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Aukus Defense Investor Network Launches

Efforts to accelerate private sector investment in national security innovation challenges grew today with the announcement by BMNT Inc. of the AUKUS Defense Investor Network (DIN) dedicated to accelerating the growth of new capabilities and building new industries to help further peace, stability and prosperity around the world.

The AUKUS DIN, a collaboration with the Defense Innovation Units in the U.S. and UK, is a network of leading private capital investors from 300+ institutional venture capital firms, corporate venture capital (CVC) groups and family offices from the U.S., UK and Australia representing more than $265 billion USD.

The AUKUS DIN aims to further the AUKUS goal, highlighted in the Dec. 1 announcement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, to develop interoperable advanced military capabilities in cyber, AI, quantum, undersea capabilities, hypersonics, counter-hypersonics, EW and information sharing – areas where private sector investment can accelerate government investment in developing solutions to critical security challenges.

“Access to private capital is vital to help scale the innovative dual-use companies who are important suppliers to Defence and the wider national security community,” said John H. Ridge, chair of the AUKUS Innovation Working Group. “As the innovation lead for AUKUS Pillar 2, I am excited to see the creation of an AUKUS Defense Investors Network, which I hope will increase awareness and understanding of our shared security challenges across the venture capital community, and help our cutting-edge companies bring their creativity to bear against some of our toughest national security challenges.”

“The AUKUS DIN builds on the efforts of the existing Defense Investor Networks in the U.S., UK and Australia, helping to advance the development of dual-use technologies with clean, trusted capital,” said BMNT Entrepreneur in Residence Heather Jo Richman, founder and chair of the U.S. DIN. “Starting in 2024, we will convene online and in-person working sessions which will be announced via the AUKUS DIN LinkedIn page and during regularly scheduled DIN meetings.” 

Co-chairing the AUKUS DIN with Richman are Adrian Jones, head of ventures of BMNT Ltd. and Chair of the UK DIN; and Jamie Watson, CEO of BMNT Australia and Chair of the Australia DIN.

Said Watson: “The AUKUS DIN is working with defense and security stakeholders across the alliance to share challenges where crowding in private capital will help build strategic advantage and where relevant portfolio companies may be able to make progress against a challenge, enable networking cross-AUKUS to underpin future dealflow and deal-making.”

“We want to enable co-investment, dealflow, and to help get private capital after AUKUS challenges,” Jones said.