DroneBase Raises $12M in Series B Funding to Expand Drone Operations Technology

The drone operator intents to expand its enterprise offering to include AirCraft Pro and innovate the platform to become more relevant, data-rich and valuable to businesses.

(Image source: DroneBase website.) 

DroneBase, a global drone operations company based in Santa Monica, Calif., announced that it has raised $12 million in Series B funding to expand its drone operations services for enterprises. Union Square Ventures (USV, New York) and Upfront Ventures (Santa Monica) co-led the round with DJI (Shenzhen, China) and new investors Hearst Ventures (New York) and Pritzker Group (Chicago). The latest round brings DroneBase’s total funding to over $17 million.

Dan Burton, CEO, DroneBase.

“With our $12 million Series B funding, we’re going to focus our efforts to expand our enterprise offering to include AirCraft Pro and innovate the platform to become more relevant, data-rich and valuable for businesses across industries,” Dan Burton, Co-Founder and CEO, DroneBase, told Insurance Innovation Reporter. “With AirCraft Pro, we will be able to train our pilots on CAD models before conducting a mission on a physical building and use the technology to help identify damage.”

DroneBase reports that it recently completed over 100,000 commercial drone missions for enterprise clients across various industries, including insurance, real estate, telecommunications, construction, and media. The company claims the largest, most engaged and skilled drone pilot network, which its says has grown ten-fold year over year for the past two years. Through this network, DroneBase says it is able to turn around a client mission in less than 48 hours.

Increasing Efficiency for Claims Adjusters, Insurance Carriers

“We help our insurance partners acquire drone imagery and data from all over the world,” Burton added. “The DroneBase API allows our partners to upload hundreds or thousands of addresses directly into our workflow to maximize efficiency, lower costs, and decrease turnaround time. This allows insurance adjusters to focus on their specialty, rather than spend their time driving from address to address.”

DroneBase’s announcement of the funding round offers the specifics that the company will focus on expanding its enterprise offering to include AirCraft Pro. DroneBase claims that its AirCraft technology is the first augmented reality (AR) technology for both recreational and commercial drone use. Since AirCraft’s launch on the DroneBase Pilot App, the vendor says that drone pilots have placed hundreds of thousands of blocks throughout the world. AirCraft Pro will be available later in 2018, enabling companies from insurance to construction and real estate to telecom to use the AR technology for a wide variety of use cases.

Relevant, Data-Rich API

(Drone pilots can be trained via CAD models with DroneBase’s AirCraft Pro application. Image source DroneBase.)

“DroneBase has addressed two key challenges in the industry by providing reliable, affordable and scalable drone services for enterprises across industries, while offering opportunities for pilots of all skill sets with purposeful reasons to fly their drones,” comments Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Partnerships, DJI. “This round marks DJI’s third investment in DroneBase through SkyFund, which demonstrates our confidence in their continued success in an industry that, while growing at a rapid pace, is just at the beginning of realizing its full potential.”

DroneBase says it will also innovate its platform and API to become even more relevant, data-rich, and valuable for all of its clients. DroneBase says that its API allows enterprise companies to work with DroneBase at scale, offering customers a way to seamlessly send 100’s or 1000’s of orders directly into DroneBase’s workflow to maximize efficiency, lower costs, and decrease turnaround time. Through a recent integration with AirMap, the DroneBase API also provides instant airspace clearance in U.S. controlled airspace near select FAA facilities, allowing for more flights for more customers.

Further Broadening Global Pilot Network

DroneBase reports that it recently launched the DroneBase Pilot App on Android in the Google Play store, enabling opportunities for more pilots to take part in missions. The proprietary Pilot Dashboard shows pilots the number of missions flown, amount earned to date, and active missions. By being available on Android, DroneBase says it seeks to further broaden the reach of its global pilot network.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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