The two-year defense and launch of national security software Rebellion Defense is estimated at $ 1.15 billion and most recently raised more than $ 150 million in the Series B funding cycle.
It was introduced by some members of the so-called “SWAT team of nerds” who were previously pushing for digital transformation within the U.S. and UK governments. Now, they are developing commercial technology skills for those and their users to use as they work to stay ahead of the ever-changing competitive environment.
“We help our customers unlock the power of their data and we do it in all domains, right – earth, sea, air, space, cyberpace,” Rebellion chief executive and Co-Founder Founder Chris Lynch told Nextgov in an interview on Thursday. “And we put artificial intelligence and machine learning at the heart of everything we do.”
Among other things, Lynch founded and directed the Digital Digital Service under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, where he worked to bring a wide range of technologies such as Silicon Valley, methods and talent to the Pentagon and address cultural gaps.
He is a businessman who has used what he refers to as “the most exciting, unexpected, and often, very difficult” government in the coalition government from 2015 to 2019. position, and as the founding founder of Defense Digital Service, led a team of engineers and other professionals who advised DOD’s leadership on the most important technological topics, such as next-generation GPS and combat aircraft. Notable programs such as Hack the Pentagon and the multi-million dollar Joint Enterprise Defense infrastructure, or JEDI, were established under his leadership. The latter was canceled in April after years of litigation and delays.
As a political scientist, Lynch said he “saw that the nerds, the people with the extraordinary ability to touch the work,” rarely knew that they could make a difference— “or be given a chance.” After resigning from DDS, she and two people who have worked closely together for the past several years, Nicole Camarillo and Oliver Lewis, have teamed up for the Rebellion Defense partnership. Prior to that point, Camarillo worked as a senior strategist for the U.S. Army Cyber Command and Lewis was the deputy director of the U.K. Government Digital Service.
“The transformation that is taking place now, from the defense industry to the software age – a world in which the rise of the military will be accurately defined by software and technology – will take on a different profile of people collaborating,” Lynch said. “And I see that as one of the jobs I have been doing [at DDS], but also for myself and the designers I work with, the work we do here, and the different people we are trying to bring into the Defense Forces. ”
About 160 are currently employed by the company, and there are growth plans. Former US Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nick Sinai is expected to join the first board, where he will work alongside former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and others.
Lynch said he and his team at Rebellion took time each week to discuss “these things we call our unchanging truths,” which explains “the characteristics of why the company exists.” It is a simple statement, he noted, such as the introduction of software that produces software-as-a-service provision to support national security and security efforts and that AI and machine learning are essential to its efforts.
“Rebellion was built on the idea that we had to create something different, new,” Lynch explained. “And we do that in three major areas for our customers.”
Those key areas of focus include full battlespace awareness, automation and cyber readiness.
No single set of governing codes of conduct governs these digital solutions for the future. Forbes recently reported that Rebellion Defense is working on a contract linked to Project Maven, a controversial program that uses Google image recognition to help improve the military’s ability to view and direct drones. Lynch said the company does not comment in detail around who the customers are, or the usage charges and requests they submit. When questioned, he described the three main points mentioned above.
However, the CEO has confirmed that he and the startup staff meet monthly to consider the types of projects they may refuse to undertake.
“I think that’s probably one of my favorite things about the Rebellion, and in many ways it’s also something we’ve done for the Defense Digital Service, they say, you know,” What are we going to work for? What is important? ’” He said.
Staff attend meetings to discuss these topics. Lynch noted that in companies entering into a security contract, such an approach may be helpful because it allows for open communication between employees to share their thoughts, concerns, and happiness.
“I think it means a lot to the team here,” he said. “It has created an environment where we will be able to replicate how we will have the greatest impact on our customers, and where they will see us invest in our resources.”
Often, ideas related to the industrial area of defense in the construction of aircraft, tanks and equipment and combat services, in Lynch’s view. But the future battlefield will rely on a number of cyber-focused weapons and defense systems. As technology advances, the United States also emerges from the armed conflict in the War on Terror and exposes the “great power struggle” with China, Russia, and others.
“There is a text I hear that is very focused – and a change. I used to feel ‘close to my competitor.’ Now, I hear ‘peer competitors.’ And I’m worried about that, ”Lynch said. “I think the only way we can change the course of the future here, is because the United States, the UK and our allies and partners are bringing in the greatest engineering talent, the people who create products in this space. And the way we do that is that we will build software companies that are focused on this area. ”
He noted that he and the founders of the Rebellion did not understand the expectations set by technology companies to be “dual use,” or to provide services for both military and non-military needs. Employees see an opportunity to change this by building startup software that targets investors, deliberately.
“Why don’t the national firms be the most responsible to invest in this? You see, I think it’s factory chicken feed, ”said Lynch. “To say they are interested in national security, but not to invest in it, I do not think it is right. I think that’s part of the problem. ”
Venture’s large firms had previously invested in double-use companies – but could not be started with a single military focus – supporting the Rebellion Defense in its funding so far, Lynch said.
“I think it’s because we are in a different place at a time, and we are facing a different threat,” he said. “And when it comes to the power struggle, when we talk about totalitarian regimes, I think we need to rethink how we build, how we close the gap between government and corporations, and how we do this work. ”