Jonathan Downey Airware Founder & CEO published this on the Airware blog.
The commercial drone industry stands at a critical junction — drones are poised to radically transform industries from agriculture and forestry to energy and telecom, but there are still gaps in the ecosystem required for businesses to put drones to work at scale. Every commercial application for drones is unique — each requires different vehicles, sensors, software and application-specific data analysis. No one company can address all of these challenges — it will take an ecosystem.
Today Airware announced the creation of the Commercial Drone Fund to invest in the most promising companies who can fill these gaps. The fund aims to accelerate the growth of a global commercial drone market by supporting innovative businesses as they develop technologies critical to scaling the use of commercial drones.
Why start a commercial drone fund — aren’t investors clamoring to invest in drone companies? Yes. And many of them reach out to us to find out who the best startups in the industry are because of Airware’s unique visibility into the space. We are at the core of a growing ecosystem, with the goal of powering every commercial drone operation, and we work closely with enterprise end users looking to integrate commercial drones into their business workflows. We know it will take an entire ecosystem to address their needs so we started the Commercial Drone Fund to accelerate the growth of the industry so that commercial drones can address more applications, at greater scale, more quickly.
Why now? It is the perfect time. When I started Airware, with an idea and soldering iron in my kitchen, no one was investing in the commercial drone space, there weren’t any regulations for integrating drones into the National airspace and the technology didn’t exist for businesses to put drones to work. Four years later, money is being invested in this space, the FAA has drafted regulations for commercial drones, and Airware has solved many of the technology challenges.