A defense technology company that acquired Plano-based Martin UAV in 2021 has raised an additional $200 million in capital, boosting the firm’s value to $2.7 billion.
San Diego-based Shield AI makes autonomous drones and other military technology for the U.S. and its allies. The new investment round was led by Thomas Tull’s U.S. Innovative Technology Fund and co-led by Riot Ventures.
Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest also participated, as did returning investors Disruptive and Snowpoint. Andreessen Horowitz, Point 72 and Homebrew are existing backers.
Co-founder and president Brandon Tseng said the company is building technology for “the new age of warfare,” adding that it wants to be the Tesla “for all aviation assets.” He said Shield AI has been working with Israel in its current war with Hamas.
The company’s Hivemind autonomy software enables aircraft to operate without GPS and communication to prevent foreign adversaries like Russia and Iran from halting navigation, Tseng said. When it bought Martin UAV, it said at the time that it planned to integrate Hivemind technology with Martin UAV’s vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft called V-BAT.
Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with Boeing Co. to collaborate on AI and autonomous defense programs. It also recently launched V-BAT Teams, a product using artificial intelligence to allow its V-BAT drones to fly autonomously and work together in groups.
Tseng, a former Navy SEAL, co-founded Shield AI in 2015 with his brother Ryan Tseng and Andrew Reiter. The company has offices in San Diego, Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Katie Roof, Bloomberg