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Meet the Team

Francis Hoang

AIN Management

Francis Q. Hoang is a veteran entrepreneur who has been on the founding teams of companies that have generated over $600 million of combined sales and employed over 1,200 professionals across the fields of law, aerospace, defense, government services, and technology.


France also has over 20 years of national security experience, with service in every branch of the U.S. Government. He clerked for Judge Thomas Griffith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and was appointed by President George W. Bush as an Associate White House Counsel and Special Assistant to the President. Shortly after leaving the White House, France mobilized in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM where he served as the Executive Officer of a U.S. Army Special Forces Company on a combat deployment in Southeast Afghanistan.


France graduated in the academic top 1% of his West Point class, received a Masters in Criminal Justice from Washburn University, and graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. He somehow also managed to pass both Ranger School and the CPA Exam.

France's current and previous Board service includes MAG Aerospace, the Stimson Center, Marymount University, Bunker Labs, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. France also serves as an advisor to the ABA Standing Committee on Law & National Security.

France's commentary has been published by the Wall Street Journal, and he regularly speaks on innovation, entrepreneurship, and artificial intelligence. France proudly grew up in Tumwater, Washington.

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Spencer Kympton

AIN Management

Spencer previously served as President of The Mission Continues, leading a nationwide team focused on engaging military veterans in continued service to their country by serving in their communities. The Mission Continues has helped tens of thousands of veterans rekindle a new sense of purpose by empowering them to participate in civic life: strengthening school systems, re-purposing public spaces, revitalizing national and city parks, tackling environmental issues, and improving the health, safety, and well-being of communities. He and TMC built and nurtured partnerships with hundreds of community-based organizations in urban areas all across America, while also driving and motivating changes in the national conversation about veterans. As a spokesperson for The Mission Continues, Spencer addressed veterans’ issues in front of Congress and the VA, and in media outlets like MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, TIME, and the Huffington Post.


Before joining The Mission Continues, Spencer served as Vice President of Recruiting for Teach for America and as an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company.

He began his professional career as an aviation officer and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army. For eight years, he served within numerous humanitarian and peace-enforcement operations in Korea, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Central and South America, and multiple stateside locations.

Spencer lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his family.

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Michael Thiel

AIN Management

Mike Thiel advocates for military veterans. He supports the military veteran community as an active angel investor, including currently serving as a board member of POLCO, a SaaS startup founded by two U.S. Air Force veterans. Mike also serves on the board of Swords to Plowshares, a San Francisco-based veterans direct services non-profit.


Mike began investing in multifamily real estate in 2013.  Over the last few years has grown his portfolio to 41 doors located in Annapolis, Pittsburgh, and Madison.

Thiel had a previous career in Silicon Valley as a semiconductor executive. His final semiconductor industry role was at KLA-Tencor, a process control company, where he worked directly for the CEO.  Mike worked in sales, marketing, M&A, strategic planning, and corporate ventures.


Mr. Thiel married his wife, Marcie Vu, in 2007. Marcie fled Vietnam in April of 1975 after the fall of Saigon. The daughter of a South Vietnamese General, she now works as a partner and co-head of consumer technology for Qatalyst Partners. They now live in Menlo Park, CA, with their Daughter Chloe and dog, Mochi.


Thiel earned an MBA from Carnegie Mellon and holds a B.S. in Physics from the U.S. Naval Academy.   

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Forrest Underwood

AIN Venture Partner

Forrest is passionate about dual-use technology, veteran entrepreneurship, and building the world’s best AI pilot. He is currently a Venture Partner with the Academy Investor Network and Director of Strategy at Shield AI. Prior to his civilian career, Forrest served 12 years on Active Duty as an Air Force pilot flying C-130Js in Ramstein, Germany, Special Operations MC-130Js in Okinawa, Japan, and was a joint staff officer at Special Operations Command - Europe in Stuttgart, Germany. He helped build AFWERX, co-founded the Defense Ventures Fellowship, and has flown more than 2,000 hours throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Forrest is also a Reservist with the US Space Force, an Admissions Liaison Officer for the Air Force Academy, and serves on the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates Executive Committee. Forrest is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy Class of 2009 and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma. He loves going to concerts with his Frau, Patrizia.



Contact Forrest at

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Wes Blackwell

AIN Advisor

Wes is an experienced investor and advisor, specializing in investing in founders from the intelligence, research, and military communities. Wes graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.


As an Advisor to DataTribe, a DC-based startup studio, Wes also assists founders building cybersecurity, analytics, and big data companies. Prior to DataTribe, Wes led enterprise implementation, account management and tech support at LiveSafe, a venture-backed mobile technology, and SaaS company. Wes is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he flew naval helicopters for almost 12 years.


Based in the Washington D.C. area, Wes focuses on identifying founders who are creating over the horizon technologies.

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Bradley C. Harrison

AIN Advisor

Brad is an entrepreneur and seasoned business development executive with a passion for technology, media, entertainment and lifestyle. Brad has a great deal of experience launching new ventures. While attending MIT, he helped launch a joint MIT-Harvard incubator. During this experience, Brad worked at the earliest stages with many dynamic companies including Endeca Technologies.

While serving as Director of Media Strategy and Development at AOL, Brad co-authored 3 patents in search, geo-tagging, and personalization, with Edmund Fish, Senior Vice President and General Manager at AOL. Following AOL, Brad helped raise $40M in venture funding for a contextual online advertising network.


Prior to launching his business career, Brad was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the United States Army for five years, earning both Airborne and Ranger qualifications before retiring as Captain. He resides in Austin with his wife, Angie, his son, Elvis and his daughter, Scout.

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The AIN team consists of company builders, early-stage investors, finance professionals and veterans with deep domain expertise in a variety of sectors.

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