Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR
Gabrielle Lurie | AFP | Getty Images
Two years after he left Facebook's Oculus to start a company building a virtual wall on the southern border, Palmer Luckey is set to score big. His new business, Anduril Industries, is valued at more than $ 1 billion in a new fundraising round, according to people familiar with the matter.
Anduril's latest funding includes capital from Andreessen Horowitz, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details of the round are still confidential. Anduril's border control technology includes towers with cameras and infrared sensors that use artificial intelligence to track movement. It has been distributed in Texas and Southern California.
Representatives from Anduril and Andreessen Horowitz did not comment on this story.
As Anduril grows, it is uploaded to Facebook DNA. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, sits on the board of the social network with Peter Thiel, whose Founders Fund previously invested in Anduril. Luckey started the company after being fired from Facebook in 201
Facebook bought Oculus, which makes virtual reality headsets, for $ 2 billion in 2014. Andreessen Horowitz also invested in Oculus.
Luckey jumps into a defense contract market rejected by employees of some of Silicon Valley's largest companies. Last year, Google said it would not renew a Pentagon contract, called Project Maven, after thousands of employees signed a petition urging CEO Sundar Pichai to keep Google out of the "war's business" and dozens resigned in protest. Meanwhile, employees of the Salesforce software company protested about selling software to US Customs and Border Protection, and Microsoft employees spoke to an agreement with the military to provide augmented reality headsets.
Luckey, along with Anduril investors Thiel and Joe Lonsdale, has criticized Google for supporting the work of the US government.
"When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, I wanted to do something that I felt wouldn't be done if I didn't," Luckey told CNBC in October. "I felt that there were not enough high-tech companies working on defense issues in a way that was more similar to the Silicon Valley model of innovation rather than a traditional defense contract."
Anduril describes himself as a company that "invents and builds technology to safeguard America and its interests."
– CNBC's Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.
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