Announcing the Genesis Program’s Investment in Drones of Prey

On behalf of the Genesis Program, I’m excited to announce our recent investment in Drones of Prey. Drones of Prey is creating an autonomous defense system designed to protect a wide range of locations from infiltration by unknown drones.

The Problem

As the commercial market for drones expands, reports of drones causing undesired disruptions and inconveniences are growing proportionally. Drone incidents range from criminals flying contraband into prisons to ordinary people unintentionally causing thousands in property damage with stray drones. These incidents are tame when compared to the most concerning threat of drone-enabled terrorism. While this threat has yet to significantly materialize, it underpins the necessity for both proactive and reactive measures to protect civilian airspace.

Drones of Prey seeks to neutralize these threats. Their innovative counter-drone solution enables capture of unknown drones unhindered by magazine capacity. To do this, Drones of Prey combines a capture wire- and claw-equipped guardian drone with sensor packages capable of 24/7 monitoring and detection.

The Founders

Drones of Prey was founded by Michael Cohen (CEO) and Kevin Lenau (COO). The two met through their Fall 2017 MBA cohort class and were brought together by their interest in safeguarding civilian space from the growing drone threat.

Michael Cohen (Left) and Kevin Lenau (Right)

Michael Cohen (M.B.A ’18) — Michael serves as the CEO of Drones of Prey. Michael brings expertise from his specialization in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Planning at the McCombs School of Business and his previous marketing and business development role at Dropoff Inc. He is fully committed to being the CEO of his own startup within the growing Austin entrepreneurship ecosystem and plans to devote all of his resources and time to this venture post-graduation.

Kevin Lenau (M.B.A ’21) — Kevin serves as the COO of Drones of Prey. As a former Low Altitude Defense Officer in the Marines, Kevin knows the drone defense space well. His experience allows him to foresee hurdles, both technical and regulatory, that Drones of Prey must overcome to stay ahead of the actors the company is attempting to thwart.

How’re They Doing?

Drones of Prey was founded just a few months ago but is already making rapid progress through hours of hard work at Capital Factory. The team has created an initial hardware prototype that is being rapidly iterated on to optimize its capabilities. The team also established connections with another advanced drone company at Capital Factory and sees huge potential in this collaboration.

Why I Led This Deal by Catherine Cheng, Due Diligence Analyst

Everything about Drones of Prey says “forward looking” and having worked with Michael and Kevin throughout this process, I can say with confidence that they are the right team to lead this movement forward. From an everyday perspective, it is certainly difficult to see the value inherent in counter-drone technology, yet it is exactly because of this disconnect between the civilian, commercial, and military space that Drones of Prey has the potential to make a splash. With a clear perspective on the future development of drones in commercial and civilian airspace, Michael and Kevin have been able to develop a technology that protects the skies of future days — that in and of itself is a reason to be excited about this deal. As Michael and Kevin continue to push this movement forward through turbulent legal waters, I am confident the rest of the UT Entrepreneurship Community and eventually the nation will watch with anticipation.