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
More than just capital, the NIF brings together an investment team with over six decades of deep tech experience
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Board of Directors
The NIF's Founding Team is supported by an esteemed Board of Directors, who will supervise the investment manager
Dr. Klaus Hommels
Dr. Hommels is the Founder and Chairman of venture capital firm Lakestar, one of Europe's leading technology investors. He is the current Chair of InvestEurope, the association representing European Private Equity and Venture Capital, and a member of the UK Capital Markets Industry Taskforce. He serves on a number of digital boards and think tanks, such as the Security Innovation Board for the Munich Security Conference. Klaus is a frequent voice on the European ecosystem promoting the need for greater sovereignty in financing and technology. Klaus has been recognized numerous times by the Midas List for his investment track record in companies such as Spotify, Klarna, Revolut and AirBnB.
Dame Fiona Murray
Dame Fiona is the Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Management and the William Porter (1967) Professor of Entrepreneurship. She is the Co-Director of MIT’s Innovation Initiative and Faculty Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development. Dame Fiona is an associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves on British Prime Minister’s Council on Science and Technology. She received her BA ’89 and MA ‘90 from the University of Oxford in chemistry. She subsequently moved to the United States and earned an AM ’92 and PhD ’96 from Harvard University in applied sciences.
Dr. Roberto Cingolani
Dr. Cingolani is the former Italian Minister for the Ecological Transition and founded the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, which he also led as Scientific Director. Dr. Cingolani currently serves as Leonardo’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager. He was a staff member at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart and a Visiting Professor at Tokyo University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Cingolani founded the National Nanotechnology Laboratory of the Italian Institute for the Physics of Matter. He has served as an Advisor for the Ministry of Research and University as well as for the European Commission.
Mr. Agerup is a global partner at early stage VC firm Antler from January 2020. Previously CEO of Oslotech AS from 2010-2020, co-founder and General partner of Northzone Ventures from 1997–2009, co-founder and CEO of Hugin ASA and project manager in McKinsey & Company. Mr. Agerup has extensive board experience, including from companies such as DNB ASA, Zalaris ASA and Startuplab AS (chair). He is currently the Board Chair of leading Nordic media company Schibsted and has since 2010 been an alternate board member in the Tinius Trust. Mr. Agerup is a graduate of Copenhagen Business School and holds a Master of Science in Management from MIT.
Ebru Dorman is an accomplished VC investor with 20+ years experience in corporate venture capital and angel investing with a deep appreciation for adaption challenges. Her career began at McKinsey & Co. She has been an investment manager with Morgan Stanley Strategic Ventures and Orange Ventures, based in London, followed by senior executive roles in marketing, strategy, M&A and P&L management in the telecommunications and healthcare sectors in Europe and Asia. She has served as founding chair of an accelerator and micro-VC, and LPAC member of VC and PE funds. Currently, she is an investor in a VC fund with deep tech focus. She is an angel investor and mentors founders globally. Ebru has been chairwoman and director since 2015 on a diverse range of boards including large corporates, technology companies and NGOs. She currently serves as an independent board member at HSBC Bank Turkiye and Saran Media Group. She has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a MS degree in Industrial Engineering from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Ari Kristinn Jónsson
Dr. Jónsson is the CEO of AwareGO and the Chair of Videntifier Technologies. Over the last 15 years, he has worked on various projects related to innovation and entrepreneurship in Iceland. Dr. Jónsson has been board member of high-tech startup companies and involved in strategy and policy development for the government. In 2007, he joined Reykjavik University and in 2010 he was appointed president of the university. Dr. Jónsson worked previously for 10 years at NASA as a senior research scientist and a manager. He graduated with a PhD from Stanford University in 1997, with focus on artificial intelligence.
Mr. Salm has served as the permanent secretary of Ministry of Defence of Estonia since May 2021. He was previously director general of the Estonian Centre of Defence Investment. Mr. Salm joined the Ministry of Defence of Estonia in 2007, working as an advisor for EU defence policy. He later moved on to other positions, including armaments cooperation counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Estonia to NATO (2011-15) and director of the defence investments department (2016-19). In 2017, Mr Salm was the chief negotiator and chairman of the EU working group on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme. Kusti Salm is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Tartu, as improved himself professionally in the field of business management, in Holland, and through armament cooperation courses, in France.
Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands
Prince Constantijn is co-founder of TechLeap.NL and serves as ‘Special Envoy’, as previously at StartupDelta. He is board member of the €20Bn National Growth Fund, investing in frontier technologies in The Netherlands. Prince Constantijn is an independent adviser on corporate innovation and jointly initiated Startup Fest Europe. He is also Director of Digital Technology and Macro Strategy at Macro Advisory Partners in London and Edge Fellow at Deloitte Center for the Edge. The Prince was member of a 15-strong High Level Group of Innovators that advised the European Commission on establishing the European Innovation Council. The ambition being to improve Europe's performance in breakthrough, market-creating innovation. In 2017, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien set up the Number 5 Foundation, a charity that is currently developing various innovative initiatives to address a range of social issues. Previously, he worked as a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in London, as adviser on EU communications at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and set up and lead the Brussels office of the RAND Corporation. He gained his master's degree in law from Leiden University where he specialised in civil law and studied business economics at the European Institute of Business Administration in Fontainebleau (INSEAD).
Mr. Raj Shah is currently the Managing Partner of Shield Capital, a venture fund based in San Francisco. He is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of Resilience. Previously, he was the founding Director of the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx now DIU), reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense. Mr. Shah led DIUx in its efforts to strengthen the U.S. Armed Forces through accelerating commercial technology into the Pentagon. Before that he was senior director of strategy at Palo Alto Networks, which acquired Morta Security, where he was CEO. Mr. Shah began his business career as a consultant with McKinsey & Co. He serves as an F-16 pilot in the Air National Guard and has completed multiple combat tours. Mr. Shah also founded the Nanubhai Education Foundation, which provides higher education to financially vulnerable women in India. He holds an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from The Wharton School.
David van Weel
David van Weel is NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. He is the Secretary General’s primary advisor on emerging security challenges and their implications for the security of the Alliance and a member of the Secretary General’s senior management team. Prior to joining NATO, David van Weel was the Foreign Policy and Defense Advisor for the Prime Minister of The Netherlands (2016-2020). This position followed a long career in The Netherlands Ministry of Defence, where he ended as Director for International Affairs and Operations/ Policy Director (2014-2016) after serving as the Chief of Cabinet for the Minister of Defence and the Permanent Secretary (2012-2014) and as the senior policy officer for amongst others operations in Afghanistan and Libya, NATO, nuclear policy and disarmament, special operations and the preparation of the Defence Budget. David started his career in the Royal Netherlands Navy, where, upon completion of the Naval Academy (1994-1999), he served on different frigates, served in the British Royal Navy as an exchange officer, worked as a Staff Officer for Middle and Eastern European countries in the Defence Staff and ended as a Primary Warfare officer and Navigation Officer.