Sydney robotics and navigation tech scale-up Advanced Navigation has raised US$68 million (A$108m) in a Series B.
The round was led by US private equity firm KKR, supported by deep learning venture firm AI Capital as well as existing backers Main Sequence, Malcolm Turnbull , In-Q-Tel, and OIF.
The 10-year-old tech business has now raised to more than A$134 million for its sensor products, which are used by the likes of Airbus, Boeing, Google, Apple, and General Motors for navigation on land, sea, air and space.
KKR’s growth technology lead in ANZ and Southeast Asia, Louis Casey, and Vance Serchuk, executive director of the KKR Global Institute, will join Advanced Navigation’s board, while retired US Army General and CIA director David Petraeus, the Institute’s chairman, 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 commercialise university research involving AI-based inertial navigation – a navigation system that doesn’t require GPS by combining motion sensors, gyroscopes and computing to calculate location by dead reckoning.
The funds will be used to accelerate R&D programs focused on transformative robotic, navigation, photonic, and quantum sensing solutions, and ramp up the company’s global sales and marketing capabilities.
Xavier Orr, the company’s CEO, said 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,” he 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.”
Mukul Chawla, KKR Partner and Asia Pacific head of growth equity said Advanced Navigation 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 collaborate with Xavier, Chris and the Advanced Navigation team” he said.
“We see significant opportunity for the company to tap into KKR’s global network, operational expertise, and experience in technology investing to accelerate the Company’s efforts to expand globally and build out its platform.”
General Petraeus said: “I look forward to chairing Advanced Navigation’s International Advisory Board to help introduce the Company’s critical technology to new markets and opportunities, including in the aerospace, defence, and security sectors.”