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AI drone maker raises $100m

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty


The Series C funding, led by Next47 with NTT DOCOMO Ventures and Levitate Capital, includes existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, and Playground, bringing the AI drone company’s total funding to $170 million.

After the consumer launch of its Skydio 2, the funding will accelerate product development for the enterprise and public sector markets.

Remotely operated consumer drones have dominated the last decade of drone technology adoption in the enterprise, but this has struggled to scale. Skydio’s approach is to use machine learning to provide autonomous decision making in the drones. A key partner in this is early investor Nvidia.

“Enterprises have tasted the value that drones can provide, but are also feeling the pain of conventional manually flown systems. Deployments of drones are constrained by training time, pilot availability, and the difficulty of performing important tasks like detailed inspection,” said Adam Bry, CEO and Co-Founder of Skydio. “With Skydio 2, we set a new standard in AI for drones, and generated incredible traction from enterprise customers. With this funding and the addition of a world-class enterprise go-to-market and regulatory team, we are excited to take the next steps to bring autonomous drones to the enterprise.”

“The drone market has reached a critical mass of commercial revenues and top-down buying behaviours, solidifying our thesis that now is the right time to invest,” said T.J. Rylander, General Partner at Next47. “Skydio has what we firmly believe is the best autonomy stack in the world. While their innovation is in the software, they also developed the hardware to create an integrated product that fully capitalizes on autonomous capabilities. We’re excited to be a key partner in their growth.”

 

“The first chapter of the drone market story was written by hardware-centric solutions. The next one will be led by software and autonomy. Skydio has clear leadership in the AI-powered autonomy that will define the future of the industry by creating the best user experience. With Skydio 2, we’ve proven that an American company can not only compete but can set the standard in the drone industry — something many didn’t think possible just a couple of years ago,” said Mark Cranney, the new chief operating officer at Skydio. “The additional capital from this financing allows us to invest even more in our industry-leading products while we extend and deepen our relationships in the enterprise and public sector markets.”

The company spun out of MIT in 2014 with key skills in AI, imaging and camera systems.

www.skydio.com

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