U.S. Autonomous Drone Maker Skydio Raises $100 Million, Accelerates Growth in Consumer, Enterprise, and Public Sector
Redwood City, Calif., July 13, 2020 — Skydio, the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight technology, today announced it has raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Next47 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. Building on the consumer success of Skydio 2, Skydio plans to leverage the new funding to accelerate product development and go-to-market expansion in enterprise and public sector markets.
Manually-operated consumer drones have dominated the last decade of drone technology adoption in the enterprise. Drones have become critical tools for many enterprises, federal agencies, and public safety organizations. But a variety of factors have limited the scope of deployments, including the complexity, risk, and training costs associated with manpower-intensive manual flight. Founded in 2014 by M.I.T. engineers with world-class expertise in AI, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles, Skydio unlocks the promise of drones through unmatched AI-powered autonomy. Building on the success of Skydio 2, the leading autonomous drone for consumers and enterprises, Skydio plans to further grow its enterprise customer base by introducing several new products and adding top executive talent.
“Enterprises have tasted the value that drones can provide, but are also feeling the pain of conventional manually flown systems. Deployments of drones are constrained by training time, pilot availability, and the difficulty of performing important tasks like detailed inspection,” said Adam Bry, CEO and Co-Founder of Skydio. “With Skydio 2, we set a new standard in AI for drones, and generated incredible traction from enterprise customers. 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.”
“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.”
Drawing talent from some of the world’s top companies and influential government agencies to help fuel its growth, Skydio is announcing the addition of three key executive team members including:
- Mark Cranney as Chief Operating Officer, leading all operations and go-to-market for the company. Prior to joining, he was COO at Signalfx (recently acquired by Splunk), an operating partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), led worldwide-field operations for Opsware (acquired by Hewlett-Packard) and Aster Data Systems (acquired by Teradata). Cranney came to Silicon Valley after being vice president of Americas at Boston-based Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC).
- Brendan Groves as Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs. An expert in regulatory policy and national security, Brendan joins Skydio from the Justice Department (DOJ), where he held a senior role as Associate Deputy Attorney General. At DOJ, Brendan served on the FAA executive committee charged with overseeing the integration of drones into the national airspace system and managed DOJ’s national security policy portfolio.
- Alberto Farronato as Chief Marketing Officer. Alberto brings extensive expertise in marketing and product management of enterprise cloud software and integrated appliances. Alberto joins from Gremlin where he headed up marketing. Previously, he held senior positions at VMware, Mulesoft, and SignalFx.
“The first chapter of the drone market story was written by hardware-centric solutions. 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 set the standard in the drone industry — something many didn’t think possible just a couple of years ago,” said Mark Cranney, COO, Skydio. “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.”
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Skydio is the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight. Skydio leverages breakthrough AI to create the world’s most intelligent flying machines for use by consumer, enterprise, and government customers. Founded in 2014, Skydio is made up of leading experts in AI, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles from top companies, research labs, and universities from around the world. Skydio designs, assembles, and supports its products in the U.S. from its headquarters in Redwood City, CA, to offer the highest standards of supply chain and manufacturing security. Skydio is trusted by leading enterprises across a wide range of industry sectors and is backed by top investors and strategic partners including Andreesen Horowitz, Levitate Capital, Next47, IVP, Playground, and NVIDIA.
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