(Image source: PrecisionHawk.)
PrecisionHawk Inc., a Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of drone technology for businesses, has raised a $75 million in funding from a group of venture and strategic investors led by Third Point Ventures (New York). The latest round brings PrecisionHawk’s total funding to more than $100 million since its founding in 2010.
Additional new investors include Comcast Ventures, Senator Ventures Limited, Constellation Technology Ventures and Syngenta Ventures, among others, with full participation from existing investors Intel Capital, Millennium Technology Value Partners, DuPont Ventures, Verizon Ventures, a subsidiary of USAA, NTT Docomo Ventures, Yamaha Motor and Indiana University’s Innovate Indiana Fund.
“We see the potential for PrecisionHawk to enable enterprises around the world with new tools for 21st century opportunities,” comments Robert Schwartz, Managing Partner, Third Point Ventures. “We believe the business insight that can be achieved with PrecisionHawk technology will be a catalyst for profound transformation, and this investment gives us an opportunity to support their growth and continued industry leadership.”
PrecisionHawk reports that it intends to build upon its success in the commercial drone space and apply capital to expand its team, focus on product innovation and make strategic acquisitions. The company says the immediate moves will support its broader mission of fostering the adoption of commercial drones and capturing a global market opportunity.
“Syngenta has been a PrecisionHawk customer since 2015 and has experienced first-hand the impact of the technology platform; both augmenting and replacing a variety of manual processes for more efficient and scalable operations,” comments Katrin Burt, Managing Director of Syngenta’s (Basel) venture capital group. “This investment reflects our commitment to advancing technologies that could have a real impact within agriculture and our excitement about the potential for PrecisionHawk to lead the commercial drone space across multiple industries.”
PrecisionHawk aims at a broader vision than many drone-tech companies who tend to address one piece of the difficulties businesses face while assessing how to integrate drone data, according to Michael Chasen, the firm’s CEO. “PrecisionHawk’s mission is to empower the enterprise pioneer, from pilot to deployment,” he says. “To drive transformational change, we believe a business needs an integrated hardware-software platform and the technical support to connect to existing systems and workflows.”
Drones are not only replacing old information with more precise information, but are providing an entirely new layer of data that was previously unattainable or economically prohibitive to collect, according to Chasen. “With advanced sensors—such as light detection and ranging—and the analytics to interpret their outputs, organizations are gaining unprecedented visibility into their work—ultimately, making make them more profitable and sustainable,” he says.
Valuable Insights to Businesses
“Drones are increasingly providing valuable insights to businesses across a wide variety of industries, and PrecisionHawk is leading the way in many innovative and forward-thinking applications,” said ClearSky Managing Director James Goldinger, who has joined the PrecisionHawk board of directors.
The size of the funding reflects PrecisionHawk’s growth, and what investors see as a growing business opportunity in commercial drone technology. The company hired over 100 new employees in 2017 and expanded its global footprint to include operations in 150 countries across a variety of industries, adding product offerings in energy, insurance, government and construction. The expanded focus is in addition to the company’s long-standing work with agriculture’s leading enterprises.
Goldman Sachs Research predicts that the sector’s fastest growth will come from businesses and civil governments, who are expected to spend $13 billion on drones between now and 2020.
“We’ve followed the enterprise drone market the last few years and noticed the commercial progress Michael Chasen has been able to make since he joined as CEO last year,” comments Michael Yang, Managing Director at Comcast Ventures. “Under his leadership, the company has extended its lead in agriculture and expanded into verticals such insurance, construction and the government with outstanding success. We believe PrecisionHawk’s drone solutions will deliver tremendous value for customers in these sectors.”