Drone startups raised just over $450M in equity financing across 74 deals in 2015. That’s up over 300% versus 2014 on dollars basis, and 111% on a deals basis — in a year when FAA exemptions for commercial drone operators significantly picked up pace (including exemptions going to insurers, as we’ve detailed).
Investment hit all-time high on a funding basis in Q3’15 at $140M, but the all-time high for deals was hit in Q4’15 at 22 deals.
2015 also saw 11 large $10M+ equity financings to drone companies versus just 8 in the previous three years combined. 2015 was headlined by large deals to major drone manufacturers, including $50M+ deals to DJI Innovations ($75M Series B), YUNEEC ($60M Venture Capital), and 3D Robotics ($50M Series C).
Despite the continued increase in funding and deals, it still is early days for the booming drone industry. 67% of all equity deals in 2015 came at the early-stage (Angel – Series A). With an estimated 1 million drones sold this past holiday season, and more definition on US drone regulation anticipated this year, expect investors to continue to plow money into drone startups in 2016.
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