Drone Startup skydio Raises $230 Million investment

Image credit Skydio

Bloomberg: Founded in 2014, Skydio has a list of customers that includes public safety agencies and businesses like Dominion Energy Inc. and a contractor for Shell USA, which are using the drones to inspect accidents and infrastructure. Last May, the startup won a five-year, $100 million contract with the US Army to perform short-range reconnaissance missions.

Image credit Bloomberg /Skydio

Recent years have generated new attention for defense and government-related technology companies, a category that includes drones. Some of the big-name billionaires putting money into the industry are Eric Schmidt and Peter Thiel, as well as VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz, with investments targeting a variety of functions, such as border security and data analysis.

Many startups are finding that a US government agency is a “pretty good customer,” said Chris Moran, general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, a Skydio investor. “If you invest in national security, you’ll have jobs for America, and you’ll help the nation as well.” Lockheed Martin Corp. is also a Skydio customer.

CEO Bry says he spent a full year raising the funding round, which proved challenging as the capital markets cratered in 2022. Although he secured a portion of the funding last spring at a valuation of about twice the company’s previous price tag, he kept the round open until he signed on additional strategic investors like public safety company Axon Enterprise Inc. By this year, the total amount committed was high enough and represented the mix of expertise he wanted to support Skydio’s ambitious expansion plans, Bry said.

The company has raised money from individuals including sports legends Magic Johnson and Kevin Durant, and singer Justin Timberlake. Other backers include Andreessen Horowitz and Linse Capital, along with corporate investors like Nvidia Corp., NTT Docomo and Siemens AG

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