The Red Queen Problem: Technology Start-ups and National Security

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RUSI's Modern Deterrence project is pleased to host an executive briefing by Alex van Someren, Managing Director of Amadeus Capital Partners.

Technology start-ups have traditionally not been considered part of national defence – because technology within national defence has been provided by the government itself, or its major contractors. Conversely, tech start-ups often don’t have a strong interest in working with ministries of defence. Indeed, in many cases start-ups and mature tech companies actively stay away from defence contracts. Given the vital role of cutting-edge technology in national security, the current situation – sometimes referred to as the Red Queen Problem -- is causing increasing concern, with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford trying to convince American technology companies to work more closely with the military.

In this executive briefing, Amadeus Capital Partners Managing Director Alex van Someren will discuss the Red Queen Problem and how to solve it.

Speaker Biography

Alex van Someren is Managing Partner of Amadeus Capital Partners and serves on the boards of several Amadeus portfolio companies. He has a current investment focus on UK deep technology including artificial intelligence & machine learning, cloud computing/enterprise SaaS, cyber security, digital healthcare, medical technology and optical & quantum technologies.

Alex is also a co-founder of CyLon (, which finds, grows and invests in the world’s best emerging cyber businesses. During 2019, he will hold the Clore Visiting Innovation Professorship of the Royal College of Art, and will be a member of the Royal Society’s Science, Industry and Translation Committee.

Alex left school to join Acorn Computers in the 1980s, where he was involved in the development of the BBC Microcomputer & Acorn Electron. He subsequently co-founded ANT Ltd in 1990 to produce networking products, including web browser software licensed to the Oracle Corporation. ANT plc was listed on the London AIM market (AIM:ANTP) in 2005 and later acquired by Espial.

In 1996 he co-founded nCipher with venture capital backing to develop internet security products using advanced cryptography. The company 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 (LSE:NCH) at a £350 million valuation. nCipher plc was sold to Thales SA in 2008 and is now Thales e-Security.

Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Tea, coffee and pastries will be available from 0815.
To attend this event, please e-mail Allana Howard, Events Manager:

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