(Bloomberg) -- Anduril, a US defense startup backed by Peter Thiel, has secured $1.5 billion of new capital at a post-investment valuation of about $14 billion, the Information reported, citing people involved in the deal.

Thiel’s Founders Fund and new investor Sands Capital co-led the latest financing in the seven-year-old firm, which makes drones and autonomous weapons systems. Founders Fund contributed about $400 million toward that deal, an unusually large one for a non-AI US startup, the Information added.

Anduril, founded in 2017 by Oculus headset-creator Palmer Luckey with financing from Thiel’s Palantir Technologies Inc., is one of several startups trying to make inroads into the traditional arms industry. Anduril recently beat several defense players in a contest for a major contract to develop an unmanned fighter jet for the US Air Force.

The US defense technology sector has grown rapidly in recent years as the military seeded new companies to try and modernize its weaponry. 

Venture capitalists followed suit, pouring $135 billion into defense tech startups from 2016 to 2022, according to PitchBook. US defense systems developer Shield AI raised $200 million at the end of October at a valuation of $2.7 billion, and drone startup Skydio managed to pull in $230 million at a $2.2 billion valuation earlier last year.

Anduril roughly doubled revenue last year to about $500 million and is aiming for $1 billion by 2026, the Information reported. Its latest deal involved Sands Capital, which typically invests in later-stage financing rounds — just before startups go public.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.