Firestorm Labs nets $12.5M in initial seed funding

Gettyimages.coim / Parradee Kietsirikul

The unmanned vehicle maker will use this capital from Lockheed Martin Ventures and other investors to further build out its additive manufacturing resources and workforce.

Firestorm Labs, a two-year-old startup that makes unmanned aerial vehicles, has secured $12.5 million in initial seed capital from Lockheed Martin's venture arm and several other active defense investors.

San Diego-headquartered Firestorm Labs uses expeditionary additive manufacturing techniques with the goal to build the drones in less than 9 hours at a time. Firestorm will use this new capital to further scale out its workforce and production resources, the company said Thursday.

Autonomy and robotics represent one of a dozen focus areas for the Lockheed Martin Ventures team, which invests in young companies developing advanced technologies in core businesses and new markets important to Lockheed Martin.

The list of other notable names investing in Firestorm includes Decisive Point, Silent Ventures, 645 Ventures, Overmatch VC, BVVC, Marquee Ventures, Cubit Capital, IronGate, Backswing Ventures, The Veteran Fund, Feld Ventures, Beyond Capital and RedCat.

"There is a clear need within the defense technology sector to build faster and less costly systems, and simply throwing money at the issue won't change the outcome," Firestorm's chief strategy officer and co-founder Chad McCoy said in a release. "The goal is to create a completely new category that shakes up legacy timelines and cost."

"Firestorm is excited to announce this latest round of funding that will propel the company forward to shape the rapidly evolving needs of a UAS-dominated battlefield and a defense industrial base ripe for revolutionary manufacturing models," added fellow co-founder and chief executive Dan Magy.

The company's manufacturing capabilities center around xCell, its semi-automated manufacturing cell that is built to operate with off-the-grid generators and without high human-in-the-loop engagement.

XCell is designed to produce up to 50 units per month inside a pair of 20-foot containers or one 40-foot container form factor. The idea is to house the UAV manufacturing work in remote locations, or be disguised while in plain sight.

As for the drone itself, Firestorm's Tempest vehicle measures at 6 feet in length with a 7-foot wingspan and a payload capacity of up to 10 pounds. Tempest is designed for missions involving acoustic stealth, cruise speed and loitering.