Brett Goldstein Leaves Ekistic Ventures for Federal Post

Goldstein, who co-founded the urban tech investment firm in 2016 — and started the first predictive policing company to put its code online — is going to serve as director of the Defense Digital Service.

Brett Goldstein, the former CIO for the city of Chicago who went on to launch a venture capital fund focused on urban technology, is leaving that firm in order to take a job leading the Defense Digital Service.

The DDS is the branch of the U.S. Digital Service — a kind of technology consultancy housed in the federal government that solves problems for other agencies — that is dedicated to working with the Department of Defense. As of this week, DDS Director Chris Lynch is stepping down and Goldstein will take his place.

The DDS, which has been in existence since November 2015, has completed several programs it considers successful. It launched an open source coding platform for the DoD,, and created a “bug bounty” program so outside programmers could identify vulnerabilities in the department’s software that it could fix. It has reduced paperwork for the military’s recruiting and onboarding system, improved the development of next-generation GPS technology, rescued a failing system for managing the movement of military families and cut down on incorrect health-care denials for veterans.

Goldstein is leaving his post at Ekistic Ventures, an investment firm he co-founded in 2016
, to join the agency. He is also stepping away from CivicScape, a company spun up within Ekistic that was the first predictive policing company to put its code online.

His past work includes restaurant reservation startup OpenTable, a stint helping technology and data efforts within the Chicago Police Department and time as the chief data officer and CIO of Chicago. He has also served as a special adviser to the U.S. Navy on subjects ranging from machine learning to personnel management.

“Technology has never been more important to the mission of national defense,” Goldstein wrote in an email. “From analyzing data, to strengthening security, to recruiting top talent, we have an opportunity to make a huge impact. We will be growing efforts to solve critical tech issues within the DoD to improve services for civilians and service members and the country as a whole. I'm excited to lead a talented team of amazing men and women who want to make a difference and help protect our nation.”

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.