Funding for U.S. drone manufacturers has just broken through another record, as Skydio investment soars by a $170 million Series D round. The Series D round was led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Growth Fund.
The announcement is the latest chapter in the stunning Skydio story. Introduced in 2019, Skydio’s autonomous platform was breakthrough technology for the industry. For the commercial industry, this new level of autonomy allows complex missions to be performed with accuracy – without depending entirely upon the skill of the human pilot. The company had already received the largest investment round in the drone industry with $100 million in July of 2020: this new round of Skydio investment “brings total funding raised to over $340 million with a current valuation of over $1 billion,” says the company announcement. “With the additional capital raised, Skydio will further accelerate product development and global sales expansion to support the rapidly growing demand for its autonomous drone solutions.”
“The initial wave of hype around enterprise drones passed many years ago, but we’re now seeing these markets really mature. Autonomy is the key for drones to reach scale, and Skydio has established themselves as the defining company in this category. We’re excited to continue to invest in this magical combination of breakthrough technology, rapid growth, and an incredible team in a market that’s going through an inflection point,” said David Ulevitch, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
“From the moment we met the Skydio team and saw the S2 in action, we knew this was going to be a world-changing company. Think of all the dangerous jobs requiring ladders, harnesses, or helicopters to do work that can now, with Skydio, be done much more safely and efficiently. Autonomous drones will enable our aging infrastructure to be monitored much more effectively and our first responders will have greater situational awareness than ever before,” said Bastiaan Janmaat, Partner at Linse Capital.
Skydio drones are manufactured in the U.S., which has also proved an important selling point for government customers as the U.S. government moves away from Chinese-manufactured technology platforms. Skydio’s government and public safety solution, the Skydio X2D, was included on the U.S. government Blue sUAS list: a short list of only 5 vetted and approved secure platforms. The U.S. government has also indicated recognition of drone technology as an essential platform, providing Skydio and other drone companies with CARES Act funding during the pandemic.
It’s the autonomy platform, however, that has really made Skydio stand out – in the consumer, commercial, and government markets. “Over the last year Skydio has made significant progress in every market category,” says the press release. “From the continued adoption of Skydio 2 by consumers, to the largest ever enterprise drone deal with EagleView for residential roof inspection, to the downselection for final integration as part of the Army Short Range Reconnaissance Program, Skydio has been chosen in a myriad of deployments across construction companies, departments of transportation, energy utilities, and police departments. Leading enterprises and public sector organizations, including Jacobs Engineering, Sundt Construction, the US Civil Air Patrol, Ohio Department of Transportation, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Boston PD, and Sacramento Metro Fire Department, rely on Skydio autonomous drones for infrastructure inspection, search and rescue, situational awareness, emergency response and many more use cases.”
“This is an important milestone for us as a company, but also for the U.S. drone industry. Together with our customers, we’re proving that a U.S. company can lead the way in this industry through AI and autonomy. Things are already pretty exciting, but we are just scratching the surface of what autonomous drones can do,” said Adam Bry, CEO and Co-founder of Skydio.
What’s next? The Skydio investment will be used to accelerate the companies already stratospheric growth. The company says that customers can look forward to the release of the new Skydio X2, and Skydio 3D Scan, the first-of-its-kind adaptive scanning software.