Ah, the glamour of clandestine services. Interminable stakeouts, monitoring numbers stations, dredging dull information, and for some, living constantly in harm’s way in service to one’s country. So who can blame the CIA for making venture capital investments, even with the capital drama that comes along with it?
It turns out there’s a whole VC division of the CIA called In-Q-Tel, which “identifies cutting-edge technology to support the mission of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, and provides venture funding to help grow tech firms to develop those solutions,” according to The Intercept. One of those companies is Skincential Sciences, whose Clearista skin care product extracts DNA while it removes an outer layer and helps your skin glow.
See: Tech me beautiful: Gadgets that promise to make your skin look great
The reasons for law enforcement interest in DNA samples, especially ways to obtain, store, and match the data are obvious. While the CIA might not make a point of actively identifying the companies in which it invests, a company that can serve the agency’s interest in DNA makes great sense. If the company is profitable, it could also yield a lot of money, as the U.S. skin care market is estimated to reach $121 billion in 2016 according to Statistica.
Clearista’s “painless” skin care process mixes water with a unique detergent. This mixture is brushed on and off the skin, removing the outer layer (along with DNA and other biomarkers). Clearista also leaves a glow, erases blemishes, and softens the skin, according to the company. Skincential Sciences CEO Russ Lebovitz states the CIA’s interest is primarily in extracting DNA and other biomarkers, which he suggested could be used in crime scene identification and drug tests.
While it may surprise people that the Central Intelligence Agency supports technology research and development, who better to provide funding and maybe make some money along the way while improving tools to help on the job?