Since 2012, private drone companies have raised over $1.6 billion in funding across 300+ equity investments, reports CB Insights.
65% of the funding has gone to US companies, 5% to Chinese companies, 4% each to Australian, Canadian, and the UK companies, and 3% to French companies. 11 countries have start-ups in the sector.
The sector includes software and hardware companies developing technologies related to drones ranging from manufacturing to the analysis of data collected by drones.
Three of the earliest private drone companies and largest in terms of total funding are 3D Robotics, Airware, and RedZone Robotics.
The two largest drone deals outside the US went to Chinese drone manufacturers DJI Innovations and YUNEEC.
DJI Innovations raised a $75 million Series B in Q2’15 from Accel Partners at a valuation of $8-10 billion. The company had formerly raised a $30 million Series A in Q4’14 from Sequoia Capital China at a valuation of $1.6 billion making it the best-funded drone start-up in the world.
Second best-funded drone start-up is YUNEEC which raised a $60 million round from Intel Capital in Q3’15.
The third and fourth biggest deals went to US-based 3D Robotics. It raised a $50 million Series C in Q1’15 (followed by a second $14 million tranche in Q2’15) and a $53 million Series D in Q2’17.
Smart Money investors Foundry Group and True Ventures participated in both rounds alongside a number of other investors.
Approximately 75% of deals outside the US were early-stage deals (seed/angel or Series A).
The most well funded early-stage company outside of the US is Chinese-based Zero Zero Robotics, creator of the portable, autonomous flying Hover Camera. The company has raised nearly $25 million in total disclosed funding to date from IDG Capital and ZhenFund, among others investors.
When combining total funding of all private drone companies within a country, China is far and away the most well funded with nearly $262 million in collective disclosed equity funding since 2015.
Canada falls second with just over $90 million, Israel third with close to $37 million , and the UK took fourth place with $37.56 million.
Well-Funded Drone Companies:
Total Funding ($M)
Flypro Aerospace Tech
Zero Zero Robotics
Clear Flight Solutions