America's Frontier Fund is a new non-profit developed to enable a whole-of-nation approach to support critical technology to ensure U.S. competitiveness.
ARLINGTON, Va., June 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, America's Frontier Fund (AFF) announced its launch as the nation's first non-profit strategic investment fund focused on building and scaling breakthrough deep-tech companies and platforms for the national interest.
As the 2021 National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence warned, the United States is in a great-power race for global technology leadership in which authoritarian nations are committed to out-spending and out-innovating the U.S. to gain military and economic superiority. AFF's mission is to ensure that the U.S. and its allies lead in the "winner-take-all" technologies vital to maintaining democratic values and building a better future for the next generation.
"This is America's technology moment. To seize it, we need all Americans to get involved: government, technologists, philanthropists, Wall Street, venture capital—everyone," said Gilman Louie, CEO and co-founder of America's Frontier Fund. "The risks to our economy, national security, and democratic way of life are too great to have anyone sit on the sidelines. We must act now by investing with a long-term strategic focus on the deep technologies that will shape the future."
As a non-profit investment fund, AFF aims to commercialize and scale deep-tech companies that have the potential to generate strong financial returns, broad-based prosperity for the American people, and strategic advantage for the United States and its allies. This innovative structure enables AFF to raise and deploy long-term private capital, as well as work with government and other non-profit investors to mature deep technologies, and then reinvest its returns into new technologies for the national interest. The Fund's initial areas of focus will include microelectronics, artificial intelligence, new materials, quantum sciences, next generation networks (5G/6G), advanced manufacturing, and synthetic biology.
The Fund was founded by Chief Executive Officer Gilman Louie (former Commissioner appointed to the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence), President and Chief Operating Officer Jordan Blashek (formerly of Schmidt Futures), and Partner and Chief Science Officer Dr. Edlyn V. Levine (formerly of MITRE Corporation). The founders have brought together a team of investors, scientists, operators, and national security experts to execute its mission. AFF's Board of Directors includes Samuel J. Palmisano, Jennifer Pahlka, Hon. Ash Carter, Nick Beim, Eric Braverman, Leslie A. Brun, Hon. Mignon Clyburn, Hon. Michèle Flournoy, John Hurley, Joanne Isham, Suzanne Nora Johnson, Richard Kang, LTG H.R. McMaster (ret.), Dr. J. Michael McQuade, and Amb. Cliff Sobel.
"Like many on the AFF team and board, I served my country in uniform, and I know what's at stake for our children and grandchildren in the new great-power technology competition," said Jordan Blashek, President and co-founder of America's Frontier Fund. "Nations like China are investing trillions in a top-down attempt to surpass the United States. If they take the lead in technologies like AI, quantum computing, or advanced energy, it will threaten not only our future global competitiveness, but also the security and collective prosperity of democracies worldwide."
A key feature of AFF's approach is to leverage deep scientific insight to inform its investment strategy. AFF's team has developed a methodology called Frontiercast™, which integrates science and investment expertise in a continuous process to systematically identify transformative technology opportunities aligned with national strategic interests. The approach leverages backcasting and multi-dimensional analyses to examine promising technologies from scientific, market demand, geopolitics, and economic perspectives. Using Frontiercast™, AFF can determine what technology breakthroughs are possible, whether new technologies are both strategically valuable and economically attractive, and where to allocate capital to drive financial success and U.S. economic competitiveness.
"To accelerate our technology leadership, we must unleash the power and innovative capacity of the full U.S. economy," said Dr. Edlyn Levine, Chief Science Officer and co-founder of America's Frontier Fund. "That's why AFF is pioneering a new model to integrate scientific and financial expertise to invest in paradigm-shifting technologies that will catalyze future markets."
Core to AFF's mission is forging deep-tech ecosystems nationwide, while also working with international allies and partners to build resilient supply chains and develop advanced technologies. On 24 May 2022, AFF announced that it will lead the Quad Investor Network (QIN), a new initiative welcomed by the White House that aims to bring together the leading technology investors from India, Japan, Australia, and the United States to identify opportunities to strengthen technology cooperation within and across the Quad nations.
Support from AFF's Board of Directors:
"Innovation does not happen overnight—it takes long-term commitment, resources, and talent," said AFF board chair and former IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano. "At IBM, we had a multi-billion-dollar research budget that invested in long-term technologies. Our nation needs to take a similar approach in the competition for technology leadership. America's Frontier Fund is leading the way to make investments in deep technologies now that the United States will need to achieve game-changing breakthroughs and secure its leadership for the coming decades."
"The days of unrivaled U.S. technological superiority are over," said AFF board member and WestExec Advisors co-founder Michèle Flournoy. "We need a new model to invest in technology and compete with peer nations like China. America's Frontier Fund understands the urgency and complexity of this mission. Leaders in Washington and Silicon Valley alike should look to AFF to invest strategically in the technologies the U.S. and our allies need to maintain our leadership around the world."
"Competitive advantage in emerging technology is essential to prevailing in the most important geopolitical competition of this century," said AFF board member and former National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster (ret.). "The United States and the free world must generate ideas, develop talent, and mobilize capital to seize on opportunities to deter conflict, promote prosperity, and advance freedom and human rights. America's Frontier Fund will help harness the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in service of building a better future for generations to come."
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