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.
Image Credit: Alfred Grupstra // Flickr
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