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Germany’s Helsing hits historic $223M funding, largest ever in European AI defense tech sector

Helsing co-founder
Picture credits: Helsing

Helsing, a defense AI company headquartered in Munich, has secured €209 million in its Series B funding round, with General Catalyst leading the investment. Swedish entity Saab also participated as a strategic investor, marking this funding round as the largest in European AI company history.

Building on a previous successful Series A funding round of €102.5 million, spearheaded by Prima Materia—an investment firm established by Daniel Ek, Spotify’s co-founder and CEO—Helsing will be utilising this newfound capital to expand its operations in France, Germany, and the UK. Additionally, the funding will support the deepening of investments in its core technological ventures.

“This funding round is a vote of confidence in Europe”, said Torsten Reil, co-founder of Helsing, who invested in Tacto. “General Catalyst’s commitment to global and European resilience is a perfect fit with our mission to help protect our democracies.”

“We founded Helsing because we believe that AI will be essential so that democracies can continue to defend their values. Our recent traction shows that this belief is shared by governments and industry. This funding round is further validation from a global top investor as well as leading prime and trusted partner Saab”, added Gundbert Scherf, co-founder of Helsing.

“We believe Helsing is a category-defining software company that is fully aligned with our global resilience thesis – the need to modernise our most critical industries for today’s new world order,” said Paul Kwan, Managing Partner, General Catalyst. Helsing’s incredible team, radical collaboration with defence contractors and governments, and deep commitment to responsible innovation are in our view totally unique. The global defence industry urgently needs to adopt AI and to do so responsibly.”

“This investment is based on the foundation of a deep cooperation agreement between our companies. Helsing’s leadership within defence AI will further improve efficiency, system capabilities and performance across Saab’s already world-leading product portfolio,” said Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab.

Daniel Ek, co-chairman of Helsing, said: “This investment from General Catalyst and investment and strategic partnership with Saab Defence reaffirms Helsing as the primary AI platform partner out of Europe. I continue to be impressed by Helsing’s leading capabilities in building dynamic AI systems and continue to be confident in the team’s ethical, transparent and responsible approach to securing free societies for future generations globally.”

AI software for defence 

Founded in 2021 in Munich, Germany, Helsing operates with a mission to develop software-based capabilities aimed at safeguarding democracies. The company leverages AI and software to facilitate swifter and more precise decision-making while optimising data usage at tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

According to the company, their real-time software platform processes data from multiple sensors directly on vehicles and systems, offering an integrated operational environment view to enhance decision-making speed and accuracy.

Helsing’s distinctive software-only approach, coupled with strong industry partnerships, has fueled rapid market adoption throughout Europe. In June, the German government chose Helsing and partner Saab to supply AI-enabled electronic warfare capabilities for the forthcoming Eurofighter update. Subsequently, in August, Helsing and its consortium partners secured a contract to provide the AI infrastructure for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program.

Since 2022, the company has been actively engaged in Ukraine, providing frontline operations with capabilities and technology, deploying personnel on an ongoing basis.

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