I’m excited to announce today that Andreessen Horowitz is leading a $3M financing of Skydio, a startup developing artificial intelligence systems for drones.
The Skydio team is awesomely qualified. They worked on drone vision systems at MIT and then co-founded a drone project at Google[x] called Project Wing. The company’s mission is to create smart drones. As cofounder Adam Bry says:
Drones are poised to have a transformative impact on how we see our world. They’ll enable us to film the best moments of our lives with professional quality cinematography and they’ll also change the way businesses think about monitoring their operations and infrastructure. This grand vision is starting to come into focus, but existing products are blind to the world around them. As a consequence, drones must fly high above the nearest structures or receive the constant attention of an expert operator. “Flyaways” and crashes abound. These problems must be solved for the industry to move forward.
Smart drone operators will simply give high-level instructions like “map these fields” or “film me while I’m skiing” and the drone will carry out the mission. Safety and privacy regulations will be baked into the operating system and will always be the top priority.
This is my second drone investment - the first one was Airware. I see Airware and Skydio as complementary (and I’d like to make more drone investments - at any stage including seed investments - as long as they don’t compete with Airware or Skydio). You can think of Airware as the operating system and Skydio as the most important app on top of the operating system. The founders of both companies have deep expertise in both aviation and computer science, the key prerequisites for creating smart drones.
Here’s a fun video of an early Skydio prototype in action: