Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at the Department of Defense, said she approved a new program that “will convene trusted sources of private capital with innovative companies critical to defense industrial base and national security.”
Lord, a 2019 Wash100 winner, said Friday in a press briefing the Trusted Capital Marketplace is a public-private partnership that seeks to launch a pilot program that will help small- and medium-sized firms produce “emerging defense and commercial technologies.”
“The first step is to set up a website infrastructure to bring providers of trusted capital together with businesses looking for capital infusions,” she noted. “I’m constrained legally from introducing one company to one venture capitalist, for instance. However, what we can do is segment the marketplace and then put in companies that need capital infusions that we think have critical technology for us.”
She said the Pentagon issued two weeks ago a request for proposals through an other transaction authority to look for a website provider and has identified at least 50 companies that could participate in the pilot program, which is expected to be launched in July.
Lord also mentioned the program’s potential benefits to small firms.
“So a lot of these companies are small, innovative companies that, frankly, don’t either have the resources or the sophistication in terms of the contacts to reach sources of capital,” she said. “And what we’re trying to do is enable that so that they don’t have to, frankly, go through a lot of time and expense with legal firms to try to ferret out who is out there.”