In July 2023, during the Summit to be held in Vilnius (Lithuania), NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is planning to launch Diana (Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic), a start-up accelerator aimed at recruiting innovative companies in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, quantum-computing, cybersecurity and space.

A fund of 1 billion of euros will be dedicated to finance the best start-ups selected by Diana. This will be the first multinational sovereign venture capital fund, whose strategic objectives can be identified in the search for advanced technological solutions for dealing with the security and defence challenges, the strengthening of deep-tech innovation throughout NATO and the promotion of the success of start-ups operating in deep-tech areas. Indeed, NATO Innovation Fund, with an investment period of 15 years, will offer these start-ups means to overcome the difficulty of attracting investors due to long time-to-market and the high capital intensity of the research.

Mircea Geoană, NATO’s Deputy Secretary and NATO’s Innovation Board chairman, explained that the speed of transformation and competition makes necessary for the North Atlantic Alliance to work with the private sector, overcoming the obstacles made by public tenders, in order to keep up with the new technologies.

The nine emerging technologies on which NATO will focus its efforts have already been identified:

  • artificial intelligence,
  • data,
  • autonomy,
  • biotechnology,
  • hypersonic engines,
  • space,
  • new materials,
  • energy,
  • quantum-computing.

Will Diana be a turning point? Will NATO be able to predict the most strategic sectors and identify the correct solutions for the future of defence?

Certainly, it is very interesting to note how also NATO is looking at the VC sector.