“Reclaiming Silicon Valley’s roots”
Founded: 2017,Orange County, California, USA

Category: Aerospace, Computer Vision, National Security

Primary office:Orange County, California, USA

Core technical team:

Orange County, California, USA

Status: Private

Employees: 101-250

Amount raised:USD$241million (4 rounds – April 2020)

OVERVIEW

  • Mission to dislodge large defense contractors and radically evolve defense capabilities through the exploitation of breakthroughs in consumer and commercial technology
  • Offers Artificial Intelligence based surveillance systems (land- and air-based)
  • Competences include artificial intelligence, machine learning, chip manufacturing, autonomous small unmanned aircraft systems, surveillance sensors
  • Team drawn from successful Silicon Valley companies – Oculus, Palantir, General Atomics, SpaceX and Google
  • Applying Silicon Valley methods to the defense industry

PERFORMANCE METRICS

  • Valuation: USD$1.9 billion (July 2020)
  • Revenue: Reported 30 contracts worth $200 million (with US federal government); no public annual breakdown; TechnInquiry estimates potential contract values could exceed USD $500 million

 

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Fastest security company to achieve “federal program of record” – funding directly from U.S. Congress
  • Rare example of a venture-backed company that receives the majority of its income from government. (SpaceX is another example – which beat out Boeing to get U.S. astronauts back into space using innovative approaches.)
  • Less than 3-years to attain almost $2 billion valuation

Sells

  • Lattice platform – Artificial intelligence software that is the foundational product and backbone that uses machine learning, sensor fusion and mesh networking to provide an autonomous operating picture (situational awareness). All Anduril products use a Lattice AI core for sensor fusion, target classification and multi-track reconciliation
  • Sentry tower – Hardware autonomous awareness solution equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and Lattice with compact footprint, hardened onboard processing and solar power architecture. Rapidly deployable in austere/remote locations (such as along the US/Mexican border)
  • Ghost sUAS – Autonomous vertical takeoff and landing small unmanned aircraft system for unmanned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance). Single operator can accomplish complex tasks from a single airframe to large swarms. Modularity allows for a variety of sensors, payloads and power sources
  • Anvil sUAS – Hardware-based precision kinetic intercept using physical speed and onboard guidance, informed by Lattice, to autonomously seek and destroy drone threats

Channels

  • Partnerships with US government clients (primarily)
  • US “program of record” – direct funding from U.S. Congress
  • New US government procurement vehicles that prioritize innovation

Competencies

  • Big data, cloud, AI/ML – expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning applied to U.S. government pain points (currently focused on perimeter security)
  • Technology – application of consumer/commercial technologies (e.g., offers rely on the same chip technology developed by Tesla and other companies for driverless cars)
  • Business model – Dislodge large defense contractors and radically evolve defense capabilities through the exploitation of breakthroughs in consumer and commercial technology; perform own R&D rather than contracted R&D

Distinct AI Features

Type

  • Machine learning

 

  AI use

  • Anduril uses Artificial Intelligence-Machine learning to provide solutions to US Department of Defense and other federal clients (currently focused on surveillance)

Rate of return on customer’s investment to make AI work

Immediate:

  • Surveillance products that are easy to deploy, use, and have a variety of use cases (e.g., border security, base defenses, critical infrastructure, and counter drones)

Long term:

  • Disruption of antiquated defense market dominated by three large defense companies allowing for innovative and timely solutions

Databases

  • Real-time ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) data gathered from a cross-selection of sensors – no facial recognition or other personal identification data

Quantum Computing

  • No explicit mention of quantum computing in Anduril collateral. Generically, quantum computing is expected to enable artificial intelligence by, for example, handling huge amounts of data, building better models and more accurate algorithms, and using multiple datasets (integrating datasets more quickly)

Resources

Assets

  • Experienced and successful founding team
  • Broad range of technical competencies – including software, hardware (chip design), artificial intelligence, etc.
  • Lattice platform that provides artificial intelligence backbone that uses sensor fusion, machine learning and mesh networking enabling autonomous functionality
  • Investors committed to disrupting the defense industry
  • Partnerships with US government clients

Processes

  • Performs its own R&D – does not rely on government contract R&D
  • Works directly with government clients on critical Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision challenges
  • Repurposes consumer and commercial technology to defense needs
  • Learn by doing – will send engineers into deployment spaces – including battlefields
  • Silicon Valley processes for rapid client-focused development of products and solutions

Priorities

  • To build an inventive company in the defense industry (Investor view: Disrupt antiquated markets untouched by technology that have a major societal impact)
  • Provide clients with actionable intelligence within minutes of product activation
  • Adapt consumer and commercial technology and supporting development processes to defense needs
  • Broaden client base from initial non-defense government sector to large defense market
  • Bring venture capital funding to defense
  • Deploy 200 autonomous surveillance towers in 2020 (mostly along US/Mexico boundary)

References

  1. Anduril website. 2020. https://www.anduril.com/
  2. Brustein, J. (2020). Peter Thiel-backed surveillance startup Anduril is valued at $1.9 billion. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-01/anduril-startup-backed-by-peter-thiel-is-valued-at-1-9-billion
  3. Gregg, A. 2020. Silicon Valley tech start-up Anduril raises $200 million to create a software-driven Defense Dept. contractor. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/01/silicon-valley-tech-start-up-anduril-raises-200-million-create-software-driven-defense-company/
  4. Lewis, L. 2019. Resolving the battle over Artificial intelligence in war.https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03071847.2019.1694228?casa_token=Nl5yB2hKiwAAAAAA%3A65-x1NWcQ4ieqODQ8l7COw1T2NudZDLeUXoDqADmXxnUmExOx6UT45hzHMNAwOyQ81UInv-Asj-DuZ4
  5. Miroff, N. 2020. Trump administration hires tech firm to build a virtual border wall, and idea Democrats have praised. https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-virtual-border-wall/2020/07/02/7b380490-b0ac-11ea-a567-6172530208bd_story.html
  6. Swayne, M. 2020. Four ways quantum computing will change artificial intelligence forever. https://thequantumdaily.com/2020/01/23/four-ways-quantum-computing-will-change-artificial-intelligence-forever/
  7. Wattles, J. 2020. How SpaceX and NASA overcame a bitter culture clash to bring back US astronaut launches. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/09/business/spacex-nasa-astronaut-launch-demo-2-culture-clash-scn/index.html

Contributors

  • Dan Craigen