AI Startup Roundup: Defense Tech Startup Closes Series E at $225MAI Startup Roundup: Defense Tech Startup Closes Series E at $225M
Also, startup fund raises in quantum computing, cybersecurity and auto ML
January 9, 2023
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Startup: Shield AI - San Diego, California-based developer of military-grade hardware and software products for autonomous drones and fighter planes.
Among its products, Shield’s Hivemind software is an AI pilot for military and commercial aircraft. Hivemind enables full autonomy of aircraft and can be used for penetrating air defense systems and dogfighting.
Latest funding: Total of $225 million for series E - $150 million in equity and $75 million in debt. The initial part of Shields series E closed back in June.
Latest investor: U.S. Innovative Technology Fund (USIT)
Previous investors: Riot Ventures, Disruptive, Homebrew
Funding plans: The funds will go towards its tech, with co-founder and former Navy Seal Brandon Tseng saying Shield is “racing to put up swarms of highly intelligent aircraft to deter the next conflict.”
Startup: Oxford Ionics - Quantum computing startup that is focusing on trapped ions. Instead of lasers, its trapped-ion processors use a proprietary, patented Electronic Qubit Control (EQC) system that lets the company combine the quantum performance of individual atoms with the scalability and reliability of electronics integrated into silicon chips.
Latest funding: $36 million, series A
Lead investors: Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers
Other investors: Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, 2xN, Torch Partners and Hermann Hauser (founder of chip giant Arm)
Funding plans: The startup will use the funds to hire additional staff across software development, including engineers, designers and scientists, as well as a back-office team.
Startup: Protect AI - Newly emerged from stealth, Protect is a cybersecurity company focused on the security of artificial intelligence and machine learning systems.
Protect’s NB Defense product is designed to address vulnerabilities in computing platforms such as Jupyter Notebooks used in the early stages of building ML models.
Latest funding: $13.5 million, seed funding
Lead investors: Acrew Capital, Boldstart ventures
Other investors: Knollwood Capital, Pelion Ventures, Avisio Ventures
Funding plans: After launching NB Defense for free, Protect has “many more innovations” soon to be released across the entire ML supply chain, according to CEO and co-founder Ian Swanson.
Startup: Profet AI – The Taiwanese developer of auto machine learning solutions aims to help solve problems in factories by building high-quality predictive models that can rapidly deploy AI applications.
Latest funding: $5.6 million, series A
Lead investor: Darwin Ventures
Other investors: Hive Ventures, AUO, SVTI Harbinger Venture Capital and Jensen-Capital Management
Funding plans: Profet plans to use the funds to accelerate its overseas expansion into Japan, Southeast Asia and China, further develop its AutoML Virtual Data Scientist Platform and Ready To Go Applications and accelerate new product development.
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