Airware, a San Francisco-based creator of a hardware, software and cloud services platform for commercial drone development and operation, says it has raised $25 million in Series B financing.
Airware's aerial information platform enables companies to use highly autonomous commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to collect, analyze and disseminate the data they need while complying with regulatory and insurance requirements, Airware explains.
The latest round is led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital. Mike Abbott, general partner at KPCB, will join Airware’s board, which currently includes Jonathan Downey, Airware’s founder and CEO, and Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
This funding is part of Airware’s preparation for the commercial launch of its platform later this year and will be used to expand its engineering, sales, marketing and customer support functions, the company says.
“Commercial drones are creating a revolution in insights, and countless industries around the world will soon benefit from access to aerial information that, until now, has been too difficult, dangerous, expensive or downright impossible to get,” says Airware CEO Downey. “To help organizations use drones for any commercial application, we’re building a platform that anyone can customize and build on top of.”
Downey founded Airware in 2011 after recognizing the need for a safe, reliable and flexible platform for commercial drone use.
Airware says its platform enables customers to tailor UAS to any commercial application by connecting aircraft, sensors, payloads and application-specific software. It will launch the first version of its product for general availability later this year.
The company began working with commercial UAS companies as part of its beta program last year, including Delta Drone and Cyber Technology, and has partnered with researchers from MIT to evaluate the delivery of vaccines and medicines using a network of commercial UAS. Late last year, Airware demonstrated drones for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Airware says it has raised $40 million to date. The company received $12.2 million in Series A funding in May 2013.