Autonomous Drone Company Skydio Raises $100 Million

By Amit Chowdhry ● Jul 14, 2020
  • Skydio — the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight technology — announced it has raised $100 million in Series C funding

Skydio — the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight technology — 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. Including this round, the company has raised a total of $170 million. 

Building on the consumer success of Skydio 2, the company will be utilizing the new round of funding to accelerate product development and go-to-market expansion in enterprise and public sector markets. Skydio is also planning to further grow its enterprise customer base by launching several new products and adding top executive talent.

Consumers drones that are manually-operated have dominated the last decade of drone technology adoption in the enterprise. And drones have become critical tools for many enterprises, federal agencies, and public safety organizations. 

However, a variety of factors have limited the scope of deployments such as the complexity, risk, and training costs associated with manpower-intensive manual flight. 

Launched in 2014 by MIT engineers with expertise in AI, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles, Skydio is known for unlocking the promise of drones through unmatched AI-powered autonomy. 

Skydio also announced the addition of three key executive team members including:

1.) Mark Cranney as Chief Operating Officer — Leading all operations and go-to-market for the company. Before joining, he was COO at Signalfx (recently acquired by Splunk), an operating partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), and 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).

2.) Brendan Groves as Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs — An expert in regulatory policy and national security, Groves joins Skydio from the Justice Department (DoJ) where he held a senior role as Associate Deputy Attorney General. At the DoJ, Groves served on the FAA executive committee charged with overseeing the integration of drones into the national airspace system and managed the national security policy portfolio for the Justice Department.

3.) Alberto Farronato as Chief Marketing Officer — Farronato brings extensive expertise in marketing and product management of enterprise cloud software and integrated appliances. And Farronato joins from Gremlin where he headed up marketing. Previously, he held senior positions at VMware, Mulesoft, and SignalFx.

Key Quotes:

“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. 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.”

— Adam Bry, CEO and Co-Founder of Skydio

“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. 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.”

— T.J. Rylander, General Partner at Next47

“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. 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.”

— Mark Cranney, COO at Skydio