NATO $1.1B Innovation Fund Makes First Investments Into AI, Robots and Space Tech

The first deep tech investments of the NATO Innovation Fund address challenges in defence, security and resilience, while helping advance innovation in novel materials and manufacturing, AI and robotics.

NATO $1.1B Innovation Fund Makes First Investments Into AI, Robots and Space Tech

NATO Innovation Fund, backed by 24 of NATO’s 32 member states, today announced its first deep tech equity investments in four European tech startups and support for Alpine Space Ventures, OTB Ventures, Join Capital, and Vsquared Ventures. The fund aims to strengthen the Allies’ defence, security, and resilience.

The €1 billion Fund was created in the summer of 2022, months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to improve the Alliance’s security through deep tech innovations. Its first tranches go to companies involved in “revolutionising manufacturing, making air travel faster and more fuel-efficient, advancing Artificial Intelligence and powering autonomous robotic solutions.”

The first companies that receive financial backing out of the $1.1B fund are:

  • ARX Robotics – a German startup that develops scalable robotic ground systems and sensors for defence, commercial and humanitarian applications. With the help of NATO investment, ARX raised a record €9M seed funding round.
  • Fractile AI – London-based AI company that is working on transformative computing technology to power and speed up the world’s largest language models.
  • iCOMAT, another UK-based company that delivers lighter, stronger and more sustainable structures for aerospace and automotive vehicles. The startup has developed a patented manufacturing process for advanced carbon fibre composites.
  • Space Forge, a Cardiff-based startup that utilises the space environment to manufacture advanced semiconductor materials for critical infrastructure across telecommunications, aerospace, and quantum. Its focus is to develop reusable on-orbit fabrication capabilities to enable the novel production of semiconductors and alloys in microgravity.

Besides direct investments, the NATO Innovation Fund also announced its backing for venture capital fund managers that invest in early-stage deep tech with a focus on civilian, defence, security and resilience markets. The chosen fund managers single out startups in regions with challenging access to funding, such as Southern and Eastern Europe, and ecosystems with a rapidly growing number of deep tech startups, e.g. the Nordics.

Alpine Space Ventures, OTB Ventures, Join Capital, and Vsquared Ventures supported by NATO mainly concentrate on investments in the space tech sector, enterprise automation, AI, cybersecurity, industrial tech, fintech infrastructure, energy transition, new computing and sensing technologies, robotics, manufacturing, and biotech.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.