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A Beefy, Yes, That’s a Technical Term, Executive Order on AI



Rejoice, we have arrived at the time of year when you can officially put off a vendor for two months with the phrase, let’s circle back after the Holidays. With that said, we have seen good demand for cybersecurity from enterprise buyers in Q3, and the pipeline for Q4 appears to be robust, so there are reasons to believe that cybersecurity will have a better end to the year.

The big news in AI over the past week has been the executive order from the White House on AI. Normally, this type of work would fall on the legislative branch, Congress, but it seems fair to say that they are not a well-oiled machine these days. It is into this vacuum that the White House team stepped, issuing a beefy, yes, that’s a technical term, one hundred and eleven (111) page document outlining how the government should use AI, what privacy rights citizens should have, and how companies will interact given the national security implications of these models.

Given the sweeping nature of the order, there is a lot to unpack. There has been less partisan pushback on this than one might expect which probably reflects the fact that AI is making everyone uneasy these days. Some people in the tech community feel there is some overreach here, with the government asking companies to share their red team tests in the name of national security. However, this comes from many of the same people that have suggested that AI could doom us all, so it’s not exactly a consistent stance. The more cogent argument is that this document is too technical and will look obsolete in a few years, if not a few months. That’s probably the best part about this being an executive order, rather than a law, repealing it can simply be done by this or any subsequent administration.

As far as the portions directing other agencies to look into either their use or regulation of AI, that too is a mixed bag. Shaping how the government deploys AI is wise, asking for more red-tape surrounding AI development is more questionable. We know that other players aren’t going to restrain themselves, so it behooves us to retain our leadership position in AI. On the other hand, none of us wants to be destroyed by Skynet. Finally, it is likely that the real threat from AI will come out in a way that we don’t foresee and haven’t planned for. Funny how that’s always the case; it’s the outlier events that aren’t planned for that get you.

Next week is our annual partner meeting where we get together with our limited partners and discuss both the state of our portfolio and the state of the industry. We are looking forward to an incredible event with some top-tier speakers. We look forward to sharing some of their insights with you next month and we can’t wait to host those of you who are joining us.

Below are a few of the articles that caught our attention this month. Moreover, we’ve inserted one or two sentences in italics, summarizing each article’s importance. We hope you enjoy and appreciate the material.


Here's a curated list of things we found interesting.

White House offers a new strategy for AI — and picks new fights

As stated above, this is a big move by the Biden administration and puts the US in pole position on AI thought leadership, while still being a bit controversial in industry.

President Joe Biden on Monday is launching a broad new whole-of-government approach to artificial intelligence with an executive order that aims to create standards and rules around the technology — and likely sets the White House up for tussles with both Congress and a powerful American industry.

Follow the people: @stake, NetScreen, IBM, Israel Defense Forces and the US Armed Forces mafia networks in cybersecurity

We often talk about the power of networks, this posts discusses some of the cybersecurity networks that generate the most companies. Full disclosure, Lucas is an @stake alumni.

@stake, NetScreen, IBM, and military networks have been a powerful source of future founders and executives, and the degree to which they have shaped the present of the industry is hard to overstate.

Crypto Entrepreneurs Are Pivoting to AI. Here’s One Founder’s Experience.

The phrase “Rats fleeing a sinking ship” comes to mind. It appears that founders who were riding one hype cycle are now switching to the latest craze in an attempt to stay relevant.

Chris Horne’s startup, Filta, shifted to an AI-powered product after his initial NFT idea faltered.


Deals that caught our eye.

Cisco makes largest ever acquisition, buying cybersecurity company Splunk for $28 billion in cash

The acquisition is by far Cisco’s largest ever and deepens the company’s bet on security software.


What we're listening to.

Cyber Thoughts Podcast: Episode 4 with Jamey Cummings

In this episode of Cyber Thoughts, Lucas sits down for an engaging conversation with Jamey Cummings, a seasoned partner at JM Search, specializing in the dynamic world of cybersecurity recruitment. Jamey delves into his remarkable journey within the cybersecurity domain, leveraging his insights gained from years of experience to find and place top talent in the industry.


Lytical Ventures is a New York City-based venture firm investing in Enterprise Intelligence, comprising cybersecurity, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Lytical’s professionals have decades of experience in direct investing generally and in Corporate Intelligence specifically.


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