There’s no denying they can be useful, and companies in the agriculture, insurance, and environmental protection sectors use them for surveying land, and then they collect and analyze that data. PrecisionHawk, which produces exactly this type of unmanned areal vehicles (UAV), commonly knows as drones, is announcing that it has raised $10 million in a second round of institutional funding.
As mentioned, PrecisionHawk sells drones that are equipped with sensors and cameras that collect various data about the land they survey. PrecisionHawk offers about a dozen different sensors for its drones which customers can pick from, or even add on their own.
The data that the drones collect and store is then analyzed, and customers are notified when their survey reports are ready, which can be as quickly as by the time the drone comes back from its surveying flight.
“PrecisionHawk is an information company, and we really view that as the value-add we deliver to our customers,” said founder and president Ernest Earon in an interview with VentureBeat.
“For us the only thing that matters is enabling our customers and our partners to make good decisions” with the data, he said.
As it continues to make data a priority for its customers, the company will release at the end of the month its DataMapper tool, a sort of dashboard where customers can work more in depth with data from their surveys. They’ll be able to set up additional algorithms, manipulate the data, share it, and so on. Until now, customers would more or less be limited to the survey they received post-flight from PrecisionHawk’s backend. PrecisionHawk has been using the new tool internally and it’s been available to a select few customers and beta testers so far.
The company is also working to expand into new use cases, including oil and gas, and emergency response, and to be able to support the demand from a growing number of potential customers. With its new funding, the company plans on doubling its team.
“Our focus right now is really to scale up to hit the demand,” said Earon.
It will also open up an office in College Station, Texas, thanks to its new partnership with Texas A&M to further explore the end-use of its product, beyond the technology itself. These research efforts, Earon hopes, will help the whole industry. “What’s really important for this industry to move forward,” he says, “is for the [Federal Aviation Administration] to understand how people are going to use this.”
Other companies building drones connected to cloud-based data storage and analysis include Skycatch, which also raised funding this year.
Millennium Technology Value Partners led this round, with additional participation from RedHat co-founder Bob Young, and The Innovate Indiana Fund.
PrecisionHawk was founded in 2010 by Ernest Earon and Christopher Dean, and is based in Raleigh, N.C.. The company previously raised $1 million in seed funding from Bob Young and The Innovate Indiana Fund.