AI robotics and navigation technology firm Advanced Navigation has raised $108 million in its series B funding round led by global investment firm KKR. The Australian company is eyeing a global expansion and is setting up a new advisory council to guide it.
Advanced Navigation will also explore new technology and product opportunities with the new funding to complement its existing products and areas of expertise.
Among the new investors is venture capital firm Alpha Intelligence Capital, an artificial intelligence and machine learning focused investor with offices in Luxembourg, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Paris.
Existing investors Main Sequence Ventures, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, In-Q-Tel, and Our Innovation Fund also helped bring Advanced Navigation’s lifetime capital raise to more than $134 million. Mr Turnbull has been a director of the company since August 2021.
The two new directors to the Advanced Navigation board are KKR’s growth technology lead in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia Louis Casey, and KKR global institute executive director Vance Serchuk.
KKR partner and global institute chair General David Petraeus, formerly of the United States Army, will chair a new advisory committee to support Advanced Navigation’s global expansion efforts.
The funding will be used to “accelerate R&D programs focused on transformative robotic, navigation, photonic, and quantum sensing solutions, and enhance its global sales and marketing capabilities to reach new customers”, according to the Sydney-based firm.
Advanced Navigation chief executive and co-founder Xavier Orr said he is pleased by the success of the funding round.
“We look forward to this next phase of growth as we continue to be a driving force in the autonomy revolution. KKR has significant experience investing in emerging technologies, we are thrilled to have them lead our series B funding round and work alongside our team to advance our product and technology innovation and development,” Mr Orr said.
“Our technologies will continue to safely and reliably guide autonomous vehicles across hazardous environments. Together with our engineering experts, partners, and in collaboration with global research institutes, we will work to build a more resilient, secure and sustainable future.”
The federal government has been an ongoing supporter of Advanced Navigation, which was previously awarded $690,000 through the Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability program to develop its Boreas X90 inertial navigation system in partnership with quantum technology firm Q-CTRL.
Before being commercialised through Advanced Navigation, the technologies were developed by the Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University. The firm also acquired ANU spinout Vai Photonics in 2021.
In July, Advanced Navigation signed a deal with US-based Intuitive Machines to use the Australian technologies on board lunar landers on four moon landings and to deliver two lunar communication relay satellites by 2025.
Its technology is also onboard NASA’s first Artemis test mission, which launched early on Wednesday morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The almost four-week uncrewed mission will include the deployment of 10 satellites developed by Norway-based CubeSat.
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