Defense technology company Anduril Industries Inc. in Costa Mesa has confirmed it’s working with the Australian Defense Force on the development of undersea vehicles, while a published report says the company may be lining up additional financing, this time for $500 million or more.
Anduril and the Australian military are “entering into commercial negotiations for a $100 million, co-funded design, development and manufacturing program for extra large autonomous undersea vehicles (XL-AUVs) for the Royal Australian Navy,” according to a May 4 announcement.
Anduril, started by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey five years ago, will design, develop and manufacture the XL-AUVs in Australia as part of a three-year program.
“There is a clear need for an XL-AUV built in Australia, for Australia,” Luckey said in the announcement earlier this month. “The XL-AUV will harness the latest developments in autonomy, edge computing, sensor fusion, propulsion and robotics to bring advanced capability to the Royal Australian Navy.”
Anduril said in March it had set up an independent entity, Anduril Australia, to design, develop, manufacture, and market major product lines in that country.
That came a month after the company bought underwater drone maker Dive Technologies of suburban Boston on undisclosed terms.
Defense expert and adviser David Goodrich has been named executive chairman and CEO of Anduril Australia, which will have its headquarters in Sydney.
“The Australian Defense Force has long punched above its weight and been in the vanguard of regional security in the Indo-Pacific region, a role they will be asked to play more and more in the coming decades,” Anduril CEO Brian Schimpf said in the statement on March 7.
The announcements did not go into specific issues, though Australia has long been wary of potential national security dangers from China.
Among other notable contract wins of late, Anduril in January announced a 10-year contract worth nearly $1 billion with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop anti-drone systems.
Report: Series E
Anduril, a rapidly growing startup whose drones, sensors and other products use artificial intelligence for a variety defense uses, said in March it employed 950 people globally.
Already one of the country’s better-funded startups, the company is raising capital that could propel its valuation to more than $7 billion from $4.6 billion about a year ago, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told news website TheInformation.com.
Anduril is planning to raise at least $500 million in a Series E round, though that amount could reach $1 billion, the people told the news website in a report published on April 27.
A company spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the report in TheInformation.com about the possible additional financing.
Anduril’s most recent founding round totaled $450 million in a Series D financing.
That more than doubled the company’s valuation to $4.6 billion from its last raise in July 2020, according to an Anduril statement.
The $450 million round was led by Elad Gil, an early investor in the company. Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, Lux Capital, Valor Equity Partners and D1 Capital Partners participated.