DroneBase, an advanced infrastructure inspection firm for renewable energy that uses imagery from drones and other sources, announced Tuesday that it has raised $55 million in new funding and rebranded itself to Zeitview.
The funding round, led by Valor Equity Partners, will be used to help Zeitview expand its current business operations and support its artificial intelligence-enabled software for inspection solutions. Existing investors Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Euclidean Capital, Energy Transition Ventures and Hearst Ventures also participated in the round.
The company said Zeitview means “view time,” which is a better description of how the company operates by providing customers with near real-time insights into their infrastructure using advanced software. Although the company uses drones for part of its work, it also has come to use an increasingly diverse set of other tools to capture data, including fixed-wing rotary aircraft and smartphones to create flexible solutions for clients.
“We appreciate how important time is to our customers: On the one hand, they need immediate and accurate analysis about the health of their assets; on the other, they are building energy and infrastructure resources to last for decades,” said Dan Burton, founder and chief executive officer at Zeitview. “We are confident that our AI-enabled software solutions can deliver that immediate answer and a long-term home for our customers, while we are increasingly agnostic about what tool we use to capture the most accurate data.”
Using the company’s services, customers can quickly understand and analyze their infrastructure from anywhere in the world using an advanced AI-driven system. Using its system, clients can get actionable, near-real-time data on every aspect of buildings, including roofing, property management, insurance and construction, based on visual and thermal inspections.
For solar energy clients, Zeitview launched the first solar quality rating system for assessing deployed infrastructure assets that include a grade-based system for U.S.-based solar sites in September. The North American Solar Scan system provides simple letter ratings, “A,” “B,” “C” or “D” representing elements of the overall site’s condition. Solar installations can quickly understand the likelihood of power loss from overheated cells on the site, potential power capacity and anomalies viewed.
According to the company, Zeitview has inspected 43 gigawatts’ worth of solar capacity with its services.
Renewable energy, especially solar, has become a driving force in the past few years as declining costs for components have made it more competitive, according to a report from Grandview Research. The market size for solar, including its infrastructure, was estimated at approximately $189.5 billion globally in 2022. The United States, one of the early adopters of solar, is one of the key players in research and adoption. In 2021 solar represented about 2.8% of the total power produced in the country.
The company said that with the funding, it will continue to advance its current platform and commit to increasing its data capture capabilities through automation through its new partnership with Valor.