Helsing, a German artificial intelligence (AI) start-up focused on the defence sector, is in discussions to raise nearly $500m ($467.52m) in funding from investors, including Silicon Valley’s Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners, reported the Financial Times (FT), citing sources.   

The upcoming funding round is expected to value the company at approximately $4.5bn, marking a threefold increase from its previous valuation less than a year ago.  

Accel, known for its early investments in companies such as Facebook and Spotify, and Lightspeed are poised to be new investors, with General Catalyst, an existing supporter, likely to join the round, the sources said. 

Notably, Accel has not previously invested in a defence technology firm. 

Lightspeed and Helsing refused to comment on the news, the FT said, adding that requests for comments from Accel and General Catalyst did not elicit a response.  

Helsing, which was founded in 2021, develops AI software for defence applications, processing data from sensors and weapons systems to provide real-time battlefield intelligence.  

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Their technology is also aiding in the development of AI for drones in Ukraine. 

The company’s previous funding round in September 2023 raised approximately €209m at a valuation of about €1.5bn.  

Helsing’s potential valuation would position it among Europe’s top private tech firms such as France-based Mistral, which recently secured €600m at a valuation nearing €6bn.  

Moreover, Helsing has established partnerships with leading defence contractors like Germany’s Rheinmetall and Sweden’s Saab to integrate AI into platforms such as fighter jets. It is also collaborating with Airbus on AI technologies for manned and unmanned systems.