Vannevar: Decrypting Defense

DFJ Growth
DFJ Growth News
Published in
3 min readJan 18, 2023

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By: Jocelyn Kinsey, Randy Glein, Chris Shanahan, Kevin Tu

We are thrilled to announce our investment in Vannevar’s $75 million Series B as part of our expanding thesis and growing portfolio in the defense technology sector. Vannevar has quickly emerged as an invaluable partner to the national security community, providing unique data, insights and real-time intelligence that surfaces the growing landscape of emerging threats.

Our American defense paradigm is shifting from the war on terrorism to preparing for conflicts with sophisticated adversaries. The last two decades have been defined by operations focused on fighting small groups of insurgents armed with low-tech weaponry. Our enemies of the future will be technologically advanced with defense capabilities that rival ours in both a traditional and non-traditional sense. They will have well-equipped forces across land, sea, and air fronts, and they will develop non-kinetic capabilities that extend their presence through cyberwarfare, disinformation, and counterintelligence. We are currently in a chess match focused on deterrence, where there is an urgent need for new sources of innovation and digital technologies to strengthen our intelligence, defense posture, and national security capabilities to ensure continued American leadership.

At DFJ Growth, we have been seeking opportunities that leverage new sources of data with advances in AI and machine learning to modernize our nation’s defense infrastructure and address critical national security problems.

The range of threats is evolving rapidly and coming from an increasingly wide array of sophisticated actors. This is resulting in a big data challenge — something we call the Big Data Arms Race — that requires new technology-enabled approaches that turn raw, seemingly independent data sources into rich, interconnected information and actionable insights.

We found Vannevar at the epicenter of this movement, aggregating previously inaccessible and incoherent data and applying a real-time intelligence layer to fill our national security knowledge gap.

The strength of Vannevar’s capabilities result from its differentiated data and its use of advanced machine learning and natural language processing to translate and surface unique and high-leverage mission insights.

Unlike the clunky, outdated software systems built by entrenched legacy defense contractors, Vannevar’s products are designed for modern use cases with intuitive, collaborative interfaces.

Vannevar has rapidly become a trusted partner for an array of government customers. Its products are delivering significant mission wins, which is fueling broad-based enthusiasm and growing demand from users who rely on the product for daily intelligence and mission planning. And this is just the beginning — as the company is quickly iterating to release new products that multiply its expanding information advantage with each successive iteration.

Vannevar Founders Nini Moorhead and Brett Granberg

Vannevar’s success is a testament to the relevant experience and expertise of its founders, Brett Granberg and Nini Moorhead. They are exceptional leaders with complementary backgrounds and a deep understanding of defense technology commercialization and adoption. Brett was previously with In-Q-Tel, where he worked with the CIA, NSA, and DoD on implementing computer vision and NLP technology, while Nini is a former US intelligence officer and chief of staff to the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. These experiences position Brett and Nini as credible partners for their government customers through firsthand knowledge of the challenges they face.

We’re proud to partner with Brett, Nini, and the Vannevar team. They are the new generation of defense decrypters, delivering innovative technologies and mission-critical information that helps secure and protect our nation.

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