- Quantum-Systems is a German technology company that specializes in the development of drones.
- The company has raised almost $50 million in funding and is backed by investor Peter Thiel.
The war in Ukraine has sparked an international demand for drone innovation in the defense tech sector.
German-based Quantum-Systems, which supplies reconnaissance drones to Ukraine, is one company that has benefitted from this shift.
“We were able to serve demand from Ukraine with our systems and that’s what boosted Quantum over of what we would have expected for 2022,” the company’s CEO, Florian Seibel, told Insider.
Founded in 2015, it has raised almost $50 million over two funding rounds this year — $32 million in its Series A round and $17.5 million in the most recent.
Quantum even picked up an investment from PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, along the way. He praised the company as being a “leap ahead” of its competitors.
But Quantum is only getting started, according to Seibel. He said the war in Ukraine only bolstered his belief that Europe needed to double down on investment into defense tech and claw back its tech sovereignty from powerhouses like China and Russia.
Working across both the commercial and governmental sectors, Quantum aims to position itself as the leading European drone robotics company by creating a more holistic strategy.
The ‘Tesla approach’
Quantum-Systems plans to separate itself from its competitors by investing in all areas of its manufacturing, or as Seibel calls it, “the Tesla approach.”
“You have to do everything from A to Z,” he said. “You are a hardware company, you are a manufacturing company, you are a data service company. That makes it a very complex business case, but that also makes it very defendable.”
The company’s holistic approach to innovation means taking control of both its software, such as AI that can turn images into usable data, and its hardware, such as drone ports.
Quantum is developing docking stations that will charge and deploy drones automatically. These docking stations mean that unmanned aerial vehicles could be automatically launched in emergencies. This would let firefighters, for example, know what to expect before they arrive at the scene.
“Companies like SpaceX, Tesla, and Apple are companies that combine great hardware with even greater software,” Seibel said. “A combination of hardware plus software will provide the best products to our customers.”
Seibel isn’t naive about the scale of the company’s ambition. Investing in all areas takes time and money, he said, “it’s really a mid to long-term play.”
Europe’s tech sovereignty
The company’s vision is relatively grand. Seibel wants Quantum to be able to supply a fully autonomous operation of reconnaissance drones that gather high-resolution, real-time data.
“Our vision is that at one point police, firefighters, or border protection units will be able to get live video imagery from everywhere,” he said. “We want to be the leading European or Europe-based drone robotics company supplying drones into this space.”
That means raising another $50 million to $75 million in funding, Seibel added, but with Thiel “buying into our roadmap and vision, we’re quite confident that’s doable.”
“I think it’s the right thing to do here in Europe to really build on European tech sovereignty,” he said. “We didn’t do well in the last 10 or 20 years, and it’s about time now to go into hardware, deep tech, and defense tech and not leave it to Russia or China.”
“I’m afraid if we do not act now in these areas, then my kids or my children’s kids will live in a world that I wouldn’t like them to.”