Why Defense Could Now Be a Market for Startups


This post is by steve blank from Steve Blank


The U.S. Department of Defense is coming to grips with the idea that the technologies it needs to keep the country safe and secure are no longer exclusively owned by the military or its prime contractors. AI, machine learning, autonomy, cyber, quantum, access to space, semiconductors, biotech are all being driven by commercial companies.  At the front-end of these innovations are startups – organizations the Department of Defense hasn’t previously dealt with at scale.

They’re now learning how.

Mrinal Menon is one of my Hacking for Defense students at Stanford where he’s currently in the MBA program. He’s a former U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer. Jeff Decker is a co-instructor of the Hacking for Defense class and the Stanford program director. Jeff is an Army Second Ranger Battalion veteran.

Mrinal and Jeff’s article below explains how startups can adapt and thrive while working with the Defense Department. And how the Department of Defense is learning to work with startups.



This article previously appeared in Fast Company.

At a time when young companies struggle to find technology sectors not dominated by Silicon Valley’s giants, most startups remain oblivious to one of the largest markets in the world, the U.S. Defense Department. The military awarded $445 billion in contracts in 2020. By comparison, last year’s global market for software-as-a-service, one of the hottest sectors for startup creation and investment, was estimated at $104 billion.

There’s a willing market here, too. The Pentagon is eager for help from the nation’s innovators. The (Read more...)