San Francisco-based Kittyhawk, the enterprise drone solutions company, today announced it raised $5M in funding, bringing the company’s total capital raised to $6.5M. “Kittyhawk raised the capital to further its capabilities as a full stack enterprise drone solution to empower a variety of industries already realizing value from commercial drone operations,” says the announcement.
Kittyhawk offers an enterprise drone operations solution. It’s features are encompassing and designed to handle a complex, in-house drone operation: the kind being developed by Fortune 500 companies who will lead the way for wide-spread enterprise adoption.
The company has bet on that base expanding, and they’ve been able to attract big customers in a newly emerging market. That’s something that Jim Andelman of Bonfire Ventures, a Santa Monica-based seed fund focused on enterprise software who led the round, says was critical to their investment: “We were blown away by the quality of Kittyhawk’s enterprise customer base: Fortune 500 companies who themselves are leading the way in enterprise UAS adoption,” said Andelman. “We were impressed by not only this current level of traction but also by the team’s thoughtfulness about the coming evolution of this industry. With their degree of forethought and vision, we’re confident that Kittyhawk will be well positioned to continue to lead the way. They’re two steps ahead of how we heard everyone else thinking about this space.”
The Kittyhawk platform is “designed for commercial drone operations both large and small,” says a company announcement. “Kittyhawk’s enterprise solution unifies the mission, the aircraft, and the data to empower companies to manage in-house commercial drone operations. From one singular platform, enterprises can manage the complexity of operators, aircraft, airspace, data analytics, insights and compliance to maximize safety and ROI.”
“Kittyhawk is in the unique position of being central to all of the enterprise stakeholders — from data collectors to data consumers,” said Michael Blades, Senior Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “ Therefore, their market spans across a multitude of industries and verticals, they go deeper and wider than any other solution currently in the market”.
The Kittyhawk co-founders, Jon Hegranes and Josh Ziering, have been active advocates for innovators in the industry. They are on the forefront of new developments as they are released in the areas of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and LAANC.
“When paired with the broad portfolio of complementary data service offerings within Boeing, Kittyhawk is poised to help us shape the future of safe autonomous flight,” said Brian Schettler, Managing Director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Boeing’s partnership with Kittyhawk on the FAA Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program heralds the continued maturation of the commercial drone industry. We are excited to continue to explore new capabilities made possible through foresight, expertise and a focus on holistic solutions that support the safe integration of unmanned systems into the national airspace.”
With the new funding, Kittyhawk will continue to innovate and stretch the boundaries of what the platform can accomplish.
“As enterprises integrate and scale the number of drones in their workflow, they will be searching for ways to increase their oversight. Kittyhawk’s new artificial intelligence-powered feature, Hawkeye, will help fewer people manage a rapidly increasing number of flights, particularly as autonomous operations come to fruition,” says the announcement. “Kittyhawk will use the same technology that genetic researchers are using to find cures for debilitating diseases and the same technology that search engines are using to surface insights from the entirety of humanity’s knowledge base.”
“The needs and wants of drone operations are evolving, requiring complex planning, automation, and analysis across the airspace and mass amounts of telemetry and sensor data,” said Jon Hegranes, Co-Founder & CEO. “Kittyhawk’s future product roadmap will address more parts of the tech stack, workflow, and global stakeholders.”
Josh Ziering, Kittyhawk’s Co-Founder and Chief Pilot, says that the company is in a singular position to move the industry forward. “We’re at a wonderful inflection point where the novel things that drones can do are now offering real value to the enterprise. As drones become commonplace and even passe to the public, they’re becoming more valuable to the enterprise with each iteration of tech and regulation,” said Ziering. “The Kittyhawk team has a unique opportunity to help build the future of the commercial drone industry, and I’ve never been more confident in our team’s ability to execute on a globally disruptive level.”
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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