Many of the innovative young companies at the Summit have roots in the intelligence world. We'll close with some observations the DataTribe portfolio companies offered in a session on "Transitioning 'Practice' to 'Product'." In some respects that transition is similar to the one any company must make when it emerges from a research organization into the market. All the companies on stage, ReFirm Labs, ENVEIL, Prevailion, and Attila Security, agreed that startups coming from that world sometimes have difficulty recognizing the importance of delivering a solution that scales. Most of them (with ENVEIL dissenting) thought that entrepreneurs with a background in the Intelligence Community can fail to realize that there are limits on available funds.
People who come from the Intelligence Community, the panel agreed, tend to bring with them a strong sense of mission. They need to shift their understanding of return-on-investment. In the IC, ROI tends to be understood in terms of mission capability. In business, ROI is of course understood in terms of profit. That's a shift the panelists thought IC veterans were able to make without undo difficulty.