Venture Capital: NATO To Launch Investment Fund And Accelerator For Startups With War Technologies

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The fund would invest €1 billion over 15 years to counter China’s rising tech and AI capabilities.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a defence alliance comprising 30 European and North American countries, announced its intention to back startups for developing technologies that could give it an edge in defense and warfare. NATO will launch a startup accelerator programme and a €1 billion investment fund targeted at high-technology startups. (C4ISRNET)

NATO: Accelerator and VC fund initiatives

NATO announced at its June 14 summit held in Brussels the launch of DIANA (or, Defence Innovation Accelerator of the North Atlantic) – a mission to work with the private sector, academia and other non-government entities to develop critical technologies.

David van Weel, assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges, told a virtual roundtable with reporters on Tuesday that DIANA is expected to reach initial operating capability (IOC) by 2023.

To be headquartered both in North America and in Europe, DIANA will operate test centers throughout NATO member countries for “validating, testing, and co-designing applications in the field of emerging and disruptive technologies.”

DIANA will also support the development of a network that will, via grants, nurture startups meeting NATO’s technology needs. These will span all seven of the key emerging and disruptive technologies — or EDTs — that NATO has identified as critical for the future: artificial intelligence, big-data processing, quantum-enabled technologies, autonomy, biotechnology, hypersonics and space.

Further, NATO signaled its intention to float the NATO Innovation Fund, a venture capital fund to back companies developing dual-use and key technologies that could be useful to NATO. The fund will invest about €70 million (about $83 million) per year across 15 years, or an aggregate of roughly €1 billion.

The fund is modeled along the lines of DARPA, that US agency that makes pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.

Related Story:  Defense Secretary Esper Warns AI Could Transform The Battlefield

Image Credit: Flickr                                                  

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