In-Q-Tel is a private, not-for-profit company, established in 1999 by the Central Intelligence Agency as their venture capital interface to the private sector. Their goal is to develop and acquire cutting-edge technology for use by the CIA and the greater US intelligence community. Using venture capital to fund research and development in technology companies, they seek to promote advances more quickly than in the somewhat more risk-averse traditional model of government defense contracts.
In-Q-Tel's primary focus areas are in: Knowledge Management, Security and Privacy, Search and Discovery, Distributed Data Collection, and Geospatial Information Services (GIS). They have invested in over 80 companies as of 2005; one such example is Keyhole, who make the 3-D mapping, visualization, and data correlation software now known as Google Earth.
A similar model was begun in 2004 by the U.S. Army, with a company called OnPoint.