The Value of Partnering in Defense Innovation 🤝

Welcome 🇪🇺

Welcome to the 9th issue of the European Resilience Newsletter and thank you to those who already subscribed! Uwe and I (more about us at the end) started this newsletter to accelerate the building of the European DefenceTech ecosystem and fill a critical gap in European Resilience. We will keep the content bite-sized, frequent and free. We also openly invite guest content creators to contribute (see below for details on how to join). Our goal is to build an ecosystem of founders, operators, investors, and industry experts who are dedicated to enhancing European resilience through technology.

This issue we welcome our guest author Sven Weizenegger. Sven is the Head of Cyber Innovation for the German Armed Forces. The Bundeswehr Cyber Innovation Hub operates at the intersection of the military and the start-up scene. Its objective is to foster innovation in the Bundeswehr. Sven Weizenegger was the first official hacker at Telekom and established the company's cybersecurity business unit. After leaving Telekom, he held the position of Senior Vice President – Security (CISO) at Kreditech Holding SSL GmbH, then Germany's largest fintech company, for two years.

The Value of Partnering in Defense Innovation 🤝

Strengthening Security Through Collaboration

In an era marked by dynamic threats and evolving challenges, the significance of collaboration in defense innovation cannot be overstated. Three key areas underscore the importance of partnering to enhance our defense apparatus: software-defined defense, a diverse innovation ecosystem, and the integration of military and civilian expertise in settings where they can thrive and generate results quickly.

Firstly, the paradigm shift towards software-defined defense is reshaping the landscape of national security. Expensive pieces of equipment, ranging from tanks to ships to artillery to reconnaissance devices, need to come with built-in API to flexibly enhance their capabilities. While seen critically by some, particularly those involved in providing high-cost single-application solutions, even a passing glance to Ukraine and other current areas of crisis proved the value of modularity. By fostering partnerships among defense agencies, technology companies, and the soldiers operating equipment on a daily basis, we can harness collective intelligence to develop resilient and agile defense systems that stay ahead of sophisticated adversaries.

Secondly, a thriving innovation ecosystem comprising established companies, startups, and investors is essential. Established defense contractors bring experience and infrastructure, startups inject fresh perspectives and nimble solutions, while investors provide the necessary financial support along with added value through their networks and partnerships. Encouraging collaboration within this diverse ecosystem can lead to groundbreaking advancements, ensuring a comprehensive and adaptive defense posture.

Lastly, the synergy between soldiers and civilians in best practice innovation settings is paramount. Integrating the insights and expertise of military personnel with the creativity and problem-solving skills of civilians accelerates the development of practical and effective solutions. Innovation hubs, hackathons, makeathons and other proven vehicles serve as catalysts for this collaboration, fostering an environment where ideas flow seamlessly, ultimately yielding technologies that meet the real-world needs of defense forces.

Here at the Innovation Hub of the German Armed Forces, the proof is in the pudding. We have completed and are working on many projects with this singular goal. One example is resetting the clock on ageing navy vessels by developing a system providing state-of-the-art situational awareness based on data fusion. This was done in daily direct collaboration with an active captain of one of those vessels (we call them “intrapreneurs”), vastly expanding the usefulness of the fleet at the cost of a mid-sized family car. Another example is developing and introducing a simple yet highly effective maintenance assembly tracking system, which not only accelerated maintenance speed but also improved engagement and motivation of the entire team. Again, this project wasn’t a simple exchange of money for services. As an added benefit of the partnership approach, two innovative companies met while on the project and have since started an ongoing collaboration.

In conclusion, the path to a robust defense posture lies in embracing collaboration across software-defined defense, a diverse innovation ecosystem, and joint efforts between soldiers and civilians. By fostering these partnerships, nations can build a resilient defense infrastructure capable of addressing the complexities of modern defense challenges. As we navigate an ever-evolving landscape accelerated by technological creativity, collective innovation becomes not just a strategic advantage but a fundamental necessity for safeguarding our nations and ensuring global stability.

SecurityTech Event Switzerland 🇨🇭

In an effort to bring together startups and small enterprises catering to the public sector in Switzerland, a launch event with the name ‘K-Works’ event will be held in Zurich, Switzerland on February 29. The event aims to bring together startups and small enterprises working in the security domain. With the goal of understanding the needs of the community, to identify opportunities and take action to create an agile eco-system, the event will feature select lighting-talks followed by a networking ‘apéritif’.

The hosts of the event are a diverse group of entrepreneurs and leaders from technology, military, defense procurement, venture capital, and academia, seeking to improve the interplay of these sectors.

For questions contact Rico Chandra on or Twitter/X @unkenruf

News That Caught Our Attention 👀

  • Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt is working on a secret drone project, and is now to be based in Estonia - InvestEstonia link.

  • Petagon spending and VC investment potentially at odds - WSJ link.

  • German drone maker Quantum Systems helps Ukranian forces own the night - DefenseNews link.

Every week we feature a list interesting roles in European DefenceTech start-ups and scale-ups for readers seeking their next challenge in their careers.

If you are a founder and would like to promote your open roles, please get in touch with us!

Passionate and want to contribute? 👩🏻‍💻

The European Resilience Tech Newsletter is always looking for regular and guest authors, writers, reporters, content creators etc. If you like what you read, you are passionate about improving European resilience regardless of your background and want to contribute, just reach out to us!

European Resilience Tech Newsletter Team

Uwe Horstmann co-founded Project A Ventures in 2012 as General Partner and has built Project A to be a leading European early stage investor with over $1bn USD under management and having backed 100+ founders. In addition to Project A, Uwe serves as Reserve Officer in the German armed forces and advises the German Ministry of Defence in digital transformation issues.

Jack Wang is a software engineer turned product driven tech investor and joined Project A in 2021 to lead the firm’s deep tech investing, which have grown to include DefenceTech. Prior to joining Project A, Jack worked in a variety of organisations such as Amazon and Macquarie Group across Australia, US and UK / Europe. Jack holds a MBA from London Business School and Bachelors of Engineering (Bioinformatics, 1st) from UNSW, Australia.

Project A Ventures is one of the leading early-stage tech investors in Europe with offices in Berlin and London. In addition to 1 billion USD assets under management, Project A supports its 100+ portfolio companies with a platform team over 140 functional experts in key areas such as software and product development, business intelligence, brand, design, marketing, sales and recruiting. Project A have backed founders of Trade Republic, WorldRemit, Sennder, KRY, Spryker, Catawiki, Unmind and Voi as well as founders building in European Resilience: