiencing a shortage of 800,000 workers, potentially hampering further growth.
The Biden administration has invested billions of dollars to expand the electric vehicle and semiconductor industries in the US, with states also contributing significant amounts. This push has led to an increase in manufacturing construction starts, particularly in the semiconductors and EV battery sectors.
According to a new report from The Information, a number of American investors involved with Chinese VC firms, such as Sequoia Capital China, have indirectly financed Chinese AI startups.
Chinese tech companies taking investments from Americans in US dollars is not new. However, mounting fears about rapidly progressing AI apps have already reached an all-time high. Additionally, the potential threat of Chinese AI goes beyond national security concerns, as there’s potential for US companies and individuals to fund Chinese AI apps that are used by the government in ethically or legally questionable ways.
In 2021, for example, the US Treasury Dept. added SenseTime to its ongoing list of Chinese firms in which Americans are not allowed to invest, alleging that the company’s facial recognition software had been used by the Chinese government to oppress the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority.
Look for a new episode of Securing the Future Podcasts wherever you listen. In our latest episode, we have guest Dr. Jennifer Rudolph sit down with General Partner Jeremy Hitchcock for an engaging conversation where Dr. Rudolph discusses her passion for Asian history and politics, her research on Taiwan's political identity, and shares critical insights into the complex US-China relationship from her latest book, The China Question.