Over the last two years DJI has emerged as the world’s most popular consumer drone maker, at least by revenue. And The Verge has learned that the company is currently in talks with Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms to potentially raise a new round of funding. Sources familiar with the negotiations say DJI reported around $500 million in revenue for 2014, roughly four times what it did in 2013, and is on pace to do about $1 billion in sales this year. The potential valuation of the company would be a healthy multiple of that, several billion dollars, although no deal has yet been finalized.
The company helped bring small, powerful drones to the masses with its Phantom line of quadcopters, our favorite unit during last year’s testing. In doing so, the Shenzhen based firm became one of the first Chinese companies to help forge a new category of consumer electronics at global scale. The Phantom was simple enough for beginners, but powerful enough to interest serious hobbyists, professional photographers, and filmmakers. Last year we dubbed it “the kleenex of drones,” and that ubiquity has become a very big business.
With over 2,800 employees, DJI now has offices in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Tokyo, and Kobe. It sells several different variations of its Phantom drone, as well as its higher-end “prosumer” unit, the Inspire One, and its much larger S-class units. It also has a popular line of gimbals used for stabilizing cameras during flight, and has translated that technology into a handheld camera stabilizer, the Ronin, used by film and TV professionals.
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