Industrial drone platform provider Kespry has raised $33 million in a series C round of funding led by G2VP, with participation from Cisco Investments, Shell Technology Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, DCM Ventures, Spectrum 28, ABB Ventures, and H. Barton Asset Management.
Founded out of Menlo Park in 2013, Kespry targets industries such as mining and construction with an automated system that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to capture and process imagery of sites from the skies above. The system includes everything needed to complete the inspection, including the drone and an iPad, and the user can draw out an area for analysis with their finger. The Kespry drone then works out a flight path and does the rest, with on-board lidar sensors helping it avoid any obstacles it encounters. It also taps AI and machine learning to deliver analytics and insights based on its findings.
Up until now, Kespry had raised around $38 million in outside funding, and with its latest cash infusion it plans to invest in sales, marketing, and R&D. The company also said that it plans to expand into more industries, including the energy utility sector.
“With the exponential growth of the Kespry aerial intelligence platform, we’re participating in a generational shift of how industrial work gets done,” said Kespry CEO and chair George Mathew. “We’re incredibly pleased to have leading industrial-tech investors recognize Kespry’s contributions to the future of work. The digital transformation in insurance, mining, construction, and many other industries represents a massive market opportunity.”
Drone companies have been drawing in significant investment in recent times, with an estimated $454 million plowed into UAV startups in 2016 alone. Other companies operating in the space include PrecisionHawk, which has raised around $30 million in funding, and DroneDeploy, Measure, and Prenav, which have all reeled in VC cash recently.
The technology can do things like make it easier for insurance companies to assess roof damage after storms, as drone inspections are significantly quicker (and safer) than manual inspections.
“We’ve been committed to identifying and applying advanced digital technologies to the energy sector for decades, and our investment in Kespry epitomizes our focus,” added Daniel Jeavons, general manager for advanced analytics at Shell. “The use of industrial drones powered by AI and machine learning is a game-changer for the energy sector. It will make industrial work more efficient and safer, while empowering workers with powerful new digital tools and important, future-focused skills.”
Update: Dec 5, 6 a.m.: Amount raised was amended to $33 million.