DJI and venture capital firm Accel have launched the SkyFund, an investment vehicle to stimulate the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-developer ecosystem through access to capital, technology and resources.
According to DJI, the fund will invest in leading, early-stage companies across the categories of robotics and machine intelligence, software, computer vision and navigation, multimedia communities and tools, services, and more. In particular, SkyFund will support entrepreneurs and developers building on the DJI SDK to create industry-specific software applications including mapping, imaging, agriculture and inspection.
In addition to seed capital, SkyFund-backed companies will gain access to a range of resources and an advisory board, which will offer expertise and perspectives on critical matters facing modern UAV companies.
DJI will contribute product and technical resources, platform-level support around the DJI SDK and product APIs, access to preferred demos and beta programs, co-branding opportunities, and support to help entrepreneurs get their initial concepts off the ground. Accel will help develop and implement best practices around developer evangelism, community building and scalable support channels.
Earlier this month, DJI received a $75 million investment from Accel.
‘We've been fortunate to help seed many preeminent developer communities with companies like Atlassian, Braintree, Cloudera, Dropbox, Facebook and many others,” says Sameer Gandhi, partner at Accel. “We believe DJI has the potential to become the next great platform opportunity to drive innovation in dozens of industries.’
Eric Cheng, general manager for San Francisco and director of aerial imaging at DJI, adds, ‘SkyFund was created to develop new and amplify existing technology from around the world by championing developers and sparking a sense of curiosity about unmanned vehicles and services. Hundreds of developers already use DJI's platform, and SkyFund enables us to fund developers and businesses that imagine new opportunities.’