Fully autonomous drone maker Airobotics nabs $32.5M, expands into defense

TechCrunch | 9/7/2017 | Ingrid Lunden
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Airobotics, a startup building autonomous drones for the enterprise sector that do not require humans to get involved in any aspect of operating them, has picked up $32.5 million in funding to expand its business into defense and homeland security, and to expand its business globally.

The Series C round was led by BlueRun Ventures China, with participation also from Microsoft Ventures, OurCrowd.com and an another unnamed strategic investor. Microsoft is also a strategic in this case — Ran Krauss, Airobotics’ CEO and co-founder (and a longtime entrepreneur in the unmanned aircraft industry), said in an interview that his company is leveraging Microsoft’s image recognition, analytics and cloud computing in its service.

Total - Airbobotics - Date - Investors - CRV

The total raised by the Israeli-based Airbobotics to date is $61 million, with other notable investors in the past including CRV, BRV, Noam Bardin (CEO of Waze), Richard Wooldridge (former COO/GTM of building 8 at Facebook and former COO of Google ATAP) and David Roux (Co-Founder and former Chairman of Silver Lake Partners).

Krauss said in an interview that the company is not commenting on its valuation, except to note that it is “very much” an up round.

Drone - Industry - Stage - Trajectories - Consumer

While the drone industry is still at a relatively early stage, it appears to be developing across a few distinct trajectories: consumer, light enterprise and industrial. Up to now, Airobotics has very firmly placed itself in the third of these categories: the company works in industries like mining, energy, and other tricky verticals that would make the best use of services that have been built without the need for human involvement in their operation.

“There are several reasons for why human-operated systems are not ideal,” said Efrat Fenigson, VP Marketing at Airobotics. “One is the cost: employing pilot to operate a drone is a very expensive thing to do. And you hire a company...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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