Skydio Inc. announced today that it has raised $100 million in Series C funding. The Redwood City, Calif.-based autonomous drone maker said it plans to use the investment to accelerate product development and expansion in enterprise and public-sector markets.
Founded in 2014, Skydio claims to be the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and a world leader in autonomous flight. Its staff includes experts in artificial intelligence, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles from top companies, research labs, and universities from around the world. The company said its drones serve consumer, enterprise, and government customers.
Skydio 2 addresses need for autonomy
Manually operated consumer drones have become critical tools for many businesses, government agencies, and public safety organizations, said Skydio. But a variety of factors have limited the scope of deployments, including the complexity, risk, and training costs associated with labor-intensive direct piloting, according to the company.
“Enterprises have tasted the value that drones can provide but are also feeling the pain of conventional manually flown systems,” stated Adam Bry, co-founder and CEO of Skydio. “Deployments of drones are constrained by training time, pilot availability, and the difficulty of performing important tasks like detailed inspection.”
“With Skydio 2, we set a new standard in AI for drones and generated incredible traction from enterprise customers,” he said. “With this funding and the addition of a world-class enterprise go-to-market and regulatory team, we are excited to take the next steps to bring autonomous drones to the enterprise.”
Building on the success of Skydio 2, Skydio plans to further grow its enterprise customer base by introducing several new products and adding top executive talent.
New executives named
Skydio also announced the addition of three members to its executive team. The first is Mark Cranney as chief operating officer, leading all operations and go-to-market for the company. He was previously chief operating officer at Signalfx, which Splunk recently acquired. Cranney was also an operating partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and led worldwide field operations for Opsware (acquired by Hewlett-Packard) and Aster Data Systems (acquired by Teradata). He came to Silicon Valley after being vice president of Americas at Boston-based Parametric Technology Corp. (PTC).
Brendan Groves is the new head of regulatory and policy affairs at Skydio. He was an associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he managed the agency’s national security portfolio. Groves also served on the Federal Aviation Administration executive committee charged with overseeing regulatory integration of drones into the national airspace system.
Skydio has named Alberto Farronato as chief marketing officer. He has extensive expertise in marketing and product management of enterprise cloud software and integrated appliances. Farronato previously led marketing at Gremlin and held senior positions at VMware, Mulesoft, and SignalFx.
Skydio looks to lead in software
Next47 led Skydio’s Series C round, with participation from Levitate Capital, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, and Playground, bringing the company’s total funding to $170 million. Skydio’s strategic partners include NVIDIA.
“The drone market has reached a critical mass of commercial revenues and top-down buying behaviors, solidifying our thesis that now is the right time to invest,” said T.J. Rylander, general partner at Next47. “Skydio has what we firmly believe is the best autonomy stack in the world. While their innovation is in the software, they also developed the hardware to create an integrated product that fully capitalizes on autonomous capabilities. We’re excited to be a key partner in their growth.”
“The first chapter of the drone market story was written by hardware-centric solutions,” said Cranney. “The next one will be led by software and autonomy. Skydio has clear leadership in the AI-powered autonomy that will define the future of the industry by creating the best user experience.”
“With Skydio 2, we’ve proven that an American company can not only compete but can [also] set the standard in the drone industry — something many didn’t think possible just a couple of years ago,” he added. “The additional capital from this financing allows us to invest even more in our industry-leading products while we extend and deepen our relationships in the enterprise and public-sector markets.”