January 11, 2022

In 2017, Shield AI’s quadcopter, with no pilot and no flight plan, could clear a building and outpace human warfighters by almost five minutes. It was evidence that autonomous robots could help protect civilian and service member lives. But was it also evidence that Shield AI—a startup barely two years past founding—could ask their newest potential customer, the US government, for a large million contract for a system of coordinated, exploring robots? Or would it scare them away?

Harvard Business School professor Mitch Weiss and Brandon Tseng, Shield AI’s CGO and co-founder, discuss these and other challenges entrepreneurs face when working with the public sector, and how investing in new ideas can enable entrepreneurs and governments to join forces to solve big problems in the case, “Shield AI.”

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