Drone operations management startup Kittyhawk today announced the closure of a $3 million funding round led by strategic investor Travelers, a home and property insurance company. The funding will be used to expand Kittyhawk’s commercial drone operation and help Travelers improve its use of drones for inspections of insurance claims inside and outside of natural disaster zones.
Once a customer, Travelers began to use Kittyhawk following the destruction of Hurricane Matthew, a storm that killed 25 people in North and South Carolina and caused $10 billion in damage in October 2016. Today the company has more than 600 insurance agents who are also FAA-approved drone pilots.
“Using drones to assess property damage enables us to enhance our customers’ experience, adjust claims more quickly and efficiently, and improve safety for our employees and vendors,” Travelers VP Nicholas Seminara said in a statement shared with VentureBeat. “Kittyhawk helps us manage the vast amounts of information we gather on inspections so we can help our customers recover from disasters faster than ever before.”
In addition to solutions for natural disasters, Kittyhawk offers drones for construction, education, and police, fire, and government agencies. Its Hawkeye AI for drone fleet management is used to detect flight and operational patterns, as well as in pattern detection for battery use, flight telemetry, and safety.
Companies like AT&T are also using drones for maintenance inspections and deploying them to assist in natural disaster zones, while a number of experiments are underway to explore how drones can be used by businesses, governments, and emergency response officials as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) unmanned aerial systems integration pilot program.
The $3 million raise follows a $5 million round that closed in June and was led by Bonfire Ventures, with participation from Boeing HorizonX Ventures. Kittyhawk has raised $9.5 million to date.
The company is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2015.