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Defense Tech Startup Shield AI Raises $200M At $2.7B Valuation

Shield AI, the defense and aerospace startup creating AI pilots, raised a $200 million Series F at a $2.7 billion valuation.

The round was co-led by Riot Ventures and Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology Fund, with participation from Ark Investment and returning investors Disruptive and Snowpoint Ventures.

The round comes less than a year after the San Diego-based company was valued at $2.2 billion after raising $60 million in December.

Shield AI’s software, Hivemind, enables aircraft to operate autonomously in high-threat environments.

“We’re building the world’s best AI pilot to ensure air superiority and deter conflict because we believe the greatest victory requires no war,” said co-founder and President Brandon Tseng, in a release. “This funding accelerates the scaling of Shield AI’s products, enabling the deployment of intelligent, affordable mass — the most important non-nuclear deterrent for the next 30 years.”

Founded in 2015, Shield AI has raised approximately $773 million, according to Crunchbase.

Defense tech cash

The Shield AI round is the biggest this year for any defense tech startup.

Defense tech historically has not drawn the venture capital associated with many other tech sectors. Crunchbase data shows that last year, U.S.-based defense tech startups saw only $2.1 billion invested in 58 total deals — and that includes Anduril’s $1.5 billion Series E in December.

This year such startups have raised less than $600 million — including Shield AI’s massive round.

That is not unusual for defense technologies. Despite Silicon Valley-developed tech being used by the military for decades, some investors have shied away from the space for moral reasons, and tech companies have been wary of letting their tech be used for military purposes.

Related reading:

Venture To Defense Tech Startups Still Lags, But Experts Say Interest Is Growing

Defense Tech Startup Anduril Raises Massive $1.5B Round At $8.5B Valuation

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Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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