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December 18, 2020 | International, Aerospace

Counter-drone startup Epirus raises $70M, plans to hire 100 people


WASHINGTON ― Epirus, a venture-backed startup offering a counter-drone capability, announced Thursday it raised $70 million to speed its technology to market.

The round was led by San Francisco, California-based Bedrock Capital, and brings the 2-year-old company's total capital raised to roughly $80 million.

The news comes six months after Epirus inked a strategic supplier agreement with Northrop Grumman to provide exclusive access to Epirus' software-defined electromagnetic pulse system Leonidas. Since then, the firm has doubled in size and plans to add 100 jobs in 2021.

“We're aggressively hiring and expanding our footprint on the East and West coasts,” Epirus CEO Leigh Madden told Defense News. He added that the firm is shifting its headquarters from the Hawthorne, California, office to its newer offices in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Alongside Bedrock and several other investment firms, L3Harris Technologies is investing in Epirus. Epirus developed a SmartPower power-management technology that underpins its counter-unmanned aircraft system, and the company plans to partner with L3Harris to create greater power efficiencies within some of its existing systems.

The technology, which allows the system to deliver a high-power output with a relatively low-power input, has a range of applications across other radio frequency systems, Madden said. (The company's systems involve a combination of high-power microwave technology and, for enhanced targeting, artificial intelligence.)

The new funding, “enables us to rapidly build out our counter-UAS system,” Madden said. “We'll be bringing the Leonidas system to market as well as advancing the capabilities of our SmartPower technology ― and working with government customers and partners to expand the application of that technology.”

Beyond Bedrock and L3Harris, the new Series B funding came from Piedmont Capital Investments, 8VC, Fathom VC and Greenspring Associates. In 2019, Epirus closed $17 million in Series A funding, which was led by 8VC. (Series A is meant to help a company progress to the development stage, and Series B is meant to help a company market or expand its existing market footprint.)

Geoff Lewis of Bedrock Capital said in a statement that investors are “confident Epirus has the capacity to integrate its technology into top tier counter-UAS systems and lead the way in developing new and compelling directed energy applications.”

“Epirus counters the weak assumption baked into standard VC models that the economic and cultural gaps of defense-focused investments are too wide to overcome,” Lewis said.

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