Portland, Oregon based drone company, Skyward, announced a $4.1 million seed round on April 28. This latest round of funding was led by Founders Co-Op, Norwest Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures and Verizon Ventures. Those companies joined Draper Associates and Voyager Capital, who led a $1.2 million seed last year.
Skyward develops a software platform that maps and logs drone flight paths in order to increase the safety and efficiency of drone use. According to the company’s website, the smart phone and tablet apps “create custom reports and show operating manuals, copies of your SFOC, emergency procedures, pilot licenses, training records, property owner permissions, flight logs, proof of insurance and maps, all without interrupting business.”
Skyward’s mission is to create a clear set of do’s and don’ts for the rapidly growing UAV sector. This, it hopes, will increase the commercial viability of drone use, including for companies like Amazon, who one day hope to use drones to deliver packages.
“We do see ourselves as a digital airspace manager,” Jonathan Evans, Skyward’s chief executive told Oregon Live. “Today we have already built the pieces and parts of that.”
The $11 billion UAV industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors in Agtech and is estimated to grow to around $80 billion over the next ten years. The use of drones in precision agriculture is one of the big reasons for that growth.
Oregon has become a welcome home for drone startups. Three federal testing grounds for drones are located in the state, as well as Insitu, a Boeing Subsidiary. Governor Kate Brown recently announced a $1.6 million investment in the Pendleton Drone Test Range.
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Photo Courtesy of Skyward