MIT Professor Predicts Major Shift As Startups Seen as Essential to National Security
ASPEN—At the Technology Policy Institute’s annual Aspen Forum, the premier tech policy conference in the U.S., Fiona Murray, Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion and William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Management, delivered a keynote address on startups in an era of great power competition.
Murray’s compelling remarks focused on an underreported and underappreciated dynamic in the world of startups and venture capital: as countries increasingly view startups as essential and integral to national security and competitiveness, they are more likely to restrict the behavior of startups and venture funds, especially when it comes to collaborating with and raising capital from foreign adversaries.
Here are some key quotes from the speech:
“whether it be the UK, the U.S., Israel, Singapore, many of the European countries who see science and technology as essential elements to national competitiveness, and increasingly see that national competitiveness as a grounded, also in issues of national security. … this is very much seen as science and technology as the opportunity to exercise power and to exercise advantage.”
“an increasing amount of science and technology is actually being commercialized through venture founders and venture funders, and not going into the hands of large organizations who have much better established relationships with the government and frameworks for thinking about national boundaries.”
“And so I think the question we have to ask is: what’s at stake? Should we be concerned about foreign nationals in our startups? … if you think about deep tech ventures, the path to market often requires billions of dollars because they’re doing something literally hard, deep. So there’s deep risk, deep pockets are required, right? And the technology is extremely complex. And so the question becomes, where do we find that capital and how do we ensure that that capital is appropriate given our national interests?”
You can read a full transcript of the remarks here and see the full video here. In addition, see below a live illustration created during the speech by Karina Branson, a graphic recorder and proprietor of ConverSketch. Her sketches of every session are part of what makes the Aspen Forum such a unique experience for attendees.
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