Far less has been said about how the data these devices collect will become part of real-world business applications.
Enter DroneDeploy, a three-year-old cloud software startup that this week disclosed a $9 million Series A round led by Emergence Capital. Its service, priced starting at $99 per month, helps businesses incorporate aerial maps and images into mobile applications.
Notes Emergence Capital general partner Kevin Spain: “DroneDeploy’s software solutions in their ease-of-use, speed with which they generate data, and ability to leverage the cloud to instantly deliver critical information to users’ smartphones and tablets.”
The San Francisco-based company’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Winn, said DroneDeploy’s early adopters include farmers, constructions contractors and mining companies that need a bird’s-eye view into changing conditions on the ground. The software can even deliver maps while the drone is still in flight.
“You can turn the drone on and build a 3-D model or map of your farm or land, and you can do this very cheaply,” Winn said.
Winn, a former Google software engineer, began piloting drones as a hobbyist six years ago. Aside from the funding disclosed Tuesday, his company this week scored a high-profile partnership with DJI, the world’s largest consumer drone manufacturer. Famous owners include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and media mogul Martha Stewart.
By some estimates, the global market for non-military applications is $2.5 billion and growing at a pace of at least 10% annually. That’s despite a very uncertain regulatory environment.
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