Commercial drone startup Airware grabs $25 mln Series B

San Francisco-based commercial drone startup Airware has closed $25 million in Series B funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital. In addition to the funding, Mike Abbott, a general partner at KPCB, has been added to Airware’s board.

PRESS RELEASE

San Francisco – July 23, 2014 –

Airware, creator of a hardware, software, and cloud services platform for commercial drone development and operation, announced today it has raised $25 million in Series B financing. Airware’s Aerial Information Platform enables companies to use highly autonomous commercial drones to collect, analyze, and disseminate the data they need while complying with regulatory and insurance requirements. The latest round is led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital. Mike Abbott, general partner at KPCB, will join Airware’s board, which currently includes Jonathan Downey, Airware’s founder and CEO, and Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

This funding is part of Airware’s preparation for the commercial launch of its platform later this year and will be used to expand its engineering, sales, marketing, and customer support functions.

“Commercial drones are creating a revolution in insights and countless industries around the world will soon benefit from access to aerial information that, until now, has been too difficult, dangerous, expensive or downright impossible to get,” said Airware CEO Downey. “To help organizations use drones for any commercial application, we’re building a platform that anyone can customize and build on top of. This funding will accelerate our efforts and we are extremely fortunate that high-caliber investors like Kleiner Perkins are partnering with Airware.”

Downey founded Airware in 2011 after recognizing the need for a safe, reliable and flexible platform for commercial drone use. Airware’s platform enables customers to tailor drones to any commercial application by seamlessly connecting aircraft, sensors, payloads, and application-specific software.

Airware began working with leading commercial drone companies as part of its beta program last year, including Delta Drone and Cyber Technology, and has partnered with researchers from MIT to evaluate the delivery of vaccines and medicines using a network of commercial drones. Late last year, Airware demonstrated drones for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Airware will launch the first version of its product for general availability later this year.

“Building and operating commercial drones is extremely complex and could be radically simplified with a common, flexible platform, ” said KPCB’s Mike Abbott. “Airware recognized early the opportunity to apply drone intelligence to commercial applications, and is now at the forefront of an industry that will soon experience rapid global expansion. KPCB is excited to support Jonathan and the company on their path as they fuel the commercial drone ecosystem.”

Abbott brings deep engineering and additional entrepreneurial leadership to Airware’s board, with particular expertise in building organizations and platforms. As former vice president of engineering at Twitter, he grew the engineering team from 80 to more than 350 engineers in less than 18 months to rebuild and solidify Twitter’s infrastructure to support hundreds of millions of daily tweets. Before joining Twitter, Abbott led the software development team at Palm that created HP/Palm’s next-generation webOS platform. Earlier in his career, Abbott was general manager of Microsoft’s .NET online services, which became Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. He was also the founder of Composite Software (acquired by Cisco) and a co-founder of Passenger Inc.

Airware has raised $40 million to date. The company received $12.2 million in Series A funding in May 2013, led by Andreessen Horowitz with Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and Felicis Ventures participating. It received seed financing from Google Ventures, First Round Capital, Firelake Capital, RRE Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Promus Ventures, and several Y Combinator partners. Airware is a graduate of both Lemnos Labs and Y Combinator incubators.

Airware is located in San Francisco and is rapidly growing with more than 50 team members. For career opportunities, visit http://airware.com/careers.

About Airware
Airware is building the aerial information platform for the rapid development and safe operation of commercial drones, providing hardware, software and cloud services. Airware enables enables customers to tailor drones to any commercial application by seamlessly connecting aircraft, sensors, payloads, and application-specific software. Founded in 2011, Airware has raised $40 million in funding to date and is based in San Francisco, CA. For more information, go toAirware.com or follow Airware on Twitter: @Airware.

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