CB Insights recently published their Industry Analytics 2014 for the commercial drones industry and it should come as no surprise that the numbers show tremendous growth. Year-over-year funding for drone companies was up 104% in 2014 exceeding $108 million.
The number of VC backed drone companies has doubled since 2012 as firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have jumped on the hype train.
And we are still in the beginning stages! Majority of the companies in CB Insights’ study had only raised Series A funding and only a handful had pursued subsequent funding rounds.
“Of the current crop of drone startups, Airware is the most well-funded having raised $40M from firms including First Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Felicis Ventures in addition to a strategic investment from GE Ventures,” the report reads. “3D Robotics is a close second, having raised $35M from investors including True Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Mayfield Fund.” The top 5 most well-funded private drone startups are listed below:
Of course, this study only tracks VC dollars. Crowdfunding also proved to be a viable way to acquire investment dollars for drone manufacturers in 2014. Campaigns such as AirDog, Hexo+, and Zano each raised well over a million dollars on Kickstarter and will officially launch their UAVs this year.
So, as the money pours in at an exponential rate, expect to see big developments from the commercial drone industry – especially now that the FAA finally has proposed some regulations.
As Lux Capital’s Bilal Zuberi said in a recent post on his blog BZNotes “Regulatory uncertainty kept many investors on the sidelines. Clarity from FAA should help all such investors, including those interested in investing in not-technology but service businesses built downstream… We should continue to see great things emerge form this industry that is currently attracting some of the smartest minds in engineering.”
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com