Lt Gen (ret.) Jack Shanahan speaking at the Government Advisory Board Dinner, May 2023

Insight’s Government Advisory Board Meeting: Focus on Artificial Intelligence

Nick Sinai


Here at Insight, we recently convened our Government Advisory Board (GAB) — an experienced team of public sector leaders that advise Insight and our portfolio companies — to discuss the potential and challenges of artificial intelligence (AI).

We are fortunate to have esteemed public sector leaders serve on our GAB: Honorable Sue Gordon, Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan (USAF, Ret.), Essye Miller, Honorable Dr. Will Roper, Nicole Wong, and General Joseph Votel (USA, Ret.). They are all high-integrity former public servants with deep knowledge and experience — but just as important, they are kind, thoughtful, and always excited to help our entrepreneurs. More on the GAB here.

We continue to mourn the passing of the late Secretary Ash Carter, who helped establish the GAB in 2022 and served on the board with wisdom, wit, and a passion to bring modern technology to government and defense missions.

AI is profoundly impacting growth investing as well as the building of ScaleUps. Topics at the recent GAB meeting included:

  • A discussion of Insight’s investment thesis in AI and how we evaluate new AI investments, led by Managing Director George Mathew;
  • A conversation about Insight’s broad AI portfolio — including tools, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and AI-enabled vertical market software companies — with a couple of entrepreneurs presenting directly to the GAB; and
  • An exploration of Onsite, our ScaleUp engine, including how we use AI to power growth initiatives across the portfolio, led by Operating Partner 🦄Pablo Dominguez Dominguez.

In the evening, over an intimate reception and dinner, we brought together founders from our portfolio to spend time with GAB members. Managing Director Lonne Jaffe, a thought leader on AI, opened the evening. Portfolio founders shared their vision about how AI is changing their industry — health care, insurance, manufacturing, defense, etc. — and Lt Gen (ret.) Jack Shanahan, the founder of DoD’s Joint AI Center, shared a candid and inspiring perspective about the challenges and opportunities of the federal government adopting AI at scale.

“I’m always impressed by the incredibly talented CEOs, CTOs, and founders we meet through the GAB,” Jack said. “Their desire to support the U.S. national security enterprise is exciting. We cannot afford to wait around any longer for the government to adopt AI at scale. These are the people who are going to play a crucial role in accelerating that journey.”

On a personal note, I appreciated the opportunity to share with the GAB my recent trip to the Middle East, visiting U.S. Central Command as a guest of General Kurilla. It was an incredible privilege to spend time with soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, and guardians across Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, and through video conferences in Syria and Jordan. I saw firsthand their dedication to mission, their innovative spirit, and the need for modern software and AI. As a father of twin 10-year-old girls, I deeply appreciate the sacrifices our servicemembers make, being away from their families to uphold our national security. Their dedication, kindness, and professionalism left a lasting impression on me.

More on Insight’s thinking on AI:

1. The next stack: Generative AI from an investor perspective

2. Scaling Up AI Businesses: What We’ve Learned So Far

3. Investing in Artificial Intelligence: How MLOps Drives Enterprise AI Wins

4. Investor POV: Parsing the generative AI application layer



Nick Sinai

Senior Advisor at Insight Partners; Adjunct Faculty at Harvard; former US Deputy CTO at White House; Author of Hack Your Bureaucracy