3D Robotics Inc., a major drone manufacturer, will cut jobs and restructure in order to shift its focus from consumer drones into the commercial market, Marketwatch reports.
Citing heavy competition from industry leader DJI – reportedly holding over 70% of the consumer drone market – 3DR says that they are moving more quickly than anticipated into the commercial drone market. DJI has flooded the market with their best selling Phantom, slashing prices of the previous model before their well-publicized release of the Phantom 4.
“DJI is doing great, it’s because they are moving so fast, it’s forcing the others to adapt,” 3DR co-founder and Chief Executive Chris Anderson told MarketWatch. “Some companies are adapting by leaving, and others are adapting by moving upstream to the enterprise, which was always our plan. And is it just accelerating right now.”
3DR, based in Berkeley, CA currently employs about 100 people. Anderson declined to comment on an exact number of layoffs, saying that it represented a “minority” and had been a six to nine month process as the company streamlined it’s processes, outsourcing manufacturing and warehousing operations..
While Anderson will remain CEO, the chief product officer, Jeevan Kalanithi has been named president, allowing Anderson to focus on company strategy.
3DR raised a total of $99 million in startup funding, attracting a variety of large investors including the Mayfield Fund, Qualcomm, and SanDisk Corp. With the new restructuring, Anderson told Marketwatch that they should not have to seek additional funding until 2017.
Anderson said 3DR plans to develop more commercial, SaaS products like Site Scan, the aerial analytics platform launched in early March.
3DR is not the only drone manufacturer feeling competition from DJI. Earlier this year, the CEO of French drone manufacturing company Parrot told reporters that he predicted “a bloody year” for drone companies, one that would see many players leave the market or shift their focus.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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