How It All Began: Shield AI Origin Story


In early 2015,  while Navy SEAL Brandon Tseng was ending his last deployment, he started thinking about the challenges he and his teammates faced each night. They faced a knowledge gap -- a lack of information in the last mile. He began to wonder if it would be possible to create eyes and understanding in places where they didn’t exist in order to protect service members and innocent civilians.

Brandon enlisted his brother Ryan,  an experienced tech entrepreneur who had successfully sold his wireless charging company to Qualcomm. After Brandon proved the on-the-ground need and the business case to Ryan, they agreed they’d pursue this idea of creating a company dedicated to protecting service members and civilians by providing critical information in critical moments.  

Together, they approached Andrew Reiter, a well-known expert on small autonomous systems who everyone they spoke with at MIT said they needed to recruit to make the venture a success. Andrew already had led the development and deployment of  Draper programs focused on autonomous exploration and 3D-mapping for dense environments. Brandon and Ryan convinced Andrew his experience could make a tremendous difference and he soon joined as Shield AI’s third co-founder. Together, the trio set out to build a business that would push the cutting edge of technology in service to a mission that mattered.

Today, three years later, Shield AI is dedicated to just that mission, and has built a San Diego-based team of almost 50 people who come to work focused on it each day.  Shield AI has launched its first product, Hivemind Nova -- an artificially intelligent robot that autonomously explores indoor and outdoor spaces while streaming video and generating a  map. Meet the three founders here and hear their reflection on how the company began and what the mission means to its future.

“I think the number one reason that people have chosen to join Shield AI is an opportunity to make a difference in a mission that matters.”
- Ryan Tseng, CEO

Watch the video now!