Gauging the Drone Industry’s Worth: $187 Million Raised in the last Six Months
BY Zacc Dukowitz19 July 2018
Over the last few years we’ve heard a lot of talk about how much the drone industry is growing. A recent report from Skyward found that 10% of respondents at the companies surveyed were using drones, with that number expected to double in the near future, adding more drone jobs to the market.
There’s also an often-cited Goldman Sach’s report on the drone industry, which projects a $100 billion market opportunity for drones (this projection includes both commercial and civil government sectors of the drone industry).
But wrapping your head around whether the drone industry is in fact growing as predicted—really finding those concrete indicators of this growth, instead of just reading about huge, vague projections—well, that isn’t always such an easy thing to do.
However, when you review the last six months (January 2018—June 2018), you can see that the drone industry really is thriving.
One of the biggest indicators of an industry’s growth is whether people are actually willing to risk money taking bets on it. And when you look back on the successful fundraising rounds drone companies have had over the last six months, you can really see how much the industry is growing.
Let’s take a look at who those companies raising money are, and what they plan to do with the funds raised.
A graph showing the amount each company covered in this article raised in the last 6 months
Back in January, PrecisionHawk announced that they had raised a whopping $75 million, and then in June the news came out that, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, they’d added an additional $195,503 in equity.
PrecisionHawk plans to use the money they’ve raised to continue developing a full enterprise solution stack for commercial drone applications. This development includes the creation of drone hardware, sensors, software, and end-to-end support for integrating aerial data and analytics into the enterprise.
In early May, PrecisionHawk made headlines for the release of its new BVLOS technology at AUVSI XPONENTIAL, which came out at the same time as their corresponding Pathfinder report on BVLOS.
PrecisionHawk’s mission is to empower the enterprise pioneer, from pilot to deployment. To drive transformational change, we believe a business needs an integrated hardware-software platform and the technical support to connect to existing systems and workflows.
– Michael Chasen, CEO of PrecisionHawk
In the early spring, Skydio announced that they’d raised $42 million in a series B funding round, which brought their total capital raised up to $70 million. The fundraising round was led by Playground Global and IVP, as well as Nvidia, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kevin Durant.
Skydio hopes to succeed in carving out space for itself in the consumer drone market despite the dominance of DJI, and will use these funds to continue work on its R1 drone, which is, in their words, the “first fully autonomous flying camera” (it is a pretty impressive UAV—you can see it in action in the video below).
Toward the end of June, drone software company DroneDeploy announced that they had raised $25 million in a series C round of funding led by the Invenergy Future Fund. Other participants in the fundraising round included Scale Venture Partners, Uncork Capital, Emergence Capital, AngelPad, and AirTree.
Up to this point DroneDeploy had raised about $31 million, so the series C almost doubles their total capital raised.
According to DroneDreploy, they plan to use these funds to expand their data platform into new industries.
With this new funding round, we have the opportunity to work with more customers who will bring our drone data platform to new industries and transform workflows on every job site.
– Mike Winn, DroneDeploy CEO and Co-Founder
Cape Analytics—$17 Million
Last month Cape Analytics announced that it had raised $17 million in a series B funding round led by insurance-centric VC fund XL Innovate. The round also included a number of Cape Analytics’ own insurance customers and partners, including The Hartford, Nephila, CSAA Insurance Group, Cincinnati Financial, and State Auto Labs Fund.
The funding will be used to grow its aerial imagery platform, which meshes computer vision with geospatial imagery to provide accurate data on properties to insurance companies located in the United States. Cape Analytics’ platform uses AI to organize and interpret huge amounts of data, and the funds will help continue to improve their software.
In late June, drone delivery company Matternet announced that they had raised $16 million in a fundraising round lead by Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures (Boeing’s venture section), along with investors Levitate Capital, Swiss Post, and the Sony Innovation Fund.
Matternet plans to use the funds to expand their delivery operations internationally, as well as in the United States.
Between [Matternet’s] success in Switzerland and being selected by the FAA to test unmanned aerial networks in the U.S., we are excited to work together to reimagine how the world connects and shape the next generation of transportation solutions.
– Brian Schettler, Boeing HorizonX Ventures Managing Director
In mid-spring, DroneBase announced that they’d raised $12 million in a series B funding round co-led by Union Square Ventures and Upfront Ventures. Other funders included DJI, Pritzker Group, and Hearst Ventures.
When announcing the outcome of the Series B, DroneBase also announced a new enterprise level platform for their augmented reality platform, designed to help companies with fleets of drone pilots in training for various scenarios.
This round marks DJI’s third investment in DroneBase through SkyFund, which demonstrates our confidence in their continued success in an industry that, while growing at a rapid pace, is just at the beginning of realizing its full potential.
– Jan Gasparic, DJI Executive