Drone startup Skydio secures $230M investment

Drone startup Skydio secures $230M investment

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Drone startup Skydio Inc. today announced that it has closed a $230 million Series E funding round.

The round, which values the startup at more than $2.2 billion, included contributions from more than a half dozen investors. The participants included Linse Capital, the lead investor, as well as Nvidia Corp and Andreessen Horowitz. Skydio has raised $570 million in outside funding since launch. 

San Mateo, California-based Skydio sells three artificial intelligence-powered drones that are used by both consumers and enterprises. The company also has a substantial customer base of government agencies. Skydio says that it closed 2022 with more than 1,3000 customers across the private and private sectors.

Skydio’s most advanced drone is the Skydio X2. Geared towards the public sector, it can fly for up to 35 minutes per charge and cover a maximum distance of more than six miles. The drone features a ruggedized frame outfitted with multiple sensors, including a thermal vision system that allows it to fly at night.

Skydio says that its drones are used by the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as half of all state Departments of Transportation. The startup also counts more than 200 public safety agencies among its customers. 

Skydio’s two other drones, the Skydio 2+ Consumer and Skydio 2+ Enterprise, are designed for hobbyists and companies, respectively. They both have a maximum range of about 3.7 miles. But the Skydio 2+ Enterprise features a more advanced sensor array that includes six 4K cameras, or cameras with a resolution of 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels.

The Skydio 2+ Enterprise is designed for use cases such as wildlife monitoring and bridge inspections. The Skydio 2+ Consumer, in turn, is geared primarily towards photography. The latter drone includes a companion app that enables consumers to control their drones using a smartphone.

All three of Skydio’s drones feature AI-powered autonomous navigation software. The software can automatically maneuver around obstacles without requiring manual input. Additionally, it enables users to create a fixed flight route and have Skydio repeat it automatically at predefined time intervals. 

Flying a Skydio drone usually requires the user to be within range of its radio transmitter. For organizations with more advanced requirements, the startup offers a device called the Skydio Dock that facilitates remote control from large distances. The device doubles as a drone charger.

Skydio will use the proceeds from its latest funding round to advance its business growth plan. As part of the effort, the startup is bringing online a new 36,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Hayward, California. Skydio estimates the facility will grow its manufacturing capacity by a factor of ten.  

Photo: Skydio

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