Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lends a whole new meaning to the phrase "venture capital"

CIA's investment arm expands high-tech reach

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, is aggressively expanding its technology portfolio by pumping new investments into startups involved in networking, energy, semiconductor and software visualization.

On Thursday (Oct. 20), In-Q-Tel (Arlington, Va.) separately announced undisclosed investments in three startups and no less than six companies this week alone.

The spy agency's venture capital arm invested in two energy-related companies: Electro Energy Inc. and SkyBuilt Power Inc. It also poured money into two networking startups: Ember Corp., and Tendril Networks Inc.

I have mixed feelings about In-Q-Tel (translation, none of my present or past clients were financed by In-Q-Tel). In some ways it is like the SBIR program; but wouldn't you hate to compete with an In-Q-Tel financed firm?

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