STAMFORD — Point72 Ventures, the venture capital business founded by billionaire hedge fund investor Steven Cohen, has announced it is leading a $90 million investment in Shield AI, a self-driving software company.

“Shield AI brings a world-class AI engineering team, coupled with the experience and leadership of distinguished veterans, to the national security sector,” Point72 Ventures partner Daniel Gwak said in a statement. “We believe the software company’s combat-proven AI self-driving systems, with their ability to function without access to GPS or comms, have the ability to be game-changers.”

The Series C funding for San Diego-based Shield AI comprises equity and debt financing. It will support the company’s partnerships with the U.S. Defense Department and defense manufacturers, with those initiatives focused on the implementation of its self-driving software known as Hivemind.

“We believe that Shield AI’s ability to enable unmanned systems to operate without GPS or communications is critical for national security interests especially in this era of ‘Great Power Competition’ where comms and GPS are relentlessly attacked,” fellow co-founder and former Navy SEAL Brandon Tseng said in a statement.

Ventures has made a fast start to 2021. Among other recent transactions, it announced last month it was leading a nearly $19 million investment in London-headquartered financial-technology firm Trade Ledger.


In January, Ventures announced that it was co-leading a $7 million investment in Swapp, a construction-planning technology firm based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Ventures was founded in May 2016, about two-and-a-half years after Cohen founded the main investment firm that he runs today, Stamford-based hedge fund Point72. Ventures’ launch responded to the large volume of deals pitched to Cohen.

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In total, Ventures has made invested in more than 70 companies.

Ventures employs more than 25, with offices at Point72’s headquarters at 72 Cummings Point Road in Stamford’s Waterside section, as well as others in New York City and Palo Alto, Calif. It operates separately from the hedge fund, but its insights are shared with the latter.

Greenwich resident Cohen has faced growing scrutiny in recent weeks amid criticism of hedge funds for their alleged role in the market frenzy surroundings stocks such as GameStop. Cohen has denied that his firm committed any wrongdoing.

In January, Point72 made a $750 million investment in hedge fund Melvin Capital, which endured heavy losses as a result of GameStop’s price surge.

In addition to leading Point72, Greenwich resident Cohen has become a prominent figure in Major League Baseball through his acquisition last year of the New York Mets.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; twitter: @paulschott



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