The AI-based defense firm founded by tech iconoclast Palmer Luckey landed a $ 450 million investment round that values the startup at $ 4.6 billion just four years later.
In April, reports suggested the company was on the hunt for new investment and was heading for a valuation of between $ 4 billion and $ 5 billion, up from $ 1.9 billion in July 2020.
The new Series D round was led by angel investor and serial entrepreneur Elad Gil, former vice president of Twitter and Googler with experience investing in exponentially growing companies. Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, 8VC, General Catalyst, Lux Capital, Valor Equity Partners and D1 Capital Partners also participated in the round.
“Just as old historic institutions with little to no organizational renewal have impacted our ability to respond to COVID, the defense industry has undergone significant consolidation over the past 30 years,” Gil wrote in a blog post on investing. “There has not been a new defense technology company of any size to directly challenge these incumbents for many decades …”
Anduril was quietly launched in 2017, but has grown rapidly, landing contracts with Customs and Border Protection and the Marine Corps during the Trump administration. Luckey, the high-flying young founder who sold Oculus to Facebook before being kicked out of the company, has become one of President Trump’s biggest boosters in the generally anti-Trump tech industry.
The company makes defense hardware, including long-lasting drones and surveillance towers that connect to a shared software platform it calls Lattice. The technology can be used to secure military bases, guard borders, and even knock enemy drones out of the sky, in the case of Anduril’s anti-UAS technology known as “Anvil”.
Anduril co-founder and CEO Brian Schimpf describes the company’s mission as one of “transformation”, combining relatively affordable hardware with sensor fusion and machine learning technologies through a more agile contract partner than the giants established in the defense sector.
“This new round of funding reflects our confidence that the Department of Defense sees the same issues as we do and is committed to deploying emerging technologies on a large scale in land, sea, air and space,” said Schimpf .
The company set its sights on working with the Department of Defense from its earliest days and last year was one of 50 vendors solicited by the DoD to test technology for the Air Force’s own part. Joint All-Domain Command & Control project (JADC2). , which seeks to create a smart warfare platform to connect all of the military, devices, and vehicles that power the U.S. military.
The company’s work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection also went from a pilot to a record high program last year. Anduril provides the agency with connected surveillance towers capable of autonomously monitoring sections of the US border.
In April, Anduril acquired Area-I, a company known for its small drones that can be launched from a larger aircraft. Area-I counted the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and NASA among its clients, relationships that likely softened the deal.