Lucid Imagination, a commercial company behind Apache Lucene & Solr search, announced that In-Q-Tel (IQT), an independent strategic investment organization serving the CIA and broader US Intelligence community has made an investment in Lucid.  I hadn’t heard about IQT before, so I decided to peruse their site.  This is IQT’s mission:

“To best serve its customers, In-Q-Tel plays multiple roles:

  • A technology accelerator, fostering development and introduction of technologies needed by the Intelligence Community
  • A capabilities builder, helping nascent commercial technologies mature into commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products the government can buy
  • An idea lab and forum for innovation, providing the Intelligence Community with insight and access to both new technologies and leading innovators and thinkers
  • A strategic investment firm, investing in companies and helping build businesses into reliable providers for the Intelligence Community”

After reading their mission, I must say that Lucid’s press release sub-title is misleading (in a good way).

“Relationship to Help Broaden the Use of Apache Lucene/Solr for Full-text Search within the U.S. Intelligence Community”

As much as this deal will help drive Lucene/Solr adoption by the US intelligence community, the more important news is what the deal will do for Lucid and Lucene/Solr.   At least half of IQT’s mission is focused on helping the startup build a solid business.  As much as “it’s open source, so the CIA could support, fix bugs and add new features themselves” sounds great on paper, the US intelligence community would rather spend its time on its core competency.  By helping Lucid build and grow a solid and stable business, IQT is helping the US intelligence community get comfortable with procuring Lucid’s products and services.  The revenue from this customer segment will be reinvested to enhance Lucene/Solr, which will pay dividends to the broader user and Lucid customer base.

This is a big win for Lucid, and in turn, Lucene/Solr. Congrats!

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