The Verge is reporting that everyone’s favorite drone-maker (har har) is flush with money: DJI is about to become the first billion dollar consumer drone company. They are in the process of raising additional capital, Silicon Valley style:
And The Verge has learned that the company is currently in talks with Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms to potentially raise a new round of funding. Sources familiar with the negotiations say DJI reported around $500 million in revenue for 2014, roughly four times what it did in 2013, and is on pace to do about $1 billion in sales this year. The potential valuation of the company would be a healthy multiple of that, several billion dollars, although no deal has yet been finalized.
This comes a week after that other “drone” company, 3D Robotics, announces that they’ve raised nice chunk of capital. 3DR Raises $50M in Series C Funding, Extending Smartphone Revolution to Drones
This means the drone future is going to look more like the consumer electronics industry than the aerospace industry. To use an analogy, two decades ago the FCC liberated the airwaves by allowing free access to the “open spectrum” that created the WiFi and Bluetooth industries. That allowed the wireless industry to look and behave more like the lightly-regulated internet and less like the heavily-regulated phone companies. We’re all beneficiaries of the huge amount of innovation and economic value that that ruling created.
These two industry giants, who are on opposite ends of the spectrum it seems, DJI as the proprietary, easy-to-fly drone-maker, and 3D Robotics, the open-source and DIY champion (mostly), are on a huge growth trajectory, which is great news for UAV enthusiasts. More competition, means more innovation and perhaps a lobbyist or two in Washington who might help expedite “drone” legislation. The UAV future seems bright. Very bright.