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EIF and NATO Innovation Fund join forces to unlock private capital for Europe's defence and security future


The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in supporting the long-term growth of the defence, security, and resilience sectors across Europe. The EIF is part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the NIF is a standalone venture-capital fund backed by 24 NATO countries.

The MoU aims to encourage more private-capital funds to become active investors in technology sectors associated with defence and security, enabling EU companies to raise equity funding from a broader range of sources. The partnership reflects the shared interest of the NIF and EIF in establishing a framework to support start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps, as well as in enhancing the whole ecosystem by involving all the main stakeholders.

"By facilitating regular dialogue and knowledge sharing, the EIF and NIF will ensure a cohesive approach to strengthening the investment ecosystem for defence, security and resilience,” said Marjut Falkstedt, chief executive of the EIF. “This will benefit SMEs, midcaps, and the broader European innovation landscape."

The MoU also outlines plans for EIF-NIF cooperation on ad-hoc activities to share knowledge and raise awareness about the potential of investments in defence and security. This will help foster a comprehensive investment ecosystem, ensure effective outreach to private-capital funds, support companies in their investment plans and raise awareness of the investment opportunities in the defence, security, and resilience sectors among limited partners.

The collaboration with the NIF also is in line with the EIB Group's Security and Defence Action Plan, which is expected to support the effort primarily through the EIB's venture-debt product designed to address the funding needs of innovative companies, and which may complement EIF and NIF venture capital and private-equity funding in some cases. The signatories will also exchange information with the European Commission in areas where its potential involvement may prove beneficial for the purposes of the MoU.

“There is great momentum in deep tech that is propelling innovations to help strengthen European defence, security and resilience,” said Andrea Traversone, Managing Partner, NATO Innovation Fund. “We are excited to be collaborating with the EIF, the EIB Group and the Commission to unlock investment opportunities for European businesses, advance capacity building for dual-use innovation, and share best practices across investors, innovators and government.”

The collaboration between EIF and NIF will also focus on the design of new financial products to cater for companies’ needs. The strategic alliance between the EIF and NIF represents a significant step forward in strengthening Europe's defence and security capabilities, unlocking new avenues for private investment, and driving innovation in these vital sectors.

About the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group is the financing arm of the European Union, owned by its member states. It supports sound investments that contribute to EU policy objectives.

Financing for Europe’s security and defence industry is among the EIB Group’s strategic priorities. We provide a comprehensive range of financial support and solutions designed to meet the demands of companies and public sector entities in the security and defence sector, regardless of their size. From reconnaissance and surveillance, spectrum protection and control, to cybersecurity solutions, infrastructure and military mobility, our financing solutions are designed to bolster projects that keep Europe safe, resilient, and innovative.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

About the NATO Innovation Fund:

The NATO Innovation Fund is a venture capital fund, backed by 24 NATO Allies, that deploys more than €1 billion in deep tech to address challenges in defence, security, and resilience. The fund invests independently, with 24 nations supporting its portfolio’s success and helping provide deep tech entrepreneurs with access to both commercial and government markets.

Participating NATO Allies are: Belgium; Bulgaria; Czechia; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Spain; Sweden; Türkiye; United Kingdom

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