There remains no shortage of hand-wringing over the state of engagement and collaboration between Silicon Valley and the Department of Defense. This was front and center at the panel I appeared on at the Reagan National Defense Forum in December. From advisory boards like the Defense Innovation Boardand the Section 809 Panel to entire organizations like the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Outpost, there has been great effort to close the gap between the Valley and the Pentagon. With many of the rapid advances in commercial technology so clearly applicable to warfare, the Defense Department is becoming more reliant upon and eager to engage with commercial tech companies for new capabilities.
Today was the second half of Y Combinator’s two-day Demo Day for its Winter 2019 class. Over 85 startups pitched on stage yesterday, and another huge batch launched today […]
Here are all of the companies that launched today, and our notes from their presentations.
Geosite: Businesses that need satellite imagery have to piece it together from 40 providers, manually download the content, and upload it to their system. Geosite is a marketplace for immediately usable spatial imagery. Clients pay an annual fee, and Geosite already has $3 million in contracts with the US Air Force.
Meet 23 companies that recently announced they’re part of the YC Winter 2019 batch.
Geosite uses spatial data to enable rapid and accurate planning and operations. Their customers include the U.S. military and companies in the energy industry. The platform leverages the proliferation in satellite imagery sources and distributed sensor systems. Recently, Geosite’s founder, Rachel Olney, was accepted to pitch at the inaugural Air Force Pitch Day and has a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Special Operations Command.
Reagan National Defense Forum: December 1, 2018 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Rachel was invited to speak on how the Silicon Valley tech world has been integrated with the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as the potential improvements that could be made.
“Dealing with the US government is extremely time consuming and often doesn't have the ROI that you get working with commercial industry. So making contract cycles not just faster, but simpler, is really important, and allowing companies to hedge their bets on the customer side, rather than dealing with a monopoly customer, is one area of improvement. The second is that, we need to articulate dual use better.”
If you think the archetypal Silicon Valley millennial nerd company has antipathy for the U.S. military and national security, think again. The reason these companies don’t do military work might be something more prosaic, and easy to fix. That’s according to Rachel Olney, the founder and CEO of Geosite, and she joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss more.
Other tech industry executives pushed back against the idea that Silicon Valley workers are less inclined to work with the Defense Department solely because of cultural differences or qualms about the moral implications.
“It’s much more an economics issue,” said Rachel Olney, founder and chief executive of geographic location data start-up Geosite. “Dealing with the U.S. government is extremely time consuming” and often doesn’t provide the same kind of profits as commercial work, she said.
Rachel was a speaker at the annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. The Symposium program gives the opportunity to learn from prominent, world-renowned speakers. The Space Symposium is the stage for the most notable space leaders across the globe, and a tremendous amount of information will be shared through the many presentations and sessions.