UK companies selected for NATO innovation challenge

The Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) works with leading researchers and entrepreneurs across the Alliance, helping them develop technologies to keep NATO populations safe and secure.

DIANA is celebrating a key milestone by selecting 44 of the most promising applicants from across the Alliance to join its pilot challenge cohorts. The cohorts will embark upon a six-month intensive programme to develop their business into promising ventures. DIANA brings together universities, industry and governments to work with start-ups and other innovators to solve strategic dual-use security and defence challenges, growing a new generation of NATO innovators.

The 44 successful companies from across the Alliance have been assigned to one of the five accelerator sites chosen for the pilot programme: Tallinn, Estonia; Turin, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Boston and Seattle in the United States. Starting in January 2024, the companies will embark upon the programme which has been custom-designed for early-stage dual-use start-ups.

For the 2023 pilot challenge call, DIANA focused on three areas:

  • Energy resilience – providing resilient power in disaster or conflict
  • Sensing and surveillance – gathering information from underwater
  • Secure information sharing – providing trusted data anywhere

Through a combination of seminars, workshops, and mentorship, the companies will gain a comprehensive understanding of the dual-use landscape and learn how to successfully navigate both commercial and defence markets. Simultaneously, they will have the opportunity to refine their technologies and products through access to DIANA’s network of Test Centres, comprising over 200 world-leading technical testing facilities.

The most promising companies will then graduate to an additional six-month scaling programme of tailored support and additional grant funding. All of the innovators selected for the DIANA programme will help to maintain NATO’s technological edge by enhancing the Allied innovation ecosystem.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, said:

The DIANA programme encapsulates the collaborative spirit of the NATO alliance, with creative minds joining forces to develop cutting edge technologies to bolster our defence and security capabilities.

Through supporting these pioneering ideas, we strengthen our alliance, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of innovation in safeguarding the collective peace and security of our member nations.

The seven British companies chosen for the DIANA programme are:

Anzen Technology Systems

Based in London, Anzen Technology Systems is an SME that develops privacy technology that anonymizes information and splits it into discrete datasets (data shards), which then are distributed and stored in different locations.

Aquark Technologies

Aquark Technologies, located in Hampshire, is a spin-out of the University of Southampton that provides portability and miniaturisation solutions for quantum technology applications.


AVoptics is an SME based in Yeovil, which specialises in providing engineered photonic solutions for use in harsh environments.

Goldilock Secure

Located in London, Goldilock Secure is developing solutions that allow for the physical segmentation of digital assets and networks remotely, without internet dependence.

Grayscale AI

An SME based in London, Grayscale AI produces optimisation-driven AI, meant to mimic a human’s neural network.


Based in London, IONATE is a technology company developing next generation hybrid intelligent transformers that target flexibility and resilience at strategic points of the electricity system.


SECQAI is an SME based in London, which focuses on next generation cryptography through quantum random number generation.


Notes to editors

  • Out of the seven companies, three have been successful in receiving funding from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA); Anzen Technology Systems, AVoptics and Goldilock.
  • More information on three strategic 2023 focus areas: energy resilience, secure information sharing, and sensing and surveillance can be found here.
  • More information on DIANA can be found here.
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