In a further sign of the maturation of the drone industry, North Carolina-based PrecisionHawk today announced that Michael Chasen has been appointed as the company’s new chief executive officer (CEO). Chasen is a serial entrepreneur and veteran technology leader with more than 20 years of software experience. His appointment is an effort to accelerate PrecisionHawk’s growth in the commercial drone market.
The announcement follows closely on the heels of Kespry’s recent appointment of George Mathew as their new CEO. As companies emerge from their start up phase it is not uncommon for them to bring in seasoned executives who can help them take the next step. Both firms provide turnkey drone driven solutions for a variety of industries (e.g. agriculture, mining, construction) and both combine drones with cloud based analytics platforms. These firms along with several others (DroneDeploy, Agribotix, etc) will be fighting it out to be the market leader in drone driven data intelligence.
Michael Chasen was previously the CEO and co-founder of Blackboard, an education technology platform. Michael took Blackboard public in 2004 and eventually sold the company in 2011 to Providence Equity Partners for $1.7 billion. Michael then founded and became CEO of SocialRadar, a geo-location company that utilized satellite and street level imagery to determine the exact location of businesses. SocialRadar was acquired by Verizon in 2016.
“Michael is a talented and experienced CEO with remarkable success in architecting and scaling a technology platform,” said Bob Young, PrecisionHawk Chairman and former CEO. “Under his leadership, PrecisionHawk is well positioned to expand its technology offerings and optimize the integration of its platform into the existing business processes of its clients.”
PrecisionHawk provides an enterprise platform that uses advanced drone technology to collect and analyze data to improve business intelligence. The platform includes automated flight planning, tracking, data collection, and analytics. PrecisionHawk’s technology is used across multiple industries including agriculture, construction, energy, insurance and by the government. With a big influx of funding last spring; a growing string of key partnerships; and a rapidly expanding customer base PrecisionHawk is experiencing a tremendous growth period.
VP Marketing and Communications Lia Reich explains: “As an industry, we are focused on delivering very high value solutions to potential users of drone technology, and the team at PrecisionHawk has done a fantastic job, to date, of providing those technologies and services to the market. That said, the search for a CEO was driven by the need to take PrecisionHawk to the next stage. Michael grew Blackboard from a handful of employees to 3,000, and his experience and vision will help PrecisionHawk, as Bob Young aptly put, ‘cross the chasm.'”
PrecisionHawk also serves as a key leader in shaping regulations and policies that promote the safe and rapid adoption of drones both through its work under the FAA Pathfinder program and development of its LATAS drone safety platform. The company is a high profile contributor to the drone industry’s efforts to see beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight introduced under federal regulations, participating in research and testing in cooperation the FAA, and was the first drone company in the US to receive a waiver for BVLOS flight.
“Adoption of drone technology among major industries is growing at an incredible rate. By engineering an ecosystem that allows companies to gain valuable information, PrecisionHawk is at the forefront of one of the most important areas of technology innovation,” said Chasen. “The PrecisionHawk team has all of the building blocks that are required to become the world leader in commercial drone technology, and I am looking forward to the growth and immense opportunity ahead.”
Updated January 25 1:00 pm EST