The people behind the impact, working alongside a Board of Directors and Limited Partners at the highest levels of government, venture capital, innovation and defence

Founding Team

More than just capital, the NIF brings together an investment team with over six decades of deep tech experience

Andrea Traversone
Managing Partner

Andrea leads the NIF’s unique platform and its experienced team, focusing on the successful delivery of the firm’s commercial and strategic goals. Whilst investing in technology over the past 25 years, Andrea has developed a strong belief that innovation in EDTs must be led by fundamental values: safety, freedom, and human empowerment. Funding should be directed towards accelerating the development of technologies that progress these values.

Previously Andrea was Managing Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners – one of Europe’s leading deep tech venture capital firms. During his time at Amadeus Andrea backed and worked with inspiring entrepreneurs building disruptive deep tech companies such as Oxford Nanopore (LSE IPO), Igenomix (acquired by EQT), Iyzico (acquired by Prosus), Octo Telematics, Veritas Int. and Travel Lab Global. Andrea has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Cambridge University. Away from work, Andrea enjoys studying epistemology, reading quantum computing academic papers, exploring nature in Costa Rica and attempting to reach his daily 10,000 steps target.

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Kelly Chen

Kelly leads the portfolio’s commercial success at the NIF, ensuring that our deep tech start-ups get a front row seat to proprietary pain points of the largest, most relevant global customers. As an investor and board member, she works closely with deep tech founders on strategy and commercialization, and the million other obstacles that will come up while building a successful company.

Previously, Kelly was a Partner at DCVC, a $3B AUM deep tech venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley, where she led investments and served on the board of companies building revolutionary tech in AI, robotics, manufacturing, logistics, and sustainability. Earlier, Kelly was a fixed-income derivatives trader in New York, overseeing nearly $2B, an angel investor, and had built out a new securitized trading product for a global investment bank. It was in that quantitative role that she started relentlessly focusing on the non-quantitative side of business – understanding customer needs, the sales process, and building trust. Kelly has a BS/MS from Columbia Engineering and an MBA from Wharton. Outside of work, she can be found in the ocean, collecting data on the best dive locations or optimizing the max speed on her eFoil.

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Thorsten Claus

Thorsten leads the NIF's fund-of-funds platform, identifying and working with the most relevant emerging and established venture capital managers across all NATO regions to build regional capacity, jumpstart ecosystems, and increase global visibility for the most critical product, technology, and service innovations.

Previously, Thorsten was a Partner at Northgate Capital, a $4.8B AUM SEC-registered investment advisor for private equity and venture capital fund-of-funds, co-investments, direct investments, and secondaries. As a member of the firm-wide Investment Committee, he oversaw the growth across all of Northgate's products. As an Investment Partner, Thorsten evaluated 700+ managers annually and led direct investments in revolutionary tech companies in robotics, quantum computing, cybersecurity, and critical IT infrastructure. Outside of work, Thorsten balances his busy work life with wilderness hikes and camping, teaching graduate classes at UC Berkeley and Northeastern University, and tinkering with historic race car suspensions.

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Chris O’Connor

Chris leads the NIF’s technology adoption for our companies who see government as a customer, collaborator or competitor. He invests in and support founders who accept the mission to build solutions for today’s most critical security challenges. He helps companies navigate regulated environments, develop go-to-market strategy, and hire top talent in aerospace, defence, autonomy, energy, supply chain and more.

Prior to joining the NIF, Chris was a Partner at Harpoon Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in enterprise and deep technology. He worked closely with founders to close over €500M in total contract value from customers in government, defense, and large corporates. Earlier, Chris served his country as an officer in the US Air Force, procuring aerospace capabilities from satellites to launch vehicles and helicopters. He has a BS in Systems Engineering from the US Air Force Academy, ME in the same from the Air Force Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of California Los Angeles. Chris enjoys time with his 3 year old Australian Shepherd, getting lost in the mountains, and eating his way through new places.

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Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky

Patrick leads capacity and ecosystem building at the NIF and is responsible for our Central and Eastern Europe coverage. He will be based between our planned regional offices in London and Warsaw and will work closely with start-ups, other VC funds, NATO’s DIANA, as well as industry and government partners, to ensure that the NIF delivers on its mission boost deep tech entrepreneurship and foster innovation in regions where there is too much talent and too little venture capital.

Previously, Patrick was a founder and partner at Beast Ventures, where he focused on seed stage deep tech in Europe and invested in start-ups in food security, health, AI, data, autonomous systems and biotech. Prior to that, Patrick worked in foreign policy and spent several years in the corporate intelligence and security industry where he supported international companies operating in Central and Eastern Europe. Patrick has a BA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, a MSc in US Foreign Policy from the University of London and a MS in Management Science from MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also the founder of Capital Acceleration for Sovereign Technology and Resilience (CASTAR) - a group focused on connecting dual use start-ups with government - and is a cofounder of MIT Alumni Angels U.K.

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Board of Directors

The NIF's Founding Team is supported by an esteemed Board of Directors, who will supervise the investment manager

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