Startups can be purposeful about designing their company in such a way as to pursue both commercial and government opportunities. This requires being informed, prepared, and ready to define these dual market opportunities. Dual-use ventures must be aware of the challenges that duality presents so that they make the appropriate tradeoffs.
There are many customers for mission-driven solutions and governments are often primary customers. However, while many of MIT’s students, staff, and faculty have potential solutions to government challenges, education on the topic of navigating the role of government—as a potential customer, source of funding, and provider of testing infrastructure—is limited.
The Dual-use Ventures project provides a more systematic approach to creating and building a dual-use venture. We address the opportunities, challenges, and trade-offs involved. Having such an approach may provide access to two pools of funding, two distinctive customer groups, and two different markets. However, duality also means navigating two complex contexts instead of one. We outline a clear path and systematic method for understanding what it takes to build a dual-use venture so entrepreneurs are more fully prepared to make this choice.
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