Nato has picked the investment team to run its new €1bn venture fund, which will be officially launched in Vilnius this week at the alliance’s annual summit.
The senior management team, which will be charged with backing early-stage European defence tech and deeptech, includes:
- Andrea Traversone, former managing partner at UK-based VC Amadeus Capital
- Kelly Chen, former partner at Data Collective VC, a San Francisco-based deeptech investor
- Thorsten Claus, former managing partner at Thinkstorm Ventures, a San Francisco-based family office
- Chris O’Connor, former partner and COO at US dual-use investor Harpoon Ventures
- Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky, former partner at UK-based Beast Ventures
The fund will be headquartered in the Netherlands, but it’s also planning to set up regional offices in London and Warsaw.
It was launched last year — it's made up of 23 of the military alliance’s 30 members (notably excluding the US), who will act as limited partners. The fund will invest both directly in startups and in other VCs.
NATO also recently launched an accelerator programme, DIANA, which has a budget of roughly €50m a year to support startups working on innovations that could be used by the alliance’s armies.
After publication, NATO reached out to Sifted to say that they did not think that “defence tech” was an accurate representation of the fund’s scope. “The NIF will prioritise investments into startups developing cutting-edge technological solutions across deeptech verticals, leveraging the tremendous potential for commercial innovation to address critical security challenges — which goes well beyond traditional defence tech.”
Updated at 9am, July 10, 2023: Added a comment from NATO about the investment focus of the fund, and the lede has been updated to reflect this focus.