Skyward, the information platform for commercial drone operators, has announced a $4.1 million round of seed funding, which will be used to expand the company’s engineering and product development team.
Skyward, based in Portland, Ore., connects drones and their operators with the information needed to fly safely and in compliance with regulatory and insurance requirements. The company’s cloud-based solution suite delivers a digital system of record, real-time air chart and unique drone IDs.
Draper Associates, Founders CoOp, Norwest Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures, Verizon Ventures and Voyager Capital all participated in the round. David Famolari of Verizon Ventures and Ari Newman of Techstars Ventures will be observers on Skyward’s board of directors.
According to Skyward, to provide for safe commercial aviation for any aircraft, regulators and insurers need to know the “who, what, when, where and how” for flight operations. The company says it provides the first drone-agnostic information management platform to address this need. Skyward is also a member of the Small UAV Coalition, which advocates for the safe integration of drones into national airspace.
“Drones today are like handsets with no network infrastructure,” explains Famolari. ‘Just as Verizon provides the critical infrastructure necessary to power mobile networking at scale, Skyward will provide the critical infrastructure needed to power the safe, compliant operation of commercial drones.’
Last summer, Skyward raised $1.5 million in seed-round financing to help build its platform. Voyager Capital, which led the round, deemed Skyward to be “in a position to influence the direction of the unmanned aerial market.”
“You wouldn’t operate a business in today’s world without financial software, insurance or a bank account,” adds Newman. “Skyward is providing this level of critical infrastructure for the commercial UAV world.
“If you are thinking about operating UAVs commercially, you need Skyward,’ he says.
Skyward CEO Jonathan Evans (Photo courtesy of Skyward)