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Incentivizing Private Capital Investment in National Security Interests

- CDT
Devvie, 1st Floor & Virtual

Maj Jason Rathje
AFVentures, Director

Major Jason Rathje is a cofounder of AFVentures and currently serves as its Director. In this function he is responsible for the Air Force’s  commercial investment portfolio, including the management of the  dual-use portion of the AF’s Small Business Innovative Research  (SBIR) budget. He is also responsible for aligning commercial investment with DAF objectives, utilizing market and economic forces to increase the transition rate of commercially funded innovation to the warfighter. During COVID-19, he serves as the Director of the “Rapid” Line of Effort (LOE 4) for the Department of the Air Force’s Acquisition Task Force (DAF ACT), responsible for managing a 182-person team to deliver non-traditional and small business solutions to combat COVID-19.

Maj Rathje received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps after graduating with his Bachelor and Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served as a Lead Engineer for Aeronautical Systems at both the Armament Directorate and Air Force Research Lab at Eglin AFB, Fla. He has deployed with USSOCOM in support of Operation Enduring Freedom supporting ISR operations. He then served as a flight test engineer for the AC-130W and the AC-130J at USSOCOM Detachment 1, Eglin AFB, Fla. More recently, Maj Rathje served as a Program Manager at Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB), Mass, where he was responsible for Joint Service and Agency programs, including the next generation tactical cloud, custom cyber security solutions, and advanced autonomous systems. 

Prior to his current assignment, Maj Rathje completed his PhD in Strategy and Policy and Stanford University. His research interests lie at the intersection of corporate strategy, innovation, and defense. Specifically, his focus is on the effect of government funding on private firm performance, seeking to answer the question, “Should technology companies work with the government?” His current line of research investigates the impact of defense R&D spending on entrepreneurship in dual-use technology industries. 

Most recently, Maj Rathje was an initial cadre member in the Acquisition Instructor’s Course (AQIC), the acquisition community’s equivalent of USAF Weapons School. During this time, Maj Rathje was responsible for the development and implementation of the first Acquisition Instructor’s course, with the mission of bridging the operational-acquisition gap by bringing tactical acquisition instructorship to the DAF’s acquisition and operational communities.


Private capital firms have been leery of investing in companies that focus on federal government work, due in part to conventional funding timelines and concerns about translating military technology to the commercial market. But that trend is shifting. In the past 5 years, companies tagged “gov tech” on Crunchbase raised nearly $2B in investment, indicating major growth — and major opportunities — in the government market.

Join AFVentures, the commercial investment arm of the Air Force, to learn how they are helping drive this shift by transforming the Air Force and Space Force into a premier early-stage “investor." By speeding timelines and offering non-dilutive funding to match private capital, AFWERX is attracting more companies as partners and accelerating commercialization of technologies that support national security.


Attendees (99)

BR
Bill Robinson
Frontier Technology Inc., Vice President
Jade Baranski
Jade Baranski
Mobilize VISION, CEO
Judy Ayala
Judy Ayala
Nueducation Inc - lT Services, CEO
Bruce Altmann
Bruce Altmann
SonarFastAi, ceo
Mike Grubbs
Mike Grubbs
BTRY, Co-Founder & CEO
Derek Denton
Derek Denton
MDM Wound Ventures Inc, Co-Founder & CEO
Trent Edwards
Trent Edwards
MGMWERX, Director
Cullen Jones (He/Him)
Cullen Jones (He/Him)
Microsoft, Sr Startup Lead: National Security Group
SA
Steve Amos
HealthCode, CEO/Founder
Sergio Gallucci
Sergio Gallucci
SCOUT Inc., CTO
TK
Todd Kirby
Fluor, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Jerry Ramey
Jerry Ramey
Mobilize VISION, CTO
Karen (KK) Krause-Bencal
Karen (KK) Krause-Bencal
Activate, VP, Defense Innovation
Liya Smolina
Liya Smolina
AWS, Air Force Account Manager
Matthew Schuler
Matthew Schuler
Saint Industries Inc, Chief Strategy Officer - PCADS HALO
ME
Michael Ertmer
@AUSAPittsburgh & Army AI2C
Peter Neumann
Peter Neumann
Riverside Research, Mission Engineer
Mark Hair
Mark Hair
CEREBRAS SYSTEMS, FEDERAL LEADER
Christopher Pavel
Christopher Pavel
Western Air Defense Sector, BCC Spark Cell, Senior Enlisted Leader
RG
Randy Groves
Exabyte.io, Business Development Public Sector
Michael Williams
Michael Williams
Boeing, Principal Advanced Technologist
Zachary and Levy
Zachary and Levy
Cognovi Labs, Managing Director
Nelson Salas
Nelson Salas
Grug Group / JetX, Founder
Karen Fray, PMP
Karen Fray, PMP
National Security Innovation Network, National Service Portfolio Director
Private attendees are hidden.