A drone start-up coming off a big win with the Federal Aviation Administration now has a fresh cash pile to put more planes in the air.
Washington, D.C.-based Measure announced Wednesday it completed a “significant” funding round for an undisclosed amount and will become independent from investment firm 32 Advisors. The 1-year-old “drone as a service” company uses the unmanned aircraft to gather data for clients in areas ranging from agriculture to insurance to disaster relief.
The cash stream comes shortly after Measure cleared a major hurdle with the FAA, which can give exceptions for commercial use in the absence of blanket regulations for businesses. Earlier this month, it gave Measure permission to deploy more than 300 models of the aircraft, more than any other commercial operator.
Measure says the money will help it expand industrial offerings and open a new Texas office at a time when diverse sectors have started to experiment with the budding technology.
“We think that services are the future. Large customers won’t have to worry about owning and operating their own drone fleet,” Measure CEO Brandon Torres Declet told CNBC.
The start-up already works with IBM, UPS and the American Red Cross, among others. It operates on the logic that its aircraft can help companies that otherwise could not afford or manage their own drones. Declet declined to give guidance on Measure’s client base and sales, but said that the company has generated revenue “since the very beginning.”
Drones hold enormous potential in taking pictures, gathering data and reaching difficult spots. But at a roughly $50,000 down payment plus a subscription fee, Measure’s services are a costly bet with an uncertain return.
“We’ll see what the demand is for this type of service. A lot of companies don’t even realize what they can do with this technology,” said David Swindell, director of the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University and a drone policy expert.
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