Tech Startups and National Security: Concrete Steps for Better Collaboration

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RUSI’s Modern Deterrence project has extensively focused on the divide between the tech community and the national security community.

With the West’s strategic competitors now catching up and sometimes surpassing Western technological capabilities, the innovation gap is now an urgent issue. At this event, Alex Fox (Managing Partner, UK National Security Strategic Investment Fund); Alex van Someren (General Partner, Amadeus Capital), Merle Maigre (Senior Cyber Security Expert, e-Governance Academy) and Arnav Joshi (Senior Associate, Clifford Chance) will discuss which concrete steps – such as better government venture-capital funding -- can be taken to improve collaboration.


Alex Fox is a senior UK civil servant and Managing Partner of the UK’s National Security Strategic Investment Fund. NSSIF is a partnership between the UK government and the British Business Bank to develop advanced technology sectors in the UK and enable the national security community to access them.  Alex previously served in the Middle East and North Africa. He is particularly interested in how organisations transform technologies into valuable products and services, afford their technology futures and provide public goods.

Alex van Someren is General Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners and serves on the boards of several Amadeus portfolio companies. Alex is also a co-founder of CyLon (, which finds, grows and invests in the world’s best emerging cyber businesses. During 2019, he was Clore Visiting Innovation Professor of the Royal College of Art and a member of the Royal Society’s Science, Industry and Translation Committee.

Alex co-founded ANT Ltd in 1990. In 1996 he co-founded nCipher, which became a world leader in IT security, counting major banks, finance companies and governments among its customers. As nCipher’s CEO he raised a total of £14 million in venture capital funding before leading the company to an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2000. nCipher plc was sold to Thales SA in 2008 and is now Thales e-Security.

Merle Maigre is the Senior Cyber Security Expert at Estonia’s e-Governance Academy. Previously she was Executive Vice President for Government Relations at CybExer Technologies, an Estonian firm that provides cyber training. 2017- 2018 Merle Maigre served as the Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn. Prior to that, she served as Security Policy Adviser to Estonian Presidents Kersti Kaljulaid and Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Merle has also served in the Policy Planning Unit of the Private Office of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and is a member of the Executive Board of the Cyber Peace Institute in Geneva and at the International Advisory Board of NATO CCDCOE.

Arnav Joshi is a Senior Associate at Clifford Chance, specialising in strategic and programmatic legal advice on data privacy and protection, cybersecurity, digital ethics and artificial intelligence. He previously worked at PWC, focusing on data protection, privacy, data ethics and AI, and advises large multinational technology companies including Fortune 500 companies and unicorns. Arnav leads Clifford Chance’s working group on Digital Ethics and is a member of the IEEE’s working group on Standards for Ethically Driven Robotics and Automation Systems as well as TechUK’s working group on digital ethics. 

The event is chaired by RUSI Senior Fellow Elisabeth Braw.

Please note that this event is invitation-only.

Supported by

  • Clifford Chance

    Clifford Chance are supporters of RUSI's Modern Deterrence programme,

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