If you’re an entrepreneur thinking about building tools for drones, there may never have been a better time than now.
Today, the drone operating system company Airware announced it launched a new venture fund aimed at investing in early-stage startups that are "developing technologies critical to scaling the use of drones across a variety of commercial applications."
Known as the Commercial Drone Fund, Airware said it will make between $250,000 and $1 million available to early-stage companies focusing on five areas: "sensor hardware, software applications, cloud-based aerial data analysis tools, drone-based services, and complete solutions for specific industries."
Until today there had never been a drone-specific fund like this, but this morning, DJI — the world’s largest maker of consumer drones — announced that it had teamed with Accel Partners on SkyFund. That initiative will make at least $10 million available to early-stage companies focused on developing tools for the DJI platform. Those investments would start at $250,000 and potentially go higher.
Airware, which builds control system software for a variety of commercial drones, and which is aimed largely at the enterprise market, will run its fund autonomously. The company’s CEO, Jonathan Downey, will serve as the fund’s general partner.