The autocatalytic growth of arbitrarily shaped nanostructures fabricated by electron beam-induced deposition (EBID) and electron beam-induced surface activation (EBISA) is studied for two precursors: iron pentacarbonyl, Fe(CO)5, and cobalt tricarbonyl nitrosyl, Co(CO)3NO. Different deposits are prepared on silicon nitride membranes and silicon wafers under ultrahigh vacuum conditions, and are studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM), including near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy. It has previously been shown that Fe(CO)5 decomposes autocatalytically on Fe seed layers (EBID) and on certain electron beam-activated surfaces, yielding high purity, polycrystalline Fe nanostructures. In this contribution, we investigate the growth of structures from Co(CO)3NO and compare it to results obtained from Fe(CO)5. Co(CO)3NO exhibits autocatalytic growth on Co-containing seed layers prepared by EBID using the same precursor. The growth yields granular, oxygen-, carbon- and nitrogen-containing deposits. In contrast to Fe(CO)5 no decomposition on electron beam-activated surfaces is observed. In addition, we show that the autocatalytic growth of nanostructures from Co(CO)3NO can also be initiated by an Fe seed layer, which presents a novel approach to the fabrication of layered nanostructures.