Anduril — The Defense that Never Rests
By Randy Glein and Kevin Tu
We typically consider innovation and technological advancement to be a positive force for change in the world. However, in the wrong hands, these same sources of innovation can be used toward evil ends. As our adversaries become more diverse, agile, and increasingly sophisticated, it is incumbent that we develop even more advanced solutions to defend and protect our way of life.
Enter Anduril, a new-generation defense technology leader redefining our nation’s approach to deterring and defeating enemy threats.
Teaming up with Anduril has been a multi-year excursion for us. We first met this seasoned team of founders — Brian Schimpf, Joe Chen, Matt Grimm, Palmer Luckey, and Trae Stephens — shortly after they formed Anduril more than five years ago. Our visit to their humble R&D facility and test range in 2018 revealed a vast vision for the opportunity to be pursued. Since then, we have watched this exceptional team execute with precision, launching a broad and capable suite of products focused on providing unique surveillance, intelligence, and counter-intrusion capabilities from land, sea, and air. Our relevant industry experience and view of the market needs have aligned well with Anduril’s strategy and positioning since the beginning. This common ground has drawn us together as the company has quickly become a reliable and innovative partner to the US and its allies. We just needed to find the right opportunity to team up — and that day has finally arrived. We couldn’t be more excited.
Defining the Next Generation of Defense Innovation
In just a few short years, Anduril has risen from a raw startup to becoming the most prominent new defense technology company of this century.
Anduril pairs the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley with the practical know-how of doing business with the government.
Anduril creates advanced solutions leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence, sensor fusion, and autonomous systems to defeat inbound threats that legacy systems were not engineered to defeat or even recognize.
Anduril’s initial suite of products includes electronic towers for border surveillance, aerial drones for counter-intrusion detection and protection, mobile bunkers for command and control, and autonomous underwater vehicles for stealthy forward support. The heartbeat of Anduril’s products originates with its Lattice operating system, a layer of software that serves as connective tissue for defense operations, aggregating data from its deployed systems into a unified source of real-time information, intelligence, and decisioning capabilities.
This software-first approach provides leverage to intelligently monitor, secure, and protect at an unprecedented scale.
Anduril has contracts with almost every service within the US Department of Defense, including the US Special Operations Command and US Department of Homeland Security, in addition to friendly international governments like the UK Royal Navy and Australia Department of Defense. Customers have made meaningful commitments, fueling the company’s expansion to its current team of nearly 1,200 employees. These customers are teaming up with Anduril because the company helps remove troops from harm’s way and provides our nation and allies with a competitive advantage in a dynamic battlefield environment.
A Thematic Approach to Aerospace and Defense
We have deep roots in the aerospace and defense sector, with experiences from the prior generation of leaders like Hughes Aircraft and Martin Marietta. We have long-held beliefs in the power of first principles approaches to design and engineering, coupled with leveraging new sources of innovation to disrupt lethargic competitors. We initially invested in SpaceX in 2009, believing that a clean-sheet-of-paper approach was needed to breathe fresh life into the space launch industry that hadn’t seen real innovation in decades. We felt the same way about the space-based earth imaging market, which led to our investment in Planet and its constellation of low-cost microsatellites. These companies have catalyzed a new ecosystem of commercial space activities and reinvigorated the entire industry. Anduril is doing the same thing for the defense community.
Anduril is leading the defense industry into the “machine assist” era, where modern systems consist of tightly coupled hardware and software, leveraging data, AI, and machine vision to deliver truly smart and autonomous capabilities.
Incumbent defense contractors struggle to keep pace with their outdated approaches, myopia, and the burdens of inherently inefficient cost-plus business models. The stakes are high, and the market opportunity is immense. Anduril has quickly risen to the occasion, creating a new awareness of what it takes to be competitive on a global battlefield. They stand out as a beacon of light in the fight for freedom, delivering on the promise to serve and protect, bringing innovation and ingenuity to the forefront, and creating defense capabilities built for today and tomorrow.
A Mission Worth Defending
Anduril’s founding team rallied around the common goal of protecting the free world and safeguarding its people in the face of increasingly sophisticated and technologically advanced threats. They are propelled by an intense passion for this mission and won’t be denied in their pursuit to rid the world of its evil actors. With more than $700 billion in annual defense spending in the US, plus large opportunities with international allies, Anduril is positioned to build a company of significant scale by challenging the status quo and bringing innovation to an industry that has been slow to adapt.
Anduril is not simply reacting but is reimagining the rules of engagement and redefining the modern battlefield.
At DFJ Growth, we are honored to partner with visionary founders who are building disruptive, one-of-a-kind companies that are making the world better. It is a privilege to finally be working with the team at Anduril in pursuit of their vital mission and the freedom it affords to our society.