Airware’s Downey Recognized as ‘Small-Business Innovator of the Year’

Jonathan Downey, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Airware, which provides an operating system for commercial drones, has been recognized as USA TODAY’s “Small-Business Innovator of the Year.”

According to USA TODAY, Airware is “navigating the future of drones amid an industry anticipating explosive growth during the next decade.”

In April of this year, the company announced the release of its Aerial Information Platform (AIP), which offers unmanned aircraft system (UAS) fleet management, user authentication, data management, and the ability to integrate workflows and data with existing business systems.

General Electric became the first large-enterprise customer of the AIP, as well as an investor in the company. Other Airware investors have included Intel, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital and Google Ventures.

In May, Airware launched the Commercial Drone Fund, which makes investments in early-stage UAS companies. Downey was named the fund’s general partner. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

According to Airware, Downey, who starting working with drones while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded Airware back in 2011 “due to both personal and industry frustrations with the inflexible and costly ‘black box’ autopilots on the market.”

David Callaway, USA TODAY’s editor-in-chief, explains in the article that Downey’s company “is not just an example of finding a demand to fill, but seeing the demand before it even exists.”

The full coverage can be found here.

Photos courtesy of Airware1073_airware_flight_core


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