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OC Insider: Palmer’s Press

“I’m not doing this for the money,” said Palmer Luckey, speaking of Costa Mesa’s Anduril Industries, which he founded in 2017 and now has a valuation reportedly approaching $10 billion, making it far and away Orange County’s most valuable startup.

Having gained billions from the sale of Irvine’s Oculus VR to Facebook in 2014, “I have plenty of money,” Luckey said during a roughly two-hour meeting at Anduril’s HQ last Thursday when the company unveiled its latest product, Roadrunner, which officials call the first reusable weapon in modern warfare.

Instead, the mission of Anduril to “reboot” the technology driving the U.S. military “is the most important thing I can do,” Luckey said.

“I’m very passionate about this.”

That passion was on display last week, when Luckey spent nearly an hour after the Roadrunner unveiling to show off existing products like its Anvil counter-drone product, Dive submarine, and Ghost helicopter platforms.

What’s more, there are plenty of other products currently under development, which the company has yet to unveil. A new, 200K-SF R&D facility that opened in November along Harbor Boulevard at the company’s expansive campus will play a large part in those efforts.

See the front page for more on the Roadrunner, which Luckey called “definitely my favorite” among Anduril’s line of tech-heavy defense-related offerings.

Anduril Industries is often wary of saying when or where many of its products are being used, due in part to confidentiality agreements and government regulations.

Last week’s meeting gave the company the opportunity to give some insight into its work supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

Luckey said that Anduril has been involved in the conflict since the second week of the war, and its employees have been on the ground in the country to help their forces learn to use their products.

Not all Anduril products have made as big an impact as hoped, Luckey noted. The company’s long-range Altius drone-like products were seen by the U.S. military as having the unwanted potential to escalate the conflict, given their potential to fly deep into Russian territory, and as a result haven’t been used too much, he said.

Luckey said he’s twice met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, once in Kyiv and once in the U.S.

Zelensky became aware of Anduril after reading a report on the company in tech publication Wired, and reached out to Luckey, he said.

“I have an affinity for him.”

Palmer Luckey planned to major in journalism and was the online editor of the school paper at California State University of Long Beach, prior to leaving to start Oculus VR.

The journalism connection still continues at the former LA Times printing press facility in Costa Mesa, where Anduril Industries now has its HQ.

The company’s internal newsletter is titled the “Palmer Press” and appears to be written in part by the company’s founder.

Company officials requested that we didn’t read the publication due to confidential info in it.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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