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NATO announces $1B fund to back startups supporting ‘safety, freedom and human empowerment’ on August 1, 2023 at 7:53 am



After announcing plans nearly two years ago, defense alliance NATO has officially closed its first fund to back startups that are building technology strategic to NATO’s own goals in defense and security.

Member nations are collectively committing capital totalling €1 billion (around $1 billion at current rates) to the NATO Innovation Fund, which plans to make both direct investments in startups, as well as indirect investments in other funds that in turn back startups focused on emerging and disruptive technologies that are “responsible and led by fundamental principles: safety, freedom, and human empowerment.” Areas of focus will include AI and autonomy, biotechnology, quantum computing, space technology and hypersonic systems, energy, new manufacturing and materials, and next-generation communications.

Modelled somewhat on In-Q-Tel in the U.S., the idea will be to keep the investments strategic, with some (but maybe not all) investments leading to services that its member states, or NATO itself, might use. The NIF will look mainly at early stage investments — that is from pre-seed through to Series B — and it might also make follow-on investments. Initial checks will be up to €15 million. The first investments will be announced in September, the organization said; none have been made so far.


The aim is to operate NIF like a “classic VC.” That is to say, there will be future funds, and it’s been designed to exist in perpetuity, a spokesperson said.

Many countries have notably set up sovereign funds that back technology startups and investors, both in their own countries and in other geographies and categories viewed as strategic; NATO says that its Innovation Fund will be the “first multi-sovereign venture capital fund,” covering contributions from NATO members.

The 23 countries involved in the first NATO Innovation Fund sub-fund 1 are Belgium; Bulgaria; Czechia; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Spain; Turkey; United Kingdom. Sweden will also be joining the group following its full accession to NATO, and that will add an additional €40 million into the pot, a spokesperson confirmed.

NATO has long been a player in procurement, but this shifts its focus to working with businesses that might also have an indirect impact on the security postures of its member countries.


That could include cybersecurity, but also deep tech, as well as technologies that can help countries develop better energy or other resource independence.

Priorities like these have become especially stark in recent years. Russia’s invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine has highlighted just how interconnected countries are economically in Europe, and how interrupting production and supply chains in one can have huge, detrimental impacts in others. Similarly, over-dependence on single technology companies for certain services is also especially risky, and so spreading bets and diversifying the markets and putting money into that effort also helps build NATO’s security posture.

At the same time, the adoption of newer technologies and innovations has clearly shaped up as a critical component of how nations — or a consortium of nations — defend themselves in the twenty-first century (and of course nations and states use innovation also for offence, not just defense). Given the role that startups and newer businesses are playing in that innovation economy, NATO taking bigger steps to captalize on that is equally critical right now.

The fund is being set up with a founding team that will take on an executive role, leading on sourcing and making investments. That will be complemented by a board of directors that will have more of a non-executive role, providing advice and helping to steer those decisions.  The founding team will include managing partner Andrea Traversone supported by Kelly Chen, Thorsten Claus, Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky and Chris O’Connor. The board will be led by Dr. Klaus Hommels (who founded Lakestar), Dame Fiona Murray and Dr. Roberto Cingolani.


Given the layers of drawn-out bureaucracy — or, in a more charitable light, checks and balances — that NATO has had in place since its inception after World War II, it will be interesting to see how the Innovation Fund operates — and specifically, whether it figures out how to move in a more nimble way to be more responsive to the startup ecosystem.

The “In venture capital, the senior management team are the brains behind investment decisions,” David van Weel, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, said in a statement provided over email. “I am confident that the NATO Innovation Fund’s Founding Team has the experience, drive and capability necessary to deliver the NIF’s mission.”

Other questions that have yet to be addressed publicly are whether NATO will have any red lines in terms of what kinds of companies it would not back, and whether it will have restrictions on who it would co-invest with, and if so what those might be. Nor is it clear if NATO will be transparent on every investment that it makes, or whether there will be some that remain undisclosed.

Answers to questions we put forward on these subjects might be addressed in the update in September. (Or, they might not.)


The innovation fund is one part of a one-two punch that NATO is making to broker more engagement with startups and innovation-focused businesses in its footprint. It’s also building out the DIANA accelerator to back and work more closely with startups that are building “dual-tech” solutions — those that might have a very direct and obvious application in NATO’s core activities, but also longer term applications that might not.

​ After announcing plans nearly two years ago, defense alliance NATO has officially closed its first fund to back startups that are building technology strategic to NATO’s own goals in defense and security. Member nations are collectively committing capital totalling €1 billion (around $1 billion at current rates) to the NATO Innovation Fund, which plans to 

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TikTok Sues US Gov’t



TikTok is suing the US government to stop the enforcement of a bill that seeks to force the app’s Chinese owner to sell the app or face a ban. The lawsuit argues that the bill violates constitutional protections of free speech and is an “unprecedented violation” of the First Amendment.

Visit of Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, to the European Commission


  • The bill, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, was passed last month.
  • The lawsuit was filed in the US Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, DC.
  • TikTok argues that the bill is a permanent, nationwide ban on a single speech platform and restricts free speech without sufficient reason.

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Government Response

  • The Department of Justice has not commented on the lawsuit.
  • A White House spokesperson directed a request for comment to the Justice Department.
  • John Moolenaar, chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, stated that TikTok poses a grave risk to national security and the American people.

Legal Proceedings

  • The lawsuit is expected to add to an already lengthy timeline for a potential ban or sale of the app.
  • ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese owner, already had over a year to make a move, and legal proceedings will pause the timeline, meaning it could be years before a ban goes into effect.

TikTok’s Efforts

  • TikTok has made efforts to assure the public and US officials that it takes data security seriously.
  • In 2022, the company started “Project Texas,” a move meant to provide data security and transparency around the information the app collects about US users.


  • The lawsuit states that Congress has not offered any evidence suggesting that TikTok poses data security risks or foreign propaganda spread that could justify the law.
  • TikTok claims the law violates the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment and is an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

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Universal Music Group & TikTok Partner in New Licensing Agreement



In a monumental move, Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok have announced a pioneering licensing agreement that will transform the music landscape. This historic deal unites UMG’s vast music catalog with TikTok’s massive user base, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for artists, songwriters, and fans worldwide.

Visit of Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, to the European Commission

A New Era for Music Consumption and Monetization

The agreement marks a significant milestone in the UMG-TikTok relationship, allowing users to once again create videos featuring music from global superstars and emerging talent. The deal also paves the way for innovative monetization opportunities, with TikTok investing in artist-centric tools and campaigns to support UMG artists across genres and territories globally.
A Shared Commitment to Valuing Music and Creativity
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, and Shou Chew, CEO of TikTok, hailed the agreement as a “new chapter” in their partnership, built on a shared commitment to promoting the value of music, human artistry, and the welfare of the creative community.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG on the left of the photo.

Addressing Generative AI Concerns
The deal also tackles concerns around generative AI, with TikTok committing to work with UMG to ensure that AI development in the music industry protects human creativity and the economics that flow to artists and songwriters.
Deeper Connections and Responsible AI Development
Ole Obermann, TikTok’s Global Head of Music Business Development, emphasized that the agreement will “create deeper connections between artists, creators, and fans” and ensure that AI tools are developed responsibly to enable a new era of musical creativity and fan engagement.
Transformational Partnerships and Advancements
Michael Nash, Chief Digital Officer and EVP of UMG, welcomed the renewed relationship with TikTok, citing the potential for “transformational partnerships” and “significant advancements” in commercial and marketing opportunities, as well as protections for UMG’s industry-leading roster.
A Win for the Music Industry
This groundbreakingagreement is a major victory for the music industry, which has long sought to strike a balance between promoting artistic creativity and protecting the rights of artists and songwriters in the digital age. With UMG and TikTok working together, the possibilities for innovation and growth are endless, and fans can look forward to enjoying music from their favorite artists in new and exciting ways.
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House of Lords to Host Nigerian Innovators



Clean Cyclers, alongside Sustainability Unscripted and other sustainability partners, is gearing up to host the 3rd Edition of the Global Sustainability Summit in the United Kingdom. Scheduled for March 28 – 29, 2024, at the prestigious House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, the summit aims to raise awareness, promote collaboration across disciplines, tackle global challenges with local solutions, and advocate for social equity.

Canon Otto, the organizer and founder of Clean Cyclers, emphasized the summit’s commitment to inclusivity, prioritizing climate action, environmental stewardship, and identifying policy pathways for sustainable development. Under the theme “Advancing Sustainability, a Journey Towards a Greener Future,” the summit will gather leading visionaries, experts, innovators, and change-makers from global corporations, organizations, and government agencies to brainstorm strategies for adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability Businessman Otton Canon

The summit will feature panel sessions addressing urgent topics such as climate action, circular economy, renewable energy revolution, sustainable cities, biodiversity conservation, green finance, sustainable agriculture, and climate justice. Additionally, it will recognize and celebrate companies, governments, organizations, and individuals demonstrating commitment to sustainability through practical initiatives and the realization of short-term objectives and long-term goals.

In a statement, the organizers highlighted the broad spectrum of sustainability practices, policies, and innovations aimed at mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, protecting natural resources, and promoting social equity. The theme “Advancing Sustainability” underscores the need for a shift from short-term exploitative approaches to long-term regenerative ones, reflecting humanity’s ability to learn, adapt, and innovate.


The summit aims to foster knowledge exchange, collaboration, and actionable solutions over two days of physical gathering at the House of Parliament in London. Participants will explore diverse perspectives, share knowledge, and work together to shape strategies that drive meaningful change and accelerate progress towards a sustainable future.

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