EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: £170m injected into drone industry this year as investors clamour for a piece of the market

The value of the top 10 largest investments in the drone industry during 2018 exceeds more than £170m, according to exclusive research carried out by Commercial Drone Professional.

The scale of funds injected into the industry demonstrates the growing appetite that private investors have for the drone sector and sets a benchmark that will likely be exceeded in 2019.

The 10 largest deals uncovered by CDP this year were collectively worth £170.2m and it is this high level of investment that has prompted market research analysts to predict that the commercial drone industry will be worth around £1.5bn by 2022.

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This rise, estimated by Million Insights, would be an increase from a valuation of £410m in 2014, showing a CAGR of 16.9%.

Here is Commercial Drone Professional’s top ten drone investments of 2018.

You can click each sub-heading to read the full story on each investment.

PrecisionHawk £53m: 

PrecisionHawk, a global provider of drone technology for enterprise, secured a bumper investment to boost the take-up of commercial drone technology around the world.

The commercial drone and data company, which was founded in 2010, raised £53m through a round of funding from a group of venture and strategic investors.

The investment brought PrecisionHawk’s total funding to more than £79m for the last eight years.

Airobots £23m:

Automated drone startup Airobotics recently closed a £23m Series D round of funding.

The new round of funding is set to be used to further scale Airobotics operations in the United States and Australia.

Pavilion Capital led the round, joining a list of prominent investors, including BlueRun Ventures, Charles River Ventures and OurCrowd, as well as additional private investors.

DroneDeploy £19m:

DroneDeploy, a San Francisco-based drone mapping platform provider, locked in a bumper investment as part of a plan to target growth.

The company secured a £19m investment, funding it hopes it can to use to take its platform to the ‘next level’ and break into new industries.

“With this new funding round, we have the opportunity to work with more customers who will bring our drone data platform to new industries, and transform workflows on every job site,” said Mike Winn, CEO at DroneDeploy.

Airspace Systems £14m:

Manufacturer of drone defence systems raised £14.9m to develop new technology aimed at strengthening the protection of public venues from enemy drones.

Airspace Systems drummed up support from a Series A funding round led by Singtel Innov8, the venture capital arm of Singtel with participation from s28 Capital and previous investors Shasta Ventures and Granite Hill Capital Partners.

With the funding, the company said it would produce the Airspace Command Center (AC2), a comprehensive drone defense system, and expand its Silicon Valley-based machine vision, navigation and systems teams.

Verity Studios £14m:

Verity Studios AG, a global indoor drone technology specialist, raised £14.5m in a Series A funding round.

It said it planned to use the investment to expand its live events business, with a heavy focus on US growth, as well as to expand into other commercial verticals.

Fontinalis Partners, a venture capital firm, led the round.

Matternet £12m:

Boeing signalled its support for the growth of the UAV sector by funnelling cash into an urban aerial delivery start-up, Matternet.

The multinational corporation led the £12m Series A investment for the a California-based start-up.

The firm specialises in on-demand unmanned aerial vehicle delivery operations in urban environments.

Sentera £10.8m:

Sentera, a digital agriculture technology provider, raised around £10.8m in Series A funding for further development.

The company’s sensors and AI technology help to rapidly detect nutrition, disease, and plant status issues, in applications ranging from corn and soybeans to vegetables, fruit, and nuts.

Sentera information integrates directly with most integrated data management platforms, including John Deere Operations Center and Climate FieldView.

Flyability £8.5m:

Flyability closed its Series B round of funding after raising £8.5m.

Following the end of the round, Flyability said it would use the additional funds to plan for the future of indoor autonomous inspection.

Flyability’s Series A investor ETF Partners co-led the round together with Swisscom Ventures which joined the round with a significant stake, along with historical investors GoBeyond and MKS.

Clobotics £8.5m:

Clobotics, a startup using robotics and artificial intelligence, has secured an eight-figure investment to strengthen its presence in the drone market.

The two-year-old company, with headquarters in Shanghai and Bellevue, has raised £8.5m in a Series A round of funding.

Over the past 24 months, Clobotics has raised a total of £16.3m.

DroneBase £8m:

DroneBase raised around £8m in funding to help support the expansion of its drone operations services for enterprises.

The third round of investment helped to support more commercial drone missions for DroneBase’s enterprise clients across various industries such as real estate, insurance, telecommunications, construction, and media.

The investment was provided by Union Square Ventures (USV) and Upfront Ventures, alongside DJI and new investors Hearst Ventures and Pritzker Group.

Propeller Aero £7.4m:

Propeller Aero secured a new infusion of funding to enable its plans to ‘aggressively’ scale up the business.

The cloud-based analytics company visualises drone survey data in civil construction received £7.4m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Blackbird Ventures.

*Please note this list comprises investments that CDP has been made aware of in 2018. If you think we have overlooked any significant transactions please feel free to get in touch! 

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Alex Douglas

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