NATO, the defense alliance, has officially closed its first fund, committing €1 billion (around $1 billion) to the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF). This fund is designed to support startups that are developing technologies in line with NATO's defense and security objectives, emphasizing "safety, freedom, and human empowerment."
The NIF aims to invest in startups focusing on emerging and disruptive technologies, including AI, biotechnology, quantum computing, space technology, hypersonic systems, energy, new manufacturing and materials, and next-gen communications.
The fund will make both direct investments in startups and indirect investments in other funds that support similar startups. Initial investments will be up to €15 million, with the first set of investments to be announced in September. The fund is modeled after In-Q-Tel in the U.S., aiming to keep investments strategic, potentially leading to services that NATO or its member states might utilize.
David van Weel, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, commented, “In venture capital, the senior management team are the brains behind investment decisions. I am confident that the NATO Innovation Fund’s Founding Team has the experience, drive, and capability necessary to deliver the NIF’s mission.”
NATO's establishment of the Innovation Fund underscores the alliance's commitment to leveraging the innovation economy to bolster its defense and security posture. As the fund begins its investment activities, it will be interesting to see how it navigates the startup ecosystem and the broader geopolitical landscape.