San Francisco-based drone software startup DroneDeploy announced today that it has raised $50 million in Series E funding, resulting in $142 million of total fundraising to date (and the most for any drone data company). The DroneDeploy Series E money will be used ‘to expand the company’s products beyond aerial capture, accelerate its expansion into Europe, and explore opportunities for strategic acquisitions.’
Investors Energize Venture Capital and AirTree led the round with participation from Bessemer, Scale, Emergence, Angelpad, Uncork and Frontline Ventures.
What does a Series E funding round mean for DroneDeploy?
A Series E funding round means that the company has, at this point, gone through many funding rounds. Companies receive initial investment, called seed funding (and sometimes pre-seed). From there, they have Series A funding rounds, Series B, and so on down the alphabet.
It’s already quite rare for a company to raise Series D money, thus even more rare to progress to a Series E round.
Series D (and ultimately E) funding rounds generally indicate that either the company has discovered a new opportunity for expansion but needs the capital to make it happen, or they want to remain private for even longer. But it can also be a sign that the company failed to meet expectations set in earlier funding rounds.
That said, Series E funding rounds aren’t always a bad thing. For example, big tech players, like Stripe, went through a Series E.
For its part, DroneDeploy said it is still looking at massive growth. Much of it has to do with the coronavirus effect on the drone industry. DroneDeploy says it saw a 259% increase in enterprise users in 2020 compared to 2019. And they expect that to keep growing, as 88% of its customers said in a survey conducted by DroneDeploy that they plan to maintain or increase their drone spend in the coming year.
Beyond just the coronavirus effect, last year was also quite large for the company as it announced 360 Walkthrough, a feature of the namesake DroneDeploy platform that now works with both aerial and any on-the-ground 360-cameras (hand-held or robotic). As far as literal expansion goes, DroneDeploy opened an office in Australia and appointed M.G. Thibaut as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
A history of DroneDeploy funding
DroneDeploy’s last funding round, the Series D, was announced in November 2019 and was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, which is also participating in the new Series E.
Here’s DroneDeploy’s past funding history:
|February 2021||Series E|
|November 2019||Series D|
|October 2018||Venture Round|
|October 2018||Venture Round|
|June 2018||Series C|
|August 2016||Series B|
|March 2015||Series A|
|September 2014||Seed Round|
|May 2013||Seed Round|
What’s next for DroneDeploy?
Growth beyond just drones: DroneDeploy is a startup based in San Francisco that initially started as a means for automatically collecting and analyzing visual data gathered by drones from job sites, operations and assets such as maps. The company has recently expanded its footprint beyond just drone-generated data. And in 2021, expect that expansion to continue.
DroneDeploy recently announced updates to 360 Walkthrough and Vertical Flight, key features that enable visual data capture from cameras on the ground and drones flying vertically beside a structure or asset.
A push into Europe: Expect DroneDeploy to open an office based in Europen soon.
Across the globe, the largest agriculture, logistics, and energy companies are operating fleets of hundreds of drones,” said Mike Winn, CEO and co-founder of DroneDeploy. “To support our thousands of European users,
we are launching an EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) office.”
One of the investors in this latest funding round, Frontline Ventures, is European-based.
“Frontline Ventures works with SaaS market leaders to break into Europe,” said Stephen McIntyre, partner at Frontline Ventures. “DroneDeploy’s position as the leader in the U.S. commercial drone market and its rapidly expanding capabilities beyond drones position it to successfully solidify its leadership position internationally.”
A focus on security: Especially amid concerns over data security from certain Chinese-made drones, DroneDeploy is doubling down on its emphasis on security. The company recently achieved both ISO-27001 certification and SOC 2 Type 1 attestation.