Israeli Drone Startup Used by IDF in Gaza Raises $40 million

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A Tel Aviv-based startup that supplies a drone operating system to the US Defense Department and the Israeli army has raised $40 million to expand its civilian business, after its technology was deployed in the battlefield in the Gaza Strip.

The funding round for Xtend was led by Chartered Group and included existing investors NFX, TAU Ventures as well as strategic investors like Clal-Tech, according to the company.

Israel’s larger defense contractors have benefited from increased spending since the beginning of the war with Hamas, and Xtend’s fundraise signals opportunities during the conflict for smaller, dual-use players. The company’s platform – which has human operators control small drones with a portable virtual reality headset and handheld controller – has been used by the Israel Defense Forces in the war with Hamas to scout buildings for enemy fighters or explosives.

The company said it has released new products since the war began and improved drones’ abilities to fly without access to Global Positioning System satellites, a feature it said would be adapted for its civilian applications.

The startup, formed in 2018, plans to use the funds to expand its non-defense applications, including for logistics, construction and private security, its Chief Executive Officer, Aviv Shapira, said in an interview. The company, which has offices in the US, also plans to open new offices in Japan and the UK.

“We have a defense business, we have an enterprise business and we’re now also doing logistics and delivery,” said Shapira.

(c) Washington Post


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