NATO targets AI, robotics with billion-euro deep-tech fund

The four companies to benefit directly from the fund include ARX Robotics, Fractile, iComat and Space Forge.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has made its first investments from a fund worth €1bn for deep-tech start-ups in Europe that are innovating in areas such as AI, manufacturing and robotics.

In an announcement today (18 June) the investment arm of the intergovernmental military alliance, NATO Innovation Fund, said that these equity investments aim to address challenges in defence, security and resilience among its 32 member states, which include most European countries, Canada and the US.

NATO said that the fund will also invest to promote deep-tech hubs in regions where capital for early-stage start-ups is in high demand to promote the bloc’s “technological sovereignty”. The idea is to provide portfolio start-ups with access and insights into defence, wider government, and commercial markets and opportunities.

Andrea Traversone, managing partner of the NATO Innovation Fund, said that enabling capital and support for strategic technologies is “key to securing a safe and prosperous future” for the 1bn citizens of the alliance.

“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,” Traversone said.

NATO has been stepping up efforts to bolster its defence and security, especially since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. Earlier this year, Finland and Sweden became the latest European countries to join the cross-Atlantic alliance.

The fund has already invested directly into four deep-tech start-ups: ARX Robotics, which makes scalable robotic systems for mass deployment in defence; Fractile, which is developing computing technology to enhance collective AI capabilities; iComat, which is developing lighter, stronger and more sustainable structures for aerospace and automotive vehicles; and Space Forge, which manufactures advanced semiconductor materials for critical infrastructure.

NATO has also partnered with venture capital firms Alpine Space Ventures, OTB Ventures, Join Capital and Vsquared Ventures to support further investment in deep-tech start-ups.

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