Airware Raises $8.5M Round of Funding
Since Airware’s founding in 2011, one of its core strengths has been to leverage market changes to its advantage. When DJI changed the game by introducing reliable, low-cost hardware Airware leveraged this market change by focusing exclusively on the real value to businesses: the insights the drone data provided, not the drone itself. Jonathan Downey, the founder of Airware, turned a competitive threat into a competitive advantage. He divested the hardware side of the business and focused exclusively on the software side, allowing customers to leverage the best drones on the market for their use case. Further focusing on the software side of the business, Airware acquired Redbird in 2016, a cloud-based commercial drone analytics company, based in France. A startup acquiring another startup is a bold move but it was the right one to solidify Airware’s pivot into a drone analytics company.
With the company completely divested from hardware, I took on the CEO role in June 2017 to scale the company as we doubled down on software, machine learning, and driving business insight and impact. We successfully integrated Redbird which provided both product and go-to-market strength as we expanded our foothold in a new industry and strengthened our global presence. We solidified our F500 enterprise focus in Mining, Construction, Insurance and Property Management. We grew our team adding a new head of engineering, building out our data science team, and scaling our sales capability. We scaled up our investment in enterprise security by bringing in a head of security. We shifted revenue from hardware and services to repeatable software as a service. In our target industries, we grew both the number of customers and expanded within key accounts as they moved from innovation groups to operating groups. We signed more than 20 Caterpillar dealers worldwide who now sell and support Airware. And our ongoing market leadership earned us recognition as one of 30 global World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers.
In 2018, we continue to aggressively drive market momentum and growth. We earned a seat at the table in Davos with world leaders and regulators to discuss the transformational power of drone analytics and what it will take to achieve impact on a global basis. Our customers continue to scale with us, our channel is increasingly transacting on our behalf worldwide, we are developing new products with industry partners (stay tuned!), we are securing our ISO certification, and we are expanding within the Americas, Europe and now into Asia. As the commercial drone market matures and our own business accelerates, we took this opportunity to raise additional funds. With the strong support from existing and new investors, we have recently closed $8.5 million of funding.
So, where do we go from here?
Commercial drone technology has crossed the value hurdle. Companies need to start scaling out drone technology or risk being left behind. Airware will continue to be the trusted advisor partnering with industry leaders globally to scale the technology within their companies and transform their industries. Airware will use the lessons learned in the adoption and scale out cycle to accelerate the path to value for the broader set of companies who are just now engaging in this space.
We will continue to expand both our go-to-market and our product development partnerships to support our global expansion and increase the value of our solutions.
And we’ll keep innovating. It is in our DNA. We will continue to focus on empowering leading innovators to digitize their physical world and transform their business with new insights and predictive analytics enabled by drones and other sensors. We will continue to develop and offer a breadth of higher value advanced analytics leveraging machine learning/artificial intelligence to expand beyond the basics of survey and measurement.
We will continue to find ways to integrate our data and insights with other data streams to further enrich the business insights for our customers. We will not be constrained just to drone captured data, but will increasingly look to other sensory data to be able to bring the best of geospatial informed insights to our customers in as real-time a way as is possible.
Since the beginning, our customers and partners have looked to us to be a step ahead, to invent, to grow, and to lead the industry forward. While a lot has changed over the years, some things never do.