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NATO Innovation Fund makes first investment to secure future for Alliance's one billion citizens

NATO Innovation Fund makes first investment to secure future for Alliance's one billion citizens

 


NATO Innovation Fund makes first investment to secure future for Alliance's one billion citizens

Equity investments to strengthen the defense, security and resilience of allied nations by innovating in manufacturing, making air travel faster and more fuel-efficient, advancing artificial intelligence and advancing autonomous robotics solutions. Alpine Space Ventures, OTB Ventures, Join Capital and Vsquared Ventures will be backed to support early-stage innovators focused on strengthening both emerging and established deep tech hubs.

The NATO Innovation Fund today announced its first deep tech investments to address defense, security and resilience challenges. These first equity investments by the $1 billion fund will help drive innovation in new materials and manufacturing, AI and robotics. The fund is also investing to strengthen deep tech hubs in regions where there is high demand for capital for early-stage startups to promote the alliance's technological sovereignty. To support the adoption of technologies within its portfolio, the NATO Innovation Fund is working closely with allied governments to provide portfolio companies with access and insights into defense, broader government and commercial markets and opportunities.

Andrea Traverson, managing partner of the NATO Innovation Fund, said, “Enabling capital and support for strategic technologies is key to ensuring a secure and prosperous future for our Alliance's one billion citizens. Today, we are proud to have invested in innovative solutions that will help address some of our greatest challenges, drive growth, and strengthen our nations' defense, security and resilience for generations to come.”

“This marks a major milestone for the NATO Innovation Fund,” said David Van Weel, Under-Secretary-General for Innovation, Hybridity and Cyber. With these investments, the Fund is now beginning to make a tangible difference in our innovation ecosystem, providing growth opportunities for the most promising dual-use and defense companies developing solutions to maintain the Alliance's technological edge.

Klaus Homers, Chairman of the NATO Innovation Fund, said: “I congratulate the NIF investment team on reaching this important milestone. This initial investment portfolio demonstrates NIF's mission to advance defence, security and resilience across the NATO Alliance and foster the development of dual-use ecosystems.”

Direct investment in emerging European and UK deep tech startups

The fund’s investments will help remove barriers to the growth of emerging technologies in Europe and the UK, from improving overall AI capabilities to pushing the boundaries of manufacturing new materials.

The Fund's direct investments include:

ARX ​​Robotics is a manufacturer of scalable robotic systems that can be deployed in mass for future-proof military defense, commercial and humanitarian applications, making workers safer and more efficient. Fractile is an AI company developing innovative computing technologies to enhance collective AI capabilities by enabling the largest and most capable neural networks of today and tomorrow to run faster, more efficiently and sustainably. iCOMAT is an advanced composites manufacturing company delivering lighter, stronger and more sustainable structures for aerospace and automotive faster and more cost-effectively. Space Forge is a company that harnesses the space environment to produce advanced semiconductor materials for critical infrastructure, ensuring stronger and more resilient capabilities across communications, aerospace and quantum.

“NATO Innovation Fund's support of Space Forge's ambitions is a testament to what we are building,” said Joshua Western, CEO and co-founder of Space Forge. “Entering the semiconductor manufacturing and spacecraft manufacturing space is a complex endeavor. This investment will enable Space Forge to develop a production-class version of our ForgeStar architecture, using advanced semiconductor materials to provide a critical advantage in key technologies. We are honored to serve the NATO Alliance.”

Investment capital to strengthen the Alliance's startup ecosystem

To enable the growth of innovators at all stages, the NATO Innovation Fund also supports venture capital fund managers investing in early-stage deep tech focused on civil, defence, security and resilience markets. Supporting these funds helps expand capacity in regions where there is high demand for capital to back the next generation of deep tech unicorns.

Focus regions include ecosystems that have faced funding barriers in the past, such as Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as those experiencing a rapid growth in deep tech startups, such as the Nordics. The NATO Innovation Fund aims to support funds with expertise and interest in a wide range of deep tech solutions, from space technology to quantum cryptography to AI.

Alpine Space Ventures is an early-stage fund focused on investing in the space sector, leveraging over 50 years of industry experience. With a focused portfolio, the fund aims to help select startups deliver key space-enabled capabilities. OTB Ventures is a central European early growth (Seed and Series A) deep tech fund focused on space tech, enterprise automation and AI, cyber security, and fintech infrastructure. Join Capital is a Berlin-based early-stage venture capital fund focused on deep tech investments across industrial and enterprise technologies. Vsquared Ventures invests in early-stage deep tech companies building breakthrough technologies that address some of society's most pressing challenges, aiming to become global leaders from Europe. Vsquared focuses on AI and next-generation software, energy transition, new computing and sensing, new space, robotics and manufacturing, technology and bio.

With a wealth of talent, Europe's deep tech sector is well poised to tackle global challenges through advanced technologies. “Investing in deep tech takes time and skill, but offers huge opportunities,” said Adam Niewinski, co-founder and managing partner at OTB Ventures. The creation of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) highlights the crucial role of these investments, bringing the know-how to capitalize on new markets and use cases.

Supported by 24 NATO Allies, the NATO Innovation Fund provides funding to innovators across a wide range of emerging technology sectors, including energy, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, autonomy, new materials, space, biotechnology, hypersonic systems and next-generation communications.

Building on this initial investment portfolio, the fund will provide deep tech entrepreneurs with the support they need for up to 15 years, along with the confidence and agility they need to commercialize and implement their solutions at scale.

About the NATO Innovation Fund:

The NATO Innovation Fund is a venture capital fund backed by 24 NATO member states that has deployed over $1 billion in deep tech to address defense, security and resilience challenges. The fund invests independently, helping the 24 countries to support the success of its portfolio and providing deep tech entrepreneurs with access to both commercial and government markets.

Participating NATO allies are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

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