In 2021, Christopher Darby launched Chain Bridge I, a CIA-associated fund aiming to invest in national security tech firms, drawing $230 million from investors. Despite its initial promise and ties to the venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, Chain Bridge’s plans have stumbled, missing key deadlines and facing financial challenges, including a significant withdrawal of investments.
In 2021, Christopher Darby initiated Chain Bridge I, an investment fund linked to the CIA, targeting national security tech firms. The fund attracted $230 million from investors. Darby, also the head of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm serving the U.S. intelligence community, envisioned Chain Bridge as a means to strengthen U.S. security. However, the fund also promised significant financial gains for its top executives, a perk not available through In-Q-Tel.
Chain Bridge’s objective was to acquire a tech company that would enhance U.S. intelligence and security. The fund emphasized the growing significance of civilian technologies in global power dynamics and national security. However, two years in, Chain Bridge’s ambitious plans seem to be faltering. Launched during the waning SPAC trend, it missed a crucial May 15 deal deadline. Nasdaq suspended its warrant trading in August, and the fund’s other securities face challenges.
The fund’s trajectory has been rocky. Early backers have been offloading their shares, leading to nearly $200 million in redemptions. This massive withdrawal has left Chain Bridge with scant capital for deals and a mere $40,000 for operations. The fund’s recent quarterly report expressed significant doubts about its sustainability and future prospects.
Chain Bridge’s inception remains a puzzle, especially given the existence of In-Q-Tel, another CIA-backed investment avenue. Securities documents indicate that Chain Bridge’s success could have been financially rewarding for its management. Days before its 2021 IPO, Chain Bridge Group allocated 156,000 founder shares among company directors and advisors. The deep connections between In-Q-Tel and Chain Bridge are evident, with many shared executives and advisors having intelligence backgrounds.
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