NEWS | Jan. 1, 2011

Maximizing the Returns of Government Venture Capital Programs

By Andrew S. Mara Defense Horizons 71


Maximizing the Returns of Government Venture Capital ProgramsKey Points

  • The Federal Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense have made substantial commitments in the venture capital community through In-Q-Tel, OnPoint Technologies, and DeVenCI. Despite these commitments, knowledge of these programs throughout the government is limited.
  • Government venture capital (GVC) programs have insight into many small technology companies that are otherwise invisible. To maximize the value of GVC investments, company information should be shared among government agencies.
  • Despite their innovative approaches to investment funding, GVC programs still struggle with the difficult task of transferring new technologies to the government. Classification, timing, culture, and incentive issues all plague successful technology transfer; however, these challenges are not insurmountable.
  • Successful venture capital efforts in industry often rely on a “technology champion” to usher new technologies into the parent company. GVC programs should adopt a similar strategy to increase the transfer rate of promising technologies.