Are federal integrators where technology goes to die? Here’s why one Silicon Valley investor thinks so.
Jill R. Aitoro
Senior Staff Reporter-
Washington Business Journal
Oct 28, 2014
Cybersecurity is a key area of investment for Allegis Capital. But if a promising startup says it’s going to target federal government, Managing Director Bob Ackerman shows them the door as fast as possible.
It’s a reality I’ve reported on before and spurs a lot of D.C.’s most promising startups to pack their bags for Silicon Valley: Regardless of the billions of dollars the government claims to filter to technology, venture capital firms have no patience for the federal contracting morass.
And in the case of cybersecurity in particular, it’s a shame, Ackerman told me. Proximity to Fort Meade in Maryland makes the D.C. metro area a natural reservoir of cyber talent, but the supply of what he described as relevant capital remains critically low. So young entrepreneurs consult for a while, then leave when it comes time to get their big idea off the ground.
Consider Kevin Mandia. He was focused on consulting when he was at the helm of Mandiant and made a name for himself talking about Chinese hackers targeting U.S. systems, Ackerman said. But then Mandiant got bought by FireEye Inc. in Silicon Valley, Mandia moved out west when he was appointed chief operating officer, and Mandiant has gradually been merged with other acquired companies to offer a product that targets primarily commercial customers.