1. Business
March 2, 2021

Sky’s the limit: AI-powered drone startup Skydio secures $170m in Series D

By Eric Johansson

Autonomous drone startup Skydio is flying high after netting $170m in a Series D funding round, bringing its valuation to $1bn.

The Redwood City, California-based drone maker has now raised $340m in venture funding since launching in 2014.

The tech unicorn leverages artificial intelligence to enable its drones to independently adjust to their environment. This means that the drones can be used in everything from army reconnaissance to structure inspections.

Skydio’s clients include construction companies, transportation departments, energy utilities, and police departments.

The drone startup will use the latest funds to boost its product development and scale sales across the globe.

“This is an important milestone for us as a company, but also for the US drone industry,” said Adam Bry, CEO and co-founder of Skydio. “Together with our customers, we’re proving that a US company can lead the way in this industry through AI and autonomy. Things are already pretty exciting, but we are just scratching the surface of what autonomous drones can do.”

Return investor Andreessen Horowitz led the Series D round. The firm previously participated in Skydio’s Series A round in 2016.

“The initial wave of hype around enterprise drones passed many years ago, but we’re now seeing these markets really mature,” said David Ulevitch, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Autonomy is the key for drones to reach scale, and Skydio has established themselves as the defining company in this category. We’re excited to continue to invest in this magical combination of breakthrough technology, rapid growth, and an incredible team in a market that’s going through an inflection point.”

Linse Capital, Next47, and IVP, along with new investor UP.Partners also participated in the raise.

“Think of all the dangerous jobs requiring ladders, harnesses, or helicopters to do work that can now, with Skydio, be done much more safely and efficiently,” said Bastiaan Janmaat, partner at Linse Capital, “Autonomous drones will enable our ageing infrastructure to be monitored much more effectively and our first responders will have greater situational awareness than ever before.”

Read more: Drone startup Wingcopter secures $22m in Series A funding