On Tuesday, San Francisco-based DroneDeploy announced the closing of a $9 million round of Series A funding lead by Emergence Capital in addition to the release of its drone fleet management service, which had been in beta for quite some time.
DroneDeploy’s software-as-a-service allows users to create and manage autonomous flight plans for multiple drones on a mobile device running iOS or Android. In addition to handling the hardware, DroneDeploy also uses a custom cloud-based platform to process any data collect during a drone’s flight and convert it to actionable, shareable formats.
“That’s kind of the dirty secret of drones,” DroneDeploy co-founder and CEO Mike Winn told TechCrunch. “People say ‘I’ve got this amazing flying machine… it can product a 3D model, or it can produce a growth map of your fields — but no one talks about that space in between. How do you get that drone to actually make that growth map of your fields? It takes 50 to 70 clicks. Most of the time you have to have a Windows laptop. You need to buy $8,000 pieces of software…We hide all that complexity. You just take out your mobile phone, you turn on your drone, you press two buttons on your phone, and [the drone] will deliver you back the imagery… in a matter of minutes.”
A subscription to DroneDeploy’s software starts at $99 a month and is initially targeted at farmers, construction outfits and mining companies who wish to take photos or create 3D models of large areas.
But this is just the first step into a much larger world.
“Now we can get a drone to go and fly and create data autonomously,” Winn said, “The next step is to start processing that data and going one level deeper where we can automatically detect change.”
… Which, in addition to scaling to meet demand, is what the new funding will be used for.
Back in May of 2013, DroneDeploy raised $2 million in seed funding from SoftTech, Data Collective, and AngelPad, all of which returned for the Series A.
For more drone apps you can use on your iOS and Android devices, check out DRONELIFE’s Drone App database.
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