Enterprise drone solutions provider Airware is making big changes. Founder and CEO Jonathan Downey has announced that he will step down later this month to pass the top job on to Airware’s COO Yvonne Wassenaar.
In a letter posted on the Airware blog, Downey reflected on the last six years, since founding the company after his initial exposure to drones as a student at MIT.
“Over that time, the commercial drone industry has been on a remarkable journey, one that has seen incredibly rapid innovation by drone manufacturers, software companies, service providers, and many of the largest enterprises in the world,” said Downey. “The focus of Airware, and the market, has evolved from a focus on the drones to a focus on business impact, and as part of that, I’ve led our evolution from building autopilot hardware and software, to building an enterprise software platform, to delivering vertical applications on our platform in service of enterprises around the world.”
Airware has become an end-to-end enterprise solution, offering a complete drone program solution for large customers. With over $90 million in venture capital funding and an impressive list of industry partnerships – including Caterpillar, GE Ventures, and Intel – the company has been a drone success story with Downey as a well-known figure in the industry.
Yvonne Wassenaar, the company COO, will take over as CEO on June 26. “Our next chapter is all about growth and scale — in customers, deployments, geographies, and use cases. It’s going to mean turning our vision and strategy into consistent execution,” writes Downey. “As different stages in a company’s history often require different leaders and different skills, I’ve been thinking seriously about who will best lead Airware through its next stage of growth and where I can best add the unique value that I can bring to the organization as its founder.”
“…Together, Yvonne and I make a great team, combining a long-term strategic view on the market with deep experience growing and scaling companies, including helping to take one public.”
Wassenaar is a veteran of the high tech industry, serving on multiple boards and acting as CIO of big data company New Relic before joining Airware. Downey will remain on the company’s board of directors as Wassenaar assumes leadership.
“The past 6 years as the CEO of Airware have exceeded my wildest expectations,” he writes. ” …I consider myself extremely lucky to have spent much of the past decade working in a space that so uniquely combines my passion for aviation, my experience in engineering, and my calling as an entrepreneur. I look forward to continuing my work with the Airware team in my continued capacity as the company’s founder and as a board member.”