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Skydio announced it has raised $230 million in funding following a year that saw its enterprise customer base exceed 1,200 organizations, just three years after entering the enterprise and public sector market.
Skydio drones are now used by every branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, by over half of all U.S. State Departments of Transportation, by over 200 public safety agencies in 47 states and across more than 60 energy utilities. The company has benefited from negative press related to competitor DJI, and restrictions for use of DJI drones by US government agencies.
Skydio is used by enterprises in over a dozen other industries. These customers are automating complex inspection tasks and getting situational awareness in life-and-death situations. On the strength of its autonomy technology, Skydio is now the largest drone manufacturer in the United States.
The $230 million Series E round brings Skydio’s total funding raised to $562 million with a current valuation of over $2.2 billion. Linse Capital led the round, joined by existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Next47, IVP, DoCoMo, NVIDIA, the Walton Family Foundation and UP.Partners. The company also welcomed new investors Hercules Capital and Axon, a technology leader in global public safety and a key Skydio technology partner.
“Drones enable the core industries that our civilization runs on—transportation, public safety, energy, construction, communications, defense, and more—to operate more safely and more efficiently, by putting sensors wherever they’re needed, whenever they’re needed, while keeping people safely on the ground. The transition to autonomy delivers a step change in the accessibility and utility of drones by removing the need for an expert pilot,” said Adam Bry, co-founder and CEO of Skydio. “We are still in the early innings of the industry, but we are seeing extraordinary demand globally from organizations addressing needs important to every citizen.”
Skydio Dock and Skydio Dock Lite, which are powered by the new Remote Ops software and allow drones to be flown without an operator on site, were recently announced. Skydio also just started offering Regulatory Services, which are helping to break through the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) barrier by giving customers permission to fly Skydio drones even when they can’t see them, even if they are fully remote. The industry has reached a turning point when both the technology and the rules are ready for fully autonomous operations.
The company has grown by 30 times in the last three years, making it one of the fastest-growing companies in North America, according to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 awards. The growth is happening in a market that has been dominated in the past by manually flown drones made by Chinese companies that have to follow China’s government policy. Geopolitical tensions that are getting worse have made it even more important to have safe, reliable drones for critical infrastructure, public safety, and defense.
Skydio uses market-leading autonomous flying technology and manufacturing within the US to solve these problems. Skydio added 40% to its staff last year. Skydio also unveiled its 36,000-square-foot Hayward, California production facility, a 10-fold increase in capacity. Skydio aims to add over 150 manufacturing jobs to its Hayward, CA factory and other U.S. locations to meet demand and service its increasing global customer base.
“Skydio drones are being used to save lives and aid in the maintenance of critical infrastructure in ways that sounded like science fiction just a few years ago,” offered Bastiaan Janmat, Managing Director, Linse Capital. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership with Skydio as they solidify their position as the world’s most innovative drone technology company.”
“Drones bring substantial value in maintaining public safety, in particular in terms of increasing visibility and providing a first line of communications for first responders. Skydio fills a critical need in making that value more readily accessible to key stakeholders such as law enforcement thanks to the power of autonomy,” said Henrik Kuhl, SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development at Axon. “We are excited to continue our go-to-market and technology partnership with Skydio as we work together to deepen adoption of this technology in public safety.”