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As the wave of capital investment in artificial intelligence continues to grow, government contractors, including those who serve military agencies, are not being left out.
Case in point: Primer, an eight-year-old commercial and government-focused startup that lists the US Air Force, Army, and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM, the agency in charge of oversee all special forces in various military branches) and Fortune 500 companies, today announced a new round of Series D funding 69 million dollars.
The round was led by New York City-based venture capital firm Addition and the US Innovative Technology Fund (“USIT”), a Pittsburgh-based investment firm led by the former Legendary Pictures founder Thomas Tulle.
New leadership with military ties
Primer also announced a new CEO: Sean Moriarty, most recently the principal independent director of Eventbrite and a 25-year veteran of B2B and B2C technology companies including Leaf group, Ticket collector AND Metacloud, which has strong military ties. Moriarty is an ambassador for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and previously served as co-chair of the Pat Tillman Foundation.
“Primer’s AI platform and products provide the tools needed by those who support and defend our democracy, and this funding round will help us deliver more, faster,” said Moriarty. “We are committed to providing reliable and trustworthy AI solutions to achieve the most critical missions.”
Investors applauded Moriarty’s appointment.
“This new round of funding and the company’s new leadership reinforce Primer’s industry-leading position and its ability to deliver advanced AI applications for government and commercial customers,” said Addition’s Lee Fixel. “Sean’s experience building strong teams and success bringing disruptive technologies to market make him the right leader to drive Primer’s continued growth and innovation.”
Automated situational analysis for the battlefield… and the briefing room
While activists, legislators and members of the public have for years expressed lingering concerns about the growing use of autonomous systems in defense and warfare, especially regarding drone attacks – The US military has continued to march forward in its embrace of new technologies and automated systems.
Primer is among those offering such technology, albeit focused on software for gathering and analyzing information through natural language processing (NLP) transformers (similar to those that power popular consumer-facing services like OpenAI’s ChatGPT).
Primer’s founder and outgoing CEO, Sean Gourley testified at the US Chamber of Commerce last year, stating, “Even though there is a tremendous amount of discussion about the impact of AI on our society, the biggest impact AI will have over the next decade will be in the war, where advanced AI will fundamentally change the way wars are fought.The impact of artificial intelligence on warfare will be similar to that of nuclear weapons, where artificial intelligence is such a powerful technology that the country that wielding it will quickly defeat any opponent who does not.”
Real-time threat detection
The company describes its product Primer command as a “real-time threat detection” platform containing a dashboard that includes more than “60,000 news and social media sources in 100 languages”. It provides “AI-generated situation reports that generate summaries of emerging events in seconds,” although this feature is in beta, according to Primer’s filing.
The company’s PDF overview of Primer Command includes screenshots with maps of Ukraine and the “Russia-Ukraine War” as the “breaking events” topic.
In April, Primer also launched its new one Primer Delta platform, a natural language document sorting and analysis tool that can sort millions of documents in seconds. Primer Delta can “reliably mine entities, locations, and topics of interest, surface hard-to-find insights, and generate comprehensive summaries” and can be deployed on local machines or in the cloud.
A lighter weight version of Primer Delta is available on the AWS Marketplace for commercial customers with small document counts, 100 to 1000 files, which they can use to “explore unstructured text data in the comfort and safety of their own environment without the need to enter into a contract.
Primer’s new D-series and new CEO arrive as competition in the government AI space continues to heat up, with Microsoft announcing its new Azure OpenAI service for government a few days ago.
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