Amplifier Venture Partners creates Tandem NSI — a National Security Commercialization Program

Amplifier Ventures and Arlington Economic Development, a Department of the Arlington County Government, announce the launch of Tandem NSI, a public/private partnership funded by a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia by way of the Virginia Federal Action Trust Fund (FACT). The FACT Fund invests in initiatives that allow the Commonwealth to modernize and grow its economy in light of changes in federal budgets and priorities.

Tandem NSI will foster a vibrant technology ecosystem that combines entrepreneurs, university researchers and students, government program managers and the supporting business community. It will operate programs and initiatives to create awareness of the requirements that government agencies have and provide exposure to security products and approaches created by non-traditional sources and the entrepreneurs who launch and grow those companies. Additionally, Tandem NSI will highlight opportunities for entrepreneurs to obtain national security technologies for company formation and licensing and with community partners such as FounderCorps to provide a mentorship program to help accelerate emerging businesses that wish to do business with national security agencies.

Tandem NSI follows the highly successful Ballston Innovation Initiative that operated in Arlington in the spring of 2013, which was created and managed by Amplifier Ventures in partnership with Arlington Economic Development (AED) and with the support of a broad range of community members, including George Mason University, Virginia Tech, Marymount University and leading service providers and community organizations. This FACT Fund grant to support this public/private partnership validates the value of connections between entrepreneurs in the region who fuel the economy and national security agencies.

Tandem NSI will be led by Jonathan Aberman, a leader of the Washington, DC regional entrepreneurial community, and Jennifer Ives, Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships with AED. Mr. Aberman is the founder and Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, a venture capital organization that focuses on national security technology commercialization and has operated successfully in the Washington, DC region since 2005. He was recognized recently by the Washington Business Journal as one of the most powerful business leaders in Washington, DC and has founded and led many influential community efforts targeted at entrepreneurship and startup development including FounderCorps, Startup DC/MD/VA and the Ballston Innovation Initiative. He has authored a number of influential white papers on the relationship between national security and regional startup development, including a recent study of commercialization opportunities out of Department of Defense Labs and a survey of M&A patterns in the Washington, DC region and Silicon Valley.

Ms. Ives, who will grow Tandem NSI’s partnerships and community engagement, is a well-known market innovator with extensive relationships with members of the region’s entrepreneur and business community, including the numerous Federal and private sector labs and university research organizations located in Arlington. During her tenure with AED, she has helped grow thousands of companies. She also oversaw the growth of AED’s BizLaunch small business and entrepreneur mentorship program, one of the most successful assistance programs in the country, which serves more than 4,000 startups and small businesses annually. She guided the launch and success of StartupVA and participates on numerous regional and national boards and organizations to more effectively grow the economy, increase talent acquisition for fast growth companies, and create greater opportunities for the private sector to do business with the federal government. Ms. Ives is a nationally recognized and sought-after expert for creating strategies to grow vibrant economic-ecosystems and jobs in the new economy.

Tandem NSI launches with significant support from regional business leaders, with extensive contacts and expertise in national security innovation.

“The Greater Washington region is the most dynamic and important technology region in the United States,” noted Mike Daniels, member of the Board of Advisors of Tandem NSI. “We have the resources in this region to lead technology creation and foster new industries that will provide opportunities for technology business formation and wealth creation. Connecting DARPA, DOD and other national security agencies to entrepreneurs is a key to our future.”

“The dynamic relationship between our national security agencies, particularly the Department of Defense, and entrepreneurship is one of our nation’s most important resources, and also one of the least appreciated,” stated Aberman. “For the United States to continue to be the technological leader of the world, and to create the business growth we need to progress as a nation, we must highlight and reinforce this relationship.”

“The importance of this initiative can’t be overstated,” noted Ives. “The confluence in the Greater Washington region, and Arlington specifically, of a strong and diverse entrepreneur community, established businesses, university resources and many of the federal agencies that accelerate technological development will be the home of many innovative new businesses over the next few years.”

The components and programming for Tandem NSI will be rolled out in January 2014. Areas of activity will center on three main concentrations.

  • Creating connections. Bringing the community together for information sharing, education, business development and awareness.
  • Identifying opportunities. Highlighting opportunities to start new technology startups or expand emerging businesses with national security agencies.
  • Accelerate Businesses. Provide mentorship and support from experienced entrepreneurs who have “done it before” and help accelerate national security related businesses.