Drone company Airware Crashes – DRONELIFE


Drone operating system startup Airware on Friday apparently informed employees it will cease operations immediately despite having raised $118 million from top investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Google’s GV, and Kleiner Perkins as well as established non-venture capital firms such as Caterpillar.

While we could find no formal announcement as of yet,  DroneLife has two independent sources that confirm the bankruptcy.

The startup apparently ran out of money after trying to manufacture its own hardware that couldn’t compete with the fast moving marketplace that include companies such as DJI.  The company at one point had as many as 140 employees.

Airware appeared even recently to be very active announcing partnerships such as the one that we covered here.

Some of the money raised was earmarked for investment in drone start-up from Airware’s commercial drone fund.  Taking some of the money raised to purchase companies such as Redbird.

In some ways, Airware was both ahead and behind the curve of drone adoption.  For example,  in an interview with DroneLife Redbirds founder Emmanuel de Maistre quoted to us “it is all about the data” back in early 2015.   But they also invested heavily in the development of drone hardware that could not match current market offerings.

It some ways, the drone industry is similar to many high-technology segments,  to quote Jim Manzi the former CEO of former high flying software company Lotus Development from years ago on the failure of a very early Internet of things start-up that,  “Early is the same thing as being wrong”.

Airware was founded in 2011 in California, by Jonathan Downey. The company relocated to San Francisco in January 2014.

The company website does not reflect the bankruptcy as of the time of article.

Airware makes a cloud sofware system that helps enterprise customers like construction companies, mining operations, and insurance companies reviewing equipment for damages to use drones to collect and analyze aerial data.

CEO DroneLife.com, DroneRacingLife.com, and CMO of Jobfordrones.com. Principle at Spalding Barker Strategies. Proud father of two. Enjoys karate, Sherlock Holmes, and interesting things.



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