On Tuesday morning, Portland, Oregon-based Skyward announced a $4.1 million funding round with participation from Draper Associates, Founders Co-Op, Norwest Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures, Verizon Ventures and Voyager Capital.
The new round will be used to expand the engineering and product development teams.
“We’ll be expanding our team from 11 employees to 27 by the end of 2015 focusing on product development and engineering in order to bring our software to commercial release” said Mariah Scott, Skyward COO. “The commercial release of our software will allow operators to fly with confidence on the Skyward network making it easy to access and manage the information they need for safe operations – a digital system of record, real-time air chart, and unique IDs.”
Skyward is a UAS information platform that helps drone operators comply with current standards and insurance requirements while making flight and airspace management data easily accessible to drone manufacturers, software developers, federal regulators, and pilots.
“Drones today are like handsets with no network infrastructure,” said David Famolari of Verizon Ventures. “Just as Verizon provides the critical infrastructure necessary to power mobile networking at scale, Skyward will provide the critical infrastructure needed to power the safe, compliant operation of commercial drones.”
Mr. Famolari will be joining Skyward’s board of directors along with Ari Newman of Techstars Ventures.
Last summer, Skyward raised $1.5 million in their seed round of funding, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $5.6 million.
Next up for Skyward is the official demo of the company’s Urban Skyways Project which was announced in the fall.
“Skyward’s Urban Skyways project will feature our real-time air chart that provides access to dynamic information like weather, temporary flight restrictions, and other aircraft in low airspace, as well as the current airspace rules, to help both drones and their operators fly safety,” said Jonathan Evans, Skyward CEO. “As professional helicopter pilots, we flew in the low airspace all the time. There are rules of the road up there, and systems we live by, and Skyward is extending them to drones.”
The demo is set to take place this summer in Vancouver.
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