Within the span of two years, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was ousted from his lofty seat atop Facebook’s virtual reality division following revelations he’d funded an anti-Hillary Clinton, pro-Trump political group, launched his own defense startup, and started scooping up hard-to-come-by federal contracts. Now, CNBC reports that Luckey’s company, named Anduril after a sword from The Lord of the Rings, is already valued at $1 billion.
According to CNBC, blue chip venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is throwing some money into the mix, participating in a fresh round of fundraising for Anduril’s booming surveillance technology hardware suite.
The company has already installed its technology on the Southern U.S. border through a deal with Customs and Border Protection and inked a $13.5 million contract with the Marine Corps to build a “digital fortress” around bases in Arizona, Hawaii, and Japan.
Anduril’s early investors include Peter Thiel’s investment firm Founders Fund, which the company is connected to through Anduril co-founder and chairman Trae Stephens, a partner at the firm.
Luckey famously sold his virtual reality hardware company Oculus to Facebook for $3 billion in 2014. Oculus was two years old and had a staff of about 100 people at the time, much like Anduril today.
The reasons for Luckey’s ouster from Facebook remain unclear but Lucky himself has echoed some Republicans in suggesting he was axed over his financial support for the pro-Trump group Nimble America, telling CNBC in May that his $10,000 donation probably had “something to do with” his firing. The Daily Beast previously reported that Luckey financially backed the pro-Trump non-profit, which was committed to circulating disparaging memes about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.