3rd Party Innovation Essentials & the ROI of Defense Investing Coming to SXSW from the Army’s Innovation Laboratory

Army Applications Laboratory
3 min readMar 1, 2023

In an unofficial event on Friday, March 10, female investors and CEOs will discuss the relevance of efforts to fix obstacles facing female entrepreneurs.

The Army Applications Laboratory (AAL) announces South by Southwest (SXSW) programming, designed to engage startups, venture capitalists, and corporate leaders in discussions about the challenges of defense innovation, funding, and new ways the military and commercial industries can work together. Featured SXSW topics include:

Third-Party Innovation: Startups, Corporates & DoD
Sunday, March 12, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Courtyard Marriott
(SXSW official panel)
The appetite for innovation among large public and private organizations is greater now than ever. Large organizations are finding it necessary to leverage start-up innovations to capitalize on new technologies more effectively. They’ll explore the evolving strategies large organizations are undertaking to leverage third-party innovation for institutional advantage, including venture client models and partnered co-development, as well as tradeoffs between traditional CVC and M&A activities.

Moderated by Julia McAdams, director of Solution Innovation AAL/AFC, experts include Ryan Tseng, CEO/co-Founder, Shield AI; Chip Walter, managing director, Marlinspike (ex: Northrop director of Ventures, ex: director at In-Q-Tel); and Teresa Segura, Boeing Applied Innovation, Emerging Capability Investments.

2023: Is the ROI for Defense Investing Changing?
Sunday, March 12, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Courtyard Marriott
(SXSW official panel)
Early stage venture investing in the national security market has been a niche activity until recent years, but private investment in the defense sector is now gaining momentum. With the threat of a looming recession and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, will the ROI change for national security investing? With an eye on the future, they will explore how and when investments in dual-use technologies for the national security sector make sense — and when they don’t.

Moderated by Andy Yakulis, director of Corporate Ventures AAL/AFC, expert speakers include Joe Musselman, co-founder and managing partner, Broom Ventures; Edlyn Levine, co-founder and chief science officer, America’s Frontier Fund; and Thomas Hendrix, partner, Decisive Point.

“SXSW offers the Army Applications Laboratory an opportunity to show the broader tech community what we do all year long — bring together the most creative minds to discuss new ways industry, academia, and the military can work together to advance bleeding-edge technologies and other aspects of modernization,” said COL Jay Wisham, director of AAL. “We are proud to lead these critical conversations and offer these experts an opportunity to engage with the defense innovation ecosystem.”

In addition to its official SXSW programming, AAL will host an all-female group of entrepreneurs who will explore the opportunities and obstacles female entrepreneurs face.

Funders and Founders: The State of Women in Entrepreneurship
Friday, March 10, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Austin Community College, Rio Grande Campus Atrium
(SXSW badge not needed)
In 2022, U.S. women founders received a paltry 2% of capital investments according to PitchBook data. Funding for women entrepreneurs has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, and is anticipated to shrink further due to current economic conditions. While there is growing energy behind defense tech investments, they’ll discuss whether any of it is reaching female innovators — and how to make sure it does.

Moderated by Meg Vrabel, COO, Capital Factory, expert speakers include funders and founders in the defense innovation space: Katie Bigelow, CEO and founder, Mettle Ops; Christy Cardenas, managing partner, Grit Ventures; Carol Ann Logue, director, Central Florida Tech Grove/Business Incubation; and Devaki Raj, CEO and founder, CrowdAI.

To learn more about other AAL activity during SXSW, please visit: house.aal.army

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Army Applications Laboratory

We’re not a laboratory in the traditional sense of the word. The Army Applications Laboratory (AAL) is the U.S. Army’s innovation unit. Learn more at aal.army.