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Top drone startups find venture capital flying their way

Bob Brown | April 22, 2016
UAV startups focused on management, security, big data and more.

Zipline, another drone startup with noble intentions, earlier this month came out of stealth mode with word it has raised $18 million, including from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang. Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures and Stanford University have also piled on this San Francisco company, formerly known as robotics-oriented Romotive, that has the aim of delivering medical supplies via drones to places such as Rwanda.

A startup called Airware that late last month announced $30 million in Series C funding, including from former Cisco CEO John Chambers, has been described as wanting to supply the equivalent of Windows for drones. In announcing its funding, the company said it was also delivering full-blown drone packages for insurance, utilities and telecom customers. What’s more, Airware itself has set up a Commercial Drone Fund to invest in new companies. 

Venture funding watcher CB Insights reported that drone startups raised more than $450 million in 2015, 300% more than in 2014, as FAA regulations started to become clearer for commercial drone operators. The funding of 22 startups in Q4 was a record, as was $140 million in funding for drone startups in Q3, CB Insights says. With the way things have started in 2016, it looks like more records will fall this year.


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