The company known as DroneBase is no more. But its energy and infrastructure inspection software is mostly the same — as are the people powering it. That’s because the company formerly known as DroneBase today announced a rebrand to a new name: Zeitview. And with the Zeitview rebrand comes a few new changes — and a whole lot more money.
“As Zeitview, the company will continue building advanced inspection software that delivers fast, accurate insights, lowers costs for asset owners and improves performance and longevity,” according to a Zeitview statement. “The name change comes with the company’s increasingly diverse data capture tools.”
The Los Angeles-based Zeitview will remain an aerial data analytics company, but some focus is changing. Here’s what you need to know about DroneBase’s rebrand to Zeitview:
An expansion beyond just drones
Having drone in the name may have left limiting for DroneBase, which creates energy and infrastructure inspection software. While the software has its roots in centering around aerial data gathered by drones, the company has increased expanded into ground data capture solutions as well.
Zeitview customers have used rotary wing drones, but its inspection professionals also rely on crewed aircraft and smartphone technologies. The company also heavily touts its accompanying software platform, which is designed to provide deep insights and analytics for clients to easily view data results anywhere.
Sure, a drone might capture high-resolution photos of wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean, but manned aircraft might also use Zeitview’s tech to capture thermal data of a utility-scale solar farm.
“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,” said Dan Burton, founder and chief executive officer at Zeitview.
Zeitview’s pivot parallels others we have seen in the drone industry. For example, DroneDeploy — though it’s kept drone in its name — has also pivoted to ground robots. In 2021 it acquired Rocos, a New Zealand-based robotics software company. And DroneDeploy’s software called DroneDeploy 360 Walkthrough automates 360 video-based construction documentation.
Behind the new Zeitview name
As of now, the word drones is gone from the name, and instead the company is called Zeitview. That’s a German word that means “time view.” A company spokesperson said the phrase “better captures the nature of the company’s services and mission to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure. ” That time view also alludes to its tools for tracking changes across a period of time for an asset. So, a drone flying over a field might monitor its changes as it flies the same route on a recurring basis.
A new name for the company formerly known as DroneBase is perhaps unsurprising, as the company has a history of reshaping itself. DroneBase began as a drone pilot directory that grew to have 80,000 drone pilots in more than 70 countries on its roster. It then pivoted more so into the enterprise sector (more specifically renewables) as it launched software products like DroneBase Insights for Wind and Solar.
$55 million in funding
With the rebrand, Zeitview also launched a fresh, $55 million funding round. That money came from past investors as well as a newcomer to the group, Valor Equity Partners. Valor’s past investments indicates a history of data science and analytics-focused companies.
Existing investors include Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Euclidean Capital, Energy Transition Ventures, and Hearst Ventures.
Zeitview said the money is meant to support “company growth, global footprint in advanced inspection solutions, and AI-enabled asset monitoring software development.”
Who are Zeitview’s customers?
The company says it’s active in more than 70 countries, and is focused on energy and infrastructure markets. A huge period of growth for the company was at the end of 2021 when it acquired India-based drone company AirProbe. That unlocked an instant footprint in Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, both of which are growing markets for the renewable energy industry.
Renewables have been among the hottest topics lately in many industries, and DroneBase (well, now, Zeitview) is no exception.
In September 2022, DroneBase launched a product called North American Solar Scan (NASS), which it claims is the first standardized set of solar asset ratings. It’s an inspection program that actually leverages manned aircraft to capture thermal inspection data in the spring and fall. That then gives solar asset owners data that could ensure their utility-scale power plants and distributed facilities are functioning at optimal performance through the peak season, and overall ensure better oversight of U.S. solar power plants.
Last year, Zeitview inspected 43 GW of solar capacity. The whole U.S. solar plants market of 1MW or larger — approximately 80GW — is set to be accessible via the DroneBase Insights platform (now Zeitview) in the spring of 2023.