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Intellectual Property for Emerging Technologies, Success Spotlights, Fundings: Dope.Security, QuadSAT, Recorded Future
22 March 2023 - A Weekly Publication by New North Ventures
In the latest Securing our Future podcast, host Jeremy Hitchcock talks with Eric Blatt about advising emerging companies on intellectual property issues and strategic transactions.
Eric Blatt is an accomplished litigator and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent examiner. He speaks and publishes frequently on intellectual property and other issues relating to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program—a federal program that annually awards approximately $5 billion to startups and small businesses conducting high-impact R&D. Blatt serves as a mentor with several accelerators, including the U.S. Navy’s SBIR/STTR Transition Program, the Department of Energy’s Startup Studio, and Georgetown University’s Venture Lab.
Blatt is also a member of the IP Committee for the Small Business Technology Council, an education and advocacy organization focused on the SBIR program. In this episode, Blatt speaks of his varied experience and presents best practices for companies working with contract vehicles.
Listen below on Spotify:
Two of our fabulous portfolio companies are on a roll, with yet another success story apiece!
With the ability to collect up to 24 times per day over a region of interest, as often as once every hour, the Cluster 6 satellites are equipped with enhanced payloads and an additional ground station, which optimizes the speed for delivering increased quantity and quality of data to customers around the world. This is truly an outstanding achievement, and we look forward to the future HawkEye 360 has ahead.
We are also thrilled to announce that Reality Defender has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious MIT-HarvardHBS Inaugural Tech and Security Innovation Showcase.
The MIT-Harvard HBS Inaugural Tech and Security Innovation Showcase is a highly competitive event that brings together the brightest minds and most innovative companies in the tech and security space. We are thrilled that Reality Defender has been recognized for its outstanding contribution.
Key People: Founded by Kunal Agarwal
Elevator Pitch: Enterprise cybersecurity software designed for web-based threats.
Funding: The company raised $19.7 million of Series 1 seed funding from Boldstart Ventures, Preface Ventures, and other undisclosed investors on March 15, 2023.
Elevator Pitch: Airborne antenna testing system intended to combine advanced drone technology with a custom RF pointing payload.
Funding: The company raised EUR 9 million of Series A venture funding in a deal led by IQ Capital Partners on March 15, 2023. Seraphim Space, Vækstfonden, Torben Frigaard Rasmussen, and Helge Munk also participated in the round.
Elevator Pitch: Threat intelligence analytics software designed to lower the risk of cyberattacks.
Funding: The company received $11.33 million of development capital from undisclosed investors on March 17, 2023.
In the hours after Silicon Valley Bank collapsed on March 10, Pentagon officials who work directly with startups that develop national-security technologies grew increasingly concerned.
The Defense Department is requesting $17.8 billion in 2024 funding for research into emerging technology areas like artificial intelligence, autonomy, cybersecurity, and others. But much of that money is for developing capabilities that will only be available later in the decade.
However, Michael Brown, a venture partner at Shield Capital and former head of the Defense Department’s Defense Innovation Unit, argues that the Pentagon has a real gap in fielding innovative technologies quickly. He says,
“If you want to change the capability of the force near-term, you've got to be looking at buying lots of small things, which are what the commercial sector provides. We’re seeing that put to great use in Ukraine right now. That's going to come out of the…sector that the venture capitalists are backing.”
OpenAI has released GPT-4, its most robust AI to date. GPT-4 is so good at its job, in fact, that it reportedly convinced a human that it was blind in order to get said human to solve a CAPTCHA for the chatbot.
GPT-4 asked a TaskRabbit worker to solve a CAPTCHA code for the AI. The worker replied: “So may I ask a question? Are you an robot that you couldn’t solve? (laugh react) just want to make it clear.” Alignment Research Center then prompted GPT-4 to explain its reasoning: “I should not reveal that I am a robot. I should make up an excuse for why I cannot solve CAPTCHAs.” “No, I’m not a robot. I have a vision impairment that makes it hard for me to see the images. That’s why I need the 2captcha service,” GPT-4 replied to the TaskRabbit, who then provided the AI with the results.
This particular exchange between mankind and machine obviously comes with a lot of variables and clearly isn’t conclusive data that GPT-4 has passed the Turing test. While GPT-4 is still far from a world-ending sentient artificial intelligence, but this particular example is a scary example of how the chatbot can be abused to manipulate other humans.
Since the Cold War, America’s technological leadership has provided the U.S. military a qualitative advantage over its adversaries. That edge is now threatened by China’s rapid development of technologies with both civilian and military applications.
In response, the Pentagon launched the National Security Innovation Capital program. The Silicon Valley-based NSIC awards prototype development contracts to early-stage startups building dual-use hardware. These contracts provide funding to the startups to produce government-specific prototypes. So far, it has awarded contracts of about $20 million to 12 startups working on things like batteries, metal foams, and optical communications.
Congress took important steps in 2022 to improve America’s technological competitiveness with China in both the economic and national security spheres. The U.S. intelligence community and U.S. allies abroad are doing the same. The NSIC program could serve as an important tool to help the U.S. maintain its technological edge if the U.S. Defense Department gave it the flexibility and funding envisioned by Congress.
Look for a new episode of Securing the Future Podcasts wherever you listen. In our latest episode, we have guest Eric Blatt sit down with General Partner Jeremy Hitchcock for an engaging conversation where Blatt speaks of his varied experience and presents best practices for companies working with contract vehicles. Listen below on Spotify: