Sydney robotics and navigation technology scale-up Advanced Navigation has raised US$68 million (A$108 million) in a Series B.
The round was led by US private equity firm KKRbacked by deep learning firm AI Capital and existing backers Main Sequence, Malcolm Turnbull, In-Q-Tel and OIF.
The 10-year-old technology company has now raised more than A$134 million for its sensor products, which are used by the likes of Airbus, Boeing, Google, Apple and General Motors for land, sea, air and space navigation.
KKRANZ and Southeast Asia growth technology leader Louis Casey and Vance Serchuk, executive director of the KKR Global Institute, will join Advanced Navigation’s board of directors, while retired U.S. Army general and CIA director David Petraeus, the Institute’s president, will chair a new advisory committee to support the company’s expansion efforts.
Engineers Xavier Orr and Chris Shaw founded Advanced Navigation in 2012 to commercialize university research with AI-based inertial navigation – a navigation system that does not require GPS by combining motion sensors, gyroscopes and computers to calculate location based on dead reckoning.
The money will be used to accelerate R&D programs focused on transformative robotic, navigation, photonic and quantum sensing solutions, and to ramp up the company’s global sales and marketing capabilities.
So says Xavier Orr, the company’s CEO KKR has extensive experience in investing in emerging technologies.
“We are pleased that they are leading our Series B funding round and working with our team to advance our product and technology innovation and development,” he said.
“Our technologies will continue to guide autonomous vehicles safely and reliably through hazardous environments. Together with our technical experts, partners and in collaboration with global research institutes, we will work towards a more resilient, safe and sustainable future.”
Mukul Chawla, KKR Partner and Head of Growth Equity Asia-Pacific, said Advanced Navigation makes us a leading innovator in the robotics sector, developing AI-enabled software with a wide range of applications, and their first technology growth investment in Australia.
“As demand for autonomous technology continues to grow, we are excited to partner with Xavier, Chris and the Advanced Navigation team,” he said.
“We see significant opportunities for the company to tap into KKR‘s global network, operational expertise and technology investment experience to accelerate the company’s efforts to expand globally and build out its platform.
General Petraeus said, “I look forward to serving as Chairman of Advanced Navigation’s international advisory board to help introduce the company’s critical technology to new markets and opportunities, including in the aerospace, defense and security sectors.”