NATO allies have confirmed that it has already awarded the first batch of companies as part of its $1.1 billion innovation fund, that is meant to target the fields of AI, robotics and space technology.

Reuters reported that the alliance of NATO countries revealed the fund's existence during the summer of 2022, months after Russia invaded Ukraine. The billion-dollar fund is backed by 24 of the 32 NATO member states, which includes Finland and Sweden. It was only in April 2023 that Finland joined the alliance, while Sweden joined more recently, particularly in March this year.

NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) revealed on Tuesday that it has invested in four tech companies in Europe, which would help the alliance in fortifying security, defense and resilience.

One of the companies that benefited from the initial tranche of NATO funding is Fractile. The company is a chipmaker that makes LLMs or large language models, similar to those that power ChatGPT, and also to ARX Robotics of Germany. The latter designs unmanned robots that have the capacity to conduct surveillance or do heavy lifting, US News reported.

Two more companies that were awarded were iCOMAT and Space Forge. The first is considered a pioneer in making light materials for automobiles. On the other hand, Welsh company Space Forge, which is an aerospace and defense company, builds semiconductors for space use, particularly for vacuum conditions and microgravity.

"Enabling access to strategic technologies is key to securing a safe and prosperous future for the alliance's one billion citizens," Andrea Traversone, the fund's managing partner stated.

Aside from the four entities mentioned, the fund also partnered with OTB Ventures, Alpine Space Ventures, Vsquared Ventures and Join Capital to help investments in deep tech.

The Fund's investments is expected to remove barriers to growth for emerging technologies in Europe and the UK – from enhancing collective AI capabilities to pushing the boundaries of manufacturing novel materials.

"Congratulations to NIF's investment team on reaching this significant milestone," said Klaus Hommels, Chair, NATO Innovation Fund. "This initial portfolio of investments exemplifies NIF's mission to advance defence, security and resilience and promote the development of dual-use ecosystems across the NATO Alliance."