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HomeDefenceAllies Take Further Steps to Establish NATO Innovation Fund

Allies Take Further Steps to Establish NATO Innovation Fund

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At the 2022 Madrid Summit, 22 Allies launched the NATO Innovation Fund, the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund. Since then, significant steps have been made to fully establish the Fund by NATO’s Vilnius Summit in July 2023.

Participating NATO Allies have recently appointed, by consensus, the first three members of the NATO Innovation Fund Board of Directors:  its Chair, Dr. Klaus Hommels, founder and chair of venture capital firm Lakestar; as well as Dame Fiona Murray, Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Management; and Dr. Roberto Cingolani, former Italian Minister for Ecological Transition and founder of the Italian Institute of Technology. The Board of Directors will ultimately total 9 nine members. This Board of Directors will be support and advise the Fund’s Senior Management Team, which will be formed in the coming weeks. Global search firms True Search and Egon Zehnder are supporting efforts to identify the leadership for the Senior Management Team and the Board of Directors respectively.

On Monday (20 March 2023), the Fund’s Chair and first two Directors have announced their decision that The Netherlands will host the headquarters for the Fund’s investment management arm. Given the wide geographic remit of the Fund, further regional offices will be set up across the Alliance.

Mr. David van Weel, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, welcomed these announcements which “mark an important milestone in setting up this historic fund, which will allow NATO to tap into the innovation ecosystem for the benefits of our security and defence.

The NATO Innovation Fund itself is a financial partnership between participating NATO Allies as Limited Partners and an investment management arm purpose-built specifically for this Fund. Participating Allies have previously agreed to domicile the partnership in Luxembourg. The Fund will invest EUR €1 billion in early-stage start-ups developing emerging and disruptive technologies and other venture capital funds developing dual-use emerging and disruptive technologies (deep tech) .  

Dr. Klaus Hommels, Chair, NATO Innovation Fund Board of Directors:

As the importance of technology in all parts of our lives increases so does the need for digital and technology sovereignty. The NATO Innovation Fund is the first multi-sovereign venture capital fund that will support emerging technologies and drive much needed innovation in areas touching the Alliance’s strategic objectives.  I am humbled to be part of this important initiative whilst continuing to support brilliant founders.

Dr. Hommels is the Founder and Chair of venture capital firm Lakestar, one of Europe’s leading technology investors. He is the current Chair of InvestEurope, the association representing European Private Equity and Venture Capital, and a member of the UK Capital Markets Industry Taskforce. He serves on a number of digital boards and think tanks, such as the Security Innovation Board for the Munich Security Conference. Klaus is a frequent voice on the European ecosystem promoting the need for greater sovereignty in financing and technology. Klaus has been recognized numerous times by the Midas List for his investment track record in companies such as Spotify, Klarna, Revolut and AirBnB.

Dame Fiona Murray, Director, NATO Innovation Fund Board of Directors:

In this time of growing geopolitical instability, I am immensely proud to be working with NATO on the NATO Innovation Fund. By building a multi-sovereign venture fund for the Alliance, we will ensure that venture capital – a powerful economic instrument in shaping the ventures that emerge and thrive in our economies – is focused on an essential mission of our time, namely defence and security. More than simply another fund, this is an opportunity to contribute to the Allies’ ability to maintain their strategic advantage in science and technology and build their innovation ecosystems.”

Dame Fiona is the Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Management and the William Porter (1967) Professor of Entrepreneurship. She is the Co-Director of MIT’s Innovation Initiative and Faculty Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development. Dame Fiona is an associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves on British Prime Minister’s Council on Science and Technology.

Dr. Roberto Cingolani, Director, NATO Innovation Fund Board of Directors:

The establishment of the NATO Innovation Fund – the world’s first multi-sovereign capital fund for technology innovation at NATO – will boost exploration and development of new technologies for the security of the NATO countries and for the progress of our societies.

Dr. Cingolani is the former Italian Minister for Ecological Transition and founded the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, which he also led as its first Scientific Director. He was a staff member at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart and a Visiting Professor at Tokyo University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Cingolani served as Leonardo’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer and founded the National Nanotechnology Laboratory of the National Institute for the Physics of Matter. He has served as an Advisor for the Ministry of Research and University as well as for the European Commission.

Source: NATO

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