Startups Venture

Surveillance-Defense Company Anduril Reportedly Reaches Unicorn Status As a16z Cuts Late-Stage Checks

Anduril, a defense company founded by ex-Facebook VR executive Palmer Luckey, is working to be on the border of innovation. Literally.

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The company is working to create a virtual border wall with its surveillance technology for government use – and a16z just invested in it, valuing it at $1 billion post-money, according to CNBC. Anduril did not immediately respond for comment regarding the new, reported financing round.

The Orange, California-based company has raised $41 million in known venture capital funding to date for its artificial intelligence technology. Investors beyond a16z include Founders Fund, CNBC, and Oculus.

The latter investor was part of Anduril’s DNA earlier than the company’s formation, quite literally. Oculus VR, which Luckey started in 2012, was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion dollars in cash and stock. The founder was eventually ousted from the social media company as revelations came out that he funded an anti-Hillary Clinton, pro-Trump organization with ties to racism.

But Oculus gave Luckey insight on the commercial aspect of augmented reality and virtual reality, and led Anduril’s Series B. The size of that round was undisclosed.

Anduril states on its website that it “self-funds” all of its development, helping it launch software speedier than if it went through the government-first development process.

But Anduril was not the only late-stage round that a16z was involved with this week.

Samsara

Earlier this week Samsara, a company focused on industrial IoT sensors, blending hardware and software together, raised $300 million. The new capital values the four-year-old startup at $6.3 billion, according to its own release.

a16z, which led the company’s $25 million, 2015 Series A and co-led its $100 million, 2018 Series E put money in the new round. Tiger Global and Dragoneer led Samsara’s newest round, which included more capital from a16z and General Catalyst.

The firm’s new $6.3 billion valuation is sharply higher than its preceding $3.6 billion rally. In less than a year, therefore, Samsara managed to grow its value by 75 percent. Such sharp rallies in value among high-growth private companies are not rare in 2019, but to see a company as highly-valued as Samsara add $2.7 billion to its worth in ten months is notable.

Also this quarter, a16z has invested in OpenGov, the Long-Term Stock Exchange, CodeCombat, FlyHomes, Singularity 6, Hipcamp, Freenome, and Substack, among others. The investor currently participates in about 20 known investments per quarter.

Finally

To close, it seems that the unicorn era of booming valuations with big checks to match is still on a spree. And a diverse one at that.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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