Drone startup Granta Autonomy emerges from stealth with €1M seed funding round

Granta Autonomy, a startup in autonomous UAV technology for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, has announced the successful closure of its €1 million seed funding round.

The round was led by ScaleWolf VC, a prominent Lithuanian dual-use tech VC Fund and Accelerator, with additional investments from Brolis Defence and HFL Holdings. This infusion of capital will expedite the development and production of Granta Autonomy's advanced lightweight UAVs, micro gimbals, and digital Datalink software, all of which have been field-tested over Ukraine’s front lines.

Since its inception in 2015 by former military engineers Gediminas Guoba and Laurynas Litvinas, Granta Autonomy has been at the forefront of developing remote-controlled UAVs, lightweight gimbals, and unique Datalink software. The company supplies NATO forces across Europe with their hand-launched Hornet UAVs and offers their ultra-reliable, lightweight micro gimbals, renowned as the lightest direct drive gimbals available. These micro gimbals are equipped with powerful cameras capable of capturing clear daytime images at distances up to 5 kilometres and providing essential thermal vision for night operations, ensuring mission effectiveness at all hours.

"The traditional battlefield is evolving, and Western armies require robust, reliable, and flexible solutions. Granta Autonomy is committed to ensuring our systems can be readily manufactured across Europe, reducing reliance on external sources. Today's funding enables us to ramp up our production capacity to deliver the large-scale deployments Europe needs," said Gediminas Guoba, Founder and CEO of Granta Autonomy. "However, our focus goes beyond just numbers; our team works directly with soldiers on the battlefield, testing our products and software in combat zones and collaborating on solutions that excel in the toughest conditions. This battlefield experience, valued by our Western partners, fuels our mission to revolutionize drone reconnaissance for global militaries."

Granta Autonomy has unveiled the Hornet XR, a stealthy, hand-launched mini-UAV designed for covert reconnaissance missions. This small, nearly undetectable drone features a straightforward throw take-off and boasts a silent flight duration of up to three hours, covering distances up to 160 kilometres without detection. Its autonomous operation is ensured by pre-programmed missions, even in radio silence or GNSS-denied environments. The Hornet XR employs a deep-stall landing method for easy retrieval in confined spaces, and its compact, modular design fits conveniently in a car trunk for seamless transport.

Equipped with Granta Autonomy's lightweight yet powerful GS-214X and GS-218X micro gimbal systems, the Hornet XR, along with other compatible drones, can capture sharp daytime images from distances up to five kilometres and utilise a thermal camera for night missions. The company's Digital Datalink software facilitates integration with most Ground Control Station (GCS) software, ensuring versatile and efficient operation across various platforms.

Guoba adds: "The Hornet XR exemplifies our design philosophy, which is rooted in the expertise of our military UAV operators and engineers, delivering industry-leading flight time, simple operation, and rugged durability, which brings greater efficiencies, lower costs, and unmatched reliability to complex, multi-disciplinary missions. The same goes for our micro gimbals; when we started, there were no gimbals on the market for small UAVs like ours; now, we are producing the lightest direct drive gimbals on the market."

Edvinas Kerza, ScaleWolf VC's Managing Partner and former Vice Minister of Lithuanian MoD, adds: "Since we met Gediminas and the team, we have been impressed by the groundbreaking technology and vision of the Granta Autonomy team. Their innovative approach to developing surveillance and reconnaissance technology is second to none and has the potential to revolutionize the way armed forces manage complicated and multi-discipline reconnaissance missions. We proudly support their mission and look forward to seeing their autonomous UAVs impact the battlefield over the coming years."

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Vilnius-based Granta Autonomy started supplying its UAVs to the Ukrainian front. Today, the Ukrainian army operates a battery of Granta Autonomy UAVs funded by the Lithuanian and other European defence ministries. The company also provides its technology to NATO forces across Europe.