Forging a stronger future for European technology

Lakestar founder and chairman, Klaus Hommels, participated in the Global Milken Conference 2023 in the panel, From European Dream to Reality, alongside prominent leaders including Micena Geoana Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

The European idea rests on the twin pillars of peace and economic prosperity. In the face of prevailing geopolitical instability, threatening the very foundations of the continent, it is imperative to discuss how to safeguard and strengthen the European dream.

Europe’s dependence on foreign states for crucial resources was brought into stark focus with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis.

But it is not just energy that Europe has outsourced. Technology, innovation and its sources of financing are increasingly controlled by forging states threatening Europe’s sovereignty in other ways.

In an engaging conversation, Klaus explored the role venture, technology, and entrepreneurs play in forging a vision of European sovereignty from his perspective as a seasoned European investor and Chairman of NATO’s Innovation Fund (NIF).

“The NATO Innovation Fund is a combined effort to engage on a journey to finance European technology”

He touched upon the crucial role of innovation in generating wealth for Europe, the need to expand the availability of capital that can invest in technology and how NIF will seek to strengthen the continent’s technological self-sufficiency.

Klaus also discussed the historical gap between R&D investment in Europe vis-à-vis the US. As Europe’s culture of entrepreneurship continues to mature and universities have a greater understanding of the potential to commercialise scientific breakthroughs in sector-defining technologies, change will accelerate.

“The concept of entrepreneurship and risk-taking has progressed massively with young people in Europe,” stated Klaus, “The growing cultural acceptance of the asset class will facilitate its growth and development.”

Deputy Secretary General Micena Geoana responded to Klaus’ insight, highlighting the premium that European venture brings as it strengthens the continent’s economic security and resilience.

Both Klaus and Deputy General Micena Geoana expressed their conviction for the need to unite the tech ecosystem and complement the growing pool of independent sources of financing through NIF.

“NATO has put together NIF, but we also added a sibling to the innovation fund that brings together the best research, test centres and accelerators for new technologies. This is called DIANA - Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic”, added the secretary general. DIANA

The Deputy Secretary General believes involving all NATO member states, regardless of their size, will strengthen the technological capabilities of the alliance.

The panel offered a unique perspective on active efforts to secure Europe’s future as a hotbed for innovation and technology. Watch the full session, From European Dream to Reality here on the Milken institute website.

Related Articles