European AI defense developer Helsing announced Thursday that it raised 209 million Euros—around $223 million worth—in Series B funding led by venture capital firm General Catalyst. Swedish airplane and car manufacturer Saab joined as a strategic investor, as well.
Launched in 2021, Helsing focuses on developing AI-enabled military applications and components, including for the upcoming update to the NATO Eurofighter warplane and the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program.
Helsing also said that it has provided frontline technology in Ukraine on an “ongoing basis” since the Russian invasion began in 2022. In a statement, the company said that it is focused on developing AI technology to «protect our democracies.»
“We founded Helsing because we believe that AI will be essential so that democracies can continue to defend their values,” Helsing co-founder Gundbert Scherf said in a statement. “Our recent traction shows that this belief is shared by governments and industry.”
Swedish billionaire and Spotify founder Daniel Ek is also a supporter of Helsing AI. His investment company, Prima Materia, invested in Helsing’s Series A round in 2021, totaling 102.5 million Euros (around $109 million today). Helsing says its technology can be used across various battlefield needs, including tactical, operational, and strategic.
“This funding round is a vote of confidence in Europe,” Helsing co-founder Torsten Reil said. “General Catalyst’s commitment to global and European resilience is a perfect fit with our mission to help protect our democracies.”
Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November, the proliferation of artificial intelligence technology has been compared to an arms race. More and more companies seek to provide governments and militaries with faster and cheaper AI-powered war machines. Other companies bringing artificial intelligence to the battlefield include Kratos Defense and San Diego-based Shield AI.
In July, the U.S. military officials said the Pentagon is testing generative AI in its decision-making process. Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content—such as text, images, or music—using prompts. Such tools are trained on enormous amounts of existing data to generate such outputs.
Citing China’s growing military, the Department of Defense unveiled the Pentagon’s Replicator Initiative last month, which aims to field autonomous systems “at scale of multiple thousands, within the next 18 to 24 months.»
Helsing AI did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment.