Investing in Modern Intelligence

Announcing our investment in Modern Intelligence's seed round.

Will Robbins

March 16, 2022

Throughout history, advancements in technology have shown outsized impact on the mechanics of war and power. This was true at the Battle of Königgrätz in 1866 when an incremental innovation in rifle-loading allowed the Prussians to defeat the Austrians, who were still using slower and less agile muzzle-loaded weapons. This was equally true in August 1945 when the development of the atomic bomb — a technological revolution — decisively ended World War II.

Today, we live through a fast-changing Digital Age that poses crucial yet unsolved questions for the future of defense.

For example: would a swarm of 10,000 autonomous drones sink an aircraft carrier? The asymmetries are both physical (no anti-aircraft system could deal with so many objects at one time) and economic (even at $5,000 per drone, it would merely cost $50 million to destroy an asset worth more than $10 billion).

And while we have more sensors and data-streams than ever to observe the world that we operate in, the unsolved questions rarely come with actionable answers. This is why Modern Intelligence is building the new standard for AI in Defense.

Modern's platform pulls in data from all types of sources. It applies cutting edge AI advances to solve sensor-fusion problems. It allows users to find signal in deafening noise. And we think that over time, it will become the unifying AI layer for American defense.

Part of why we're so excited to invest in Modern is that Contrary Fellow John Dulin is CEO. We became close to John years before he started Modern, and have gotten to know him quite well. It was always hard to overlook his brilliance, but beyond having the raw horsepower needed to tackle military go-to-market challenges and hardcore AI research, cofounders John and Tristan both carry a sense of seriousness and responsibility commensurate with the task at hand.

We're proud to back Modern Intelligence and support the bold mission of taking America's capabilities into the 21st century. And if you're an aligned research scientist or machine learning engineer, visit Modern's website and consider joining the team!

Disclosure: Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute legal, business, investment or tax advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Contrary LLC (“Contrary”) nor does such information constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services. Information provided reflects Contrary’s views as of a time, whereby such views are subject to change at any point and Contrary shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. Companies mentioned in this article may be a representative sample of portfolio companies in which Contrary has invested in which the author believes such companies fit the objective criteria stated in commentary, which do not reflect all investments made by Contrary. No assumptions should be made that investments listed above were or will be profitable. Due to various risks and uncertainties, actual events, results or the actual experience may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in these statements. Nothing contained in this article may be relied upon as a guarantee or assurance as to the future success of any particular company. Past performance is not indicative of future results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Contrary (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for Contrary to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at

Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by Contrary. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, Contrary has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see for additional important information.