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NATO Innovation fund invests $1B to boost AI, robotics and space tech to Secure the Future

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Equity investments to strengthen the defence, security and resilience of Allies by revolutionising manufacturing, making air travel faster and more fuel-efficient, advancing Artificial Intelligence and powering autonomous robotic solutions
  • Alpine Space Ventures, OTB Ventures, Join Capital and Vsquared Ventures receive backing to support early-stage innovators with a focus on strengthening both emerging and well-established deep tech hubs
The NATO Innovation Fund announced today its first deep tech investments to address challenges in defence, security and resilience. These initial equity investments made by the €1 billion Fund will help advance innovation in novel materials and manufacturing, AI and robotics. The Fund is also making investments to boost deep tech hubs in regions where capital for early-stage startups is in high demand to promote the Alliance’s technological sovereignty. To support the adoption of technologies in its portfolio, the NATO Innovation Fund works closely with Allied governments to provide its portfolio companies with access and insights into defence, wider government and commercial markets and opportunities.

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“Enabling capital and support for strategic technologies is key to securing a safe and prosperous future for the Alliance’s 1 billion citizens. Today, we are proud to share that we have invested in innovative solutions that can help address some of our greatest challenges and boost growth, strengthening the defence, security, and resilience of our nations for generations to come.”

“This is a tremendous milestone for the NATO Innovation Fund” said David van Weel, Assistant Secretary General for Innovation, Hybrid and Cyber. “With these investments, the Fund is now starting to make a tangible difference in our innovation ecosystems, providing growth opportunities to the most promising dual-use and defence companies developing solutions to maintain the Alliance’s technological edge”.

“Congratulations to NIF’s investment team on reaching this significant milestone,” said Dr. Klaus Hommels, Chair, NATO Innovation Fund. “This initial portfolio of investments exemplifies NIF’s mission to advance defence, security and resilience and promote the development of dual-use ecosystems across the NATO Alliance.”

Direct investments in emerging deep tech startups in Europe and the UK


The Fund’s investments will help remove barriers to growth for emerging technologies in Europe and the UK – from advancing our collective AI capabilities to pushing the boundaries of manufacturing novel materials.

The Fund’s direct investments include:
  • ARX Robotics, a manufacturer of scalable robotic systems for mass deployment in defence, commercial and humanitarian applications to future-proof armed forces, and increase the safety and efficiency of workforces.
  • Fractile, an AI company that is developing transformative computing technology 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, an advanced composite manufacturing company that delivers lighter, stronger and more sustainable structures for aerospace and automotive vehicles faster and more cost-effectively.
  • Space Forge, a company that utilises the space environment to manufacture advanced semiconductor materials for critical infrastructure, ensuring more powerful and resilient capabilities across telecommunications, aerospace, and quantum.
“The NATO Innovation Fund’s support for Space Forge’s ambition is a testament to what we’re building. Occupying the domains of semiconductor manufacturing and spacecraft production is complex. This investment enables Space Forge to develop the production class version of its ForgeStar architecture and provide a critical advantage in key technologies with its advanced semiconductor materials. It is a privilege to serve the NATO Alliance.”

Fund investments to power the Alliance’s startup ecosystem


To enable the growth of innovators at every stage, the NATO Innovation Fund is also backing venture capital fund managers that invest in early-stage deep tech with a focus on civilian, and defence, security and resilience markets. Backing these funds will help grow capacity in regions where funding is in high demand to support the next generation of deep tech unicorns.

Regions of focus include ecosystems that have faced barriers to accessing funding in the past – such as Southern and Eastern Europe – as well as ecosystems with a rapidly growing number of 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 tech to quantum cryptography and AI, including:
  • Alpine Space Ventures, an early-stage fund focused on investments in the space sector, leveraging over 50 years of industry experience. With a concentrated portfolio, the fund aims to empower select startups to deliver key space-enabled capabilities.
  • OTB Ventures, an early growth (Seed and Series A) deep tech fund originating from Central Europe, with investment focus in spacetech, enterprise automation & AI, cybersecurity, and fintech infrastructure.
  • Join Capital, a Berlin-based early-stage venture capital fund, focused on deep tech investments across industrial and enterprise tech.
  • Vsquared Ventures, which invests in early stage deep tech companies that are building groundbreaking technologies addressing some of society’s most pressing challenges, to become global leaders out of Europe. Vsquared focuses on AI & next-gen software, energy transition, new computing and sensing, new space, robotics and manufacturing, and tech-bio.
“Europe’s deeptech sector, powered by a rich talent pool, is poised to tackle global challenges through advanced technologies. Investing in deeptech requires time and skills but brings tremendous opportunities. The founding of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) underscores the vital role of these investments and brings the know-how to take them to new markets and use cases”

Backed by 24 NATO Allies, the NATO Innovation Fund finances innovators across a wide range of emerging technology sectors, including energy, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, autonomy, novel materials, space, biotechnology, hypersonic systems and next-generation communications.
Building on this initial portfolio of investments, the Fund will provide deep tech entrepreneurs with the support they need for up to 15 years, as well as the conviction and agility necessary to commercialise and implement their solutions at scale.

 
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