Tech

Autonomous ship startup Saronic sails to $55M series A

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Saronic, a startup developing autonomous ships for defense applications — announced today that it has raised $55 million in a Series A funding round.

According to an Oct. 10 announcement, the round was led by Caffeinated Capital. It included investments from 8VC, Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Point72 Ventures, Silent Ventures, Overmatch Ventures, Ensemble VC, Cubit Capital, and the U.S. Innovative Technology Fund.

Founded last year by former Navy SEAL Dino Mavrookas, Saronic aims to build fully autonomous surface ships explicitly tailored for military and defense customers. The company is currently prototyping two vessel models — the 6-foot Spyglass and the 13-foot Cutlass. Both ships utilize remotely updatable software and can carry diverse payloads even when operating in communication dead zones.

The autonomous maritime vessel market has seen growing interest, with companies like Saildrone focused on research applications and others retrofitting existing ships with autonomous capabilities. However, Saronic builds its ships from the ground up around specific defense missions. Mavrookas explained the company’s approach:

“America’s conventional shipbuilding ecosystem lacks the agility to match the threats posed by our adversaries, and many proposed solutions for the fleet aren’t cohesively designed for the mission. […] We’re putting software, autonomy, and mission profiles first, reshaping design for rapid production and deployment, and creating a novel breed of autonomous vessels that can meet current and future threats.”

Saronic’s proprietary technology has already garnered attention from the U.S. Navy, with whom the company has two R&D agreements. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and new U.S. policies encouraging domestic semiconductor and defense development have further spurred investor interest. Raymond Tonsing, founder and managing partner of Caffeinated Capital, commended the company’s approach.

“[Saronic’s] technology will fundamentally transform how the Navy operates over the next century. […] We have been astounded by the speed at which this exceptional team has already begun to bridge the technology gap in naval autonomy.”

Based in Austin, Texas, Saronic has raised around $70 million to date and has approximately 45 employees. The $55 million Series A brings the company’s total venture funding to over $125 million.

Featured Image Credit: Devin Koopman; Pexels; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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