Specialized radar company Echodyne has raised $135 million in new funding it needs to keep pace with client demand and to continue anti-drone tech development, receiving the largest boost from backers Bill Gates and Scotland’s Baillie Gifford Group.
The Series C infusion comes amid a flurry of recent business successes for Seattle-based Echodyne and its proprietary metamaterial platforms. Unlike traditional radar, its powerful electronically scanned array (ESA) technology systems are built into compact, portable units without moving parts that are particularly effective for security uses in detecting and monitoring the presence of drones.
Echodyne’s first-generation EchoGuard radar product can pick up a small commercial drone from about a kilometer off, and identify larger craft from even farther away. Its systems can be used on the ground, land vehicles, or mounted on UAVs.
Echodyne tech is already in use by an array of military, border security, and police customers. In the last six months alone, the company and its products were selected for the US Army’s Security Surveillance System program; the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection’s five-year innovation project; and for integration into Northrop Grumman’s advanced defense and security solutions.
The attraction of Echodyne’s compact and affordable radar platforms – which provide comparable performance to enormous and expensive ESA alternatives – has been particularly strengthened by both governments and businesses increasingly seeking protection against the rising threat of small drones being used for mischievous or violent purposes. That growing activity was behind the company’s latest fund raising efforts.
“We are seeing significant customer demand across multiple markets and applications where our patented technology simply creates the best performing radar available,” said Eben Frankenberg, Echodyne CEO. “This additional capital demonstrates strong enthusiasm and confidence from world-class investors and anchors our ambition to be the world’s leading radar solutions company. The ultimate beneficiaries are our customers who use our commercial radars to create advanced solutions for intelligent security and autonomous applications that drive industries and save lives.”
Echodyne’s rising business prospects indeed explain why existing financial backers dug deep into their pockets yet again in order to fuel the company’s continued expansion. Those included Northrop Grumman Corporation, NEA, Madrona Ventures, Vulcan Capital, and Vanedge Capital.
“Echodyne’s ability to deliver high-performance radar solutions at commercial prices is a highly disruptive innovation,” said Luke Ward, Baillie Gifford’s investment manager. “The company’s unique sensor technology is unlocking novel applications for customers and showing promising adoption at leading organizations, such as the U.S. Army, Northrop Grumman, NASA, and the Department of Homeland Security. As long-term investors, we’re excited by the growth potential Echodyne has over the decade ahead and are thrilled to be supporting its next phase of market expansion and new product creation.”