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These Hot Tech Companies Are in the CIA’s Secret Investment Portfolio

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The CIA symbol is shown on the floor of CIA Headquarters, July 9, 2004 at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Photograph by Charles Ommanney—Getty Images

In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm, is investing in some of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups.

According to a brochure from IQT’s CEO Summit obtained by The Intercept, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is investing heavily in tech, particularly in big data analytics, social media mining, and data center infrastructure.

Big data analytics

Among IQT’s investments is cloud-hosted big data analytics and processing platform Databricks, named by data experts as one of the top data companies to watch and whose product, Spark, was called by IBM (IBM) one of “the most significant open source project of the next decade.” The reason for this distinction is that Spark is able to sort through enormous amounts of data really, really fast, according to Business Insider.

Satellite image processing software Orbital Insight, which recently raised $8.7 million in capital, is another portfolio company of note. As Fortune‘s Jen Wieczner writes, the company counts other governmental agencies as clients, including the World Bank, which is using the technology to track poverty levels.


Social media mining

IQT is also investing heavily in companies that track social media activity, such as Dataminr and Geofeedia. Dataminr uses machine learning and cross-references Twitter with other data sets to identify tweets and trends with impact, based on unusual patterns and “clusters” of similar tweets. According to another Fortune story by Wiezcner, the company alerted clients to the Paris attacks five minutes after they occurred, more than 45 minutes before the AP tweeted the news.

Geofeedia, on the other hand, collects geotagged social media messages to monitor breaking news events in real time. The company markets its ability to track activist protests, and counts Dell, CNN, Mall of America and the NCAA among its clients, according to TechCrunch.

Data center infrastructure

Two of the most well-known companies that the CIA is investing in are Docker and Mesosphere, both of which are valued at or above $1 billion, according to BI. Docker’s big pitch is that it makes it easier to build and manage software at large scales and across cloud platforms, while Mesosphere’s product “can be thought of as a data center mother brain that automatically distributes the appropriate resources and data to power a software application, so IT staff doesn’t have to worry about tweaking servers or other gear behind the scenes,” writes Fortune‘s Jonathan Vanian.

A representative from In-Q-Tel declined Fortune‘s request for comment.