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Founded: 2015

Headquarters: San Diego, California

Shield AI is a venture-backed defense technology company whose mission is to protect service members and civilians with intelligent systems. In pursuit of this mission, Shield AI is building the world's best AI pilot. Its AI pilot, Hivemind, has flown a fighter jet (F-16), a vertical takeoff and landing drone (V-BAT), and a quadcopter (Nova). The company has offices in San Diego, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and abroad. Shield AI's products and people are currently in the field actively supporting operations with the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. allies.

Key Facts


The next generation of national defense will rely heavily on AI and automated systems.


Shield AI was founded by Ryan Tseng (founder of WiPower, acquired by Qualcomm), Brandon Tseng (former NAVY Seal), and Andrew Reiter (ex-Draper Labs) to build technologies like artificial intelligence-powered fighter pilots and drones for defense operations.


Shield AI creates hardware and software to transform drones and aircraft into autonomous systems capable of executing missions in contested environments.


Shield AI's flagship product, Hivemind, is an AI pilot that enables teams of intelligent aircraft to operate and complete missions autonomously in high-threat environments, without the need for remote operators or GPS.


Hivemind is the core of Shield AI’s product ecosystem and serves as the "brains” for its drones and aircraft.


Using affordable unmanned drone swarms with autonomous pilots like Shield AI's Hivemind could replace costly assets, enhancing mission accuracy and reducing casualties. As a result, the United States and its allies have been increasing investments in these assets to bolster defenses against emerging threats from countries like China, Russia, and others.


The technology approach is similar to those in the self-driving car industry and its software stack is aircraft agnostic, allowing Shield AI to provide autonomy to a variety of form factors across the aerospace industry.


The Hivemind ecosystem comprises three interconnected components tailored for simulation and autonomy.


Hivemind Edge: This component encompasses software engineered to deliver intelligent autonomy within environments lacking GPS or data access. Platform-agnostic and capable of integration with third-party systems, Edge enables machines to execute complex tasks autonomously, without direct operator intervention. The application operates at the edge, facilitating decentralized processing and computation without dependence on a central intelligence hub.


Hivemind Design: This component offers software tailored for AI developers and designers to accelerate capability development and testing for autonomous systems. Leveraging highly customized and optimized local and cloud computing resources, Design streamlines AI capability design, configuration, data management, analysis, testing, and reporting services.


Hivemind Commander: Comprising both hardware and software, Commander facilitates human interaction within the Hivemind ecosystem. It provides interfaces and methodologies for mission planning, command and control, training, and considerations related to human factors across the Hivemind environment.


Similar to a human pilot, Hivemind reads and reacts to the battlefield, and does not require GPS, waypoints, or comms to make decisions. Hivemind enables intelligent teams to perform missions ranging from room clearance with Novas, penetrating air defense systems with V-BATs, to dogfighting F-16s.


Shield AI's Nova-class autonomous quadcopter drones, empowered by Hivemind technology, function as vital reconnaissance assets in close-quarters combat situations. These Nova drones play a crucial role during military operations by infiltrating hostile structures, capturing imagery, and generating maps. Subsequently, this data is swiftly transmitted to ground troops, facilitating informed decision-making and reducing the necessity for direct entry into potentially hazardous environments.


Following its acquisition of Martin UAV, Shield AI introduced the V-BAT, a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The V-Bat drone, with a flight ceiling of 15,000 feet, is versatile for multiple missions, including force protection, aerial patrol, target search and detection, and surveillance.


A distinguishing feature of the V-Bat among Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) drones is its ducted fan design. Shield AI claims this design enhances thrust by over 80%, providing greater control authority, especially in challenging environments like rocky terrain.


Shield AI recently introduced V-BAT Teams, a first-of-its-kind software product powered by Hivemind that enables teams of V-BATs to execute missions, autonomously reading and reacting to each other and the environment just as a team of humans would normally pilot them.


This product enables a single human operator to command a minimum of four V-BATs, generating real-time AI-driven flight paths, and exhibiting dynamic read-and-react behaviors autonomously. Except for lethal decision-making, V-BAT Teams can complete missions from start to finish without the need for an operator or pilot.


Shield AI’s revenue streams primarily stem from government contracts, drone sales, and licensing the Hivemind software to third-party aircraft manufacturers.


Shield AI operates a model resembling that of a technology company rather than a conventional defense contractor. The company prioritizes front-loaded research and development efforts, assuming the risks associated with product development. This approach provides the advantage of presenting a pre-developed product line to entities like the Department of Defense (DOD) and allied military forces.


Shield AI's margin profile also mirrors that of commercial tech enterprises rather than traditional defense contractors, typically ranging between 40-50%, a significant contrast to the 5-10% margins prevalent in the defense industry.


This robust margin position theoretically enables Shield AI to reinvest more aggressively in R&D than its counterparts, fostering a cycle of innovation and expansion, particularly in AI and drone technologies, which demand substantial research and development investments.


According to Sacra research, Shield AI hit $165 million in revenue in 2023, up 94% from approximately $85 million in 2022.


Shield AI's upward momentum has been fueled by a series of lucrative contracts and key acquisitions.


In December 2022, Shield AI, along with its government partners, made aviation history by autonomously maneuvering a modified F-16 in real-world air-combat scenarios.


In March 2023, Boeing and Shield AI signed a memorandum of understanding to explore strategic collaboration in the areas of autonomous capabilities and artificial intelligence on current and future defense programs.


In June 2023, Shield AI and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, a technology company in the Defense, National Security, and Global Markets, signed an agreement to integrate and bring to market an AI pilot built by Shield AI for Kratos' XQ-58 Valkyrie, making real the concept of crewed-uncrewed teaming for jet aircraft.


In August 2023, Shield AI and Sentient Vision Systems (Sentient), an Australia-based leader in AI-enabled passive wide area search, announced a strategic collaboration aimed at delivering a wide area motion imagery (WAMI) solution for Department of Defense (DoD), Australian Defense Forces (ADF) and other international customers.


In April 2024, Shield AI announced a definitive agreement to acquire Sentient Vision Systems (Sentient), an Australia-based leader in AI-enabled real-time situational awareness, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. The companies will merge AI expertise and operational understanding to deliver superior intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for today's rapidly changing defense and security environment. "This acquisition unites Sentient's ViDAR and our Hivemind AI pilot, creating the world's most advanced AI-piloted ISR sensor package," said Ryan Tseng, CEO and Cofounder of Shield AI.


Primary Vertical


Mosaic Score


Money - 100

Momentum - 100

Management - 100

Market - 100

What is a Mosaic Score?

Employees: 500

Key Officers

Name Work History Title Status
officer name 1 Founder Current
officer name 2 Founder Current
officer name 3 Founder Current


Businesses that accept or are transitioning to accept bitcoin payments. Customers that own or trade cryptocurrency

Key Investors

Businesses that accept or are transitioning to accept bitcoin payments. Customers that own or trade cryptocurrency

Size of Market

Businesses that accept or are transitioning to accept bitcoin payments. Customers that own or trade cryptocurrency

Market Position

Businesses that accept or are transitioning to accept bitcoin payments. Customers that own or trade cryptocurrency

Valuation & Fundraising

Last Round: Jan. 2021, Seed

Valuation Post-Money: $10M


Amount Raised: $1M

Total Funds Raised: $10M


Linqto Implied Valuation: $10M

Funding Rounds

Date Round Amount Valuation
01/01/2021 Seed $11M $11M
01/01/2021 Seed $11M $11M
01/01/2021 Seed $11M $11M

Valuation Over Time

Linqto Chart

1 buyback

Competitive Landscape

Company Valuation Revenue

Company Name

San Francisco, California

$65.3B $1.3B

Company Name

San Francisco, California

$65.3B $1.3B

Company Name

San Francisco, California

$65.3B $1.3B

Company Name

San Francisco, California

$65.3B $1.3B