Startups / Technology

DC drone company Measure adds solar, broadcast services

Measure uses “Drones as a Service” to work with Fortune 500 companies in the energy, telecom and engineering sectors. But landing TV clients is the startup's new focus.

Two of Measure's employees working with a DJI Inspire 2. (Photo by George Mocharko)

D.C.-based, drone service operating company Measure is landing in the media sphere and solar energy industry.

While the bulk of its business comes from energy, telecommunications and AEC, or architecture, engineering and construction, the company is focused a major new vertical: television.

Measure announced this month a toolkit for broadcast news organizations to use drones when reporting on breaking news as they’ve done for clients like ABC, CNN, Fox News and ESPN.

This means the startup’s drones can stream live footage to media providers when they cover a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster.

And in the energy sector, Measure’s fleet of drones are able to help locate dead solar panels that need replacing on solar farms for enterprise customers, as they do with AES, an Arlington-based global power company.

Measure’s trained pilots can hover over cell phone towers to do inspections or assist construction managers when monitoring and controlling the progress of their projects — all while streaming real time live video to decision-makers operating in the field.

Drones in their fleet are made by Chinese company DJI and real-time broadcasting is augmented by LiveU technology. The drones use FLIR cameras and are capable of thermal imaging, performing LIDAR and using passive RFID.

“I don’t think the drone industry is just about hardware or software. What we’re doing is the future,” said CEO and cofounder, Brandon Torres Declet.

Measure in flight mode. (Courtesy photo)

Measure in flight mode. (Courtesy photo)

Measure has 54 employees with the vast majority located in the District. Data engineers are a vital part of their team, and the company employs vets while also working with interns.

Measure secured a $15 million Series B round of fundraising back in January from Cognizant, landing them squarely in the heart of the local tech ecosystem.

“Not only are we the largest drone company in D.C., we’re the largest drone services operator in the country by far,” said Torres Declet. “That’s by flights, number of employees, fleet, capitalization and all the metrics that matter.”

Measure stands out from other competitors because it is solely focused on enterprise customers.

“We’ve got pilots in ten different states and we’ve done 2,500 operations in 27 states, Central America, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands,” said Chris Courtney, the company’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations.

Moving forward, Measure hopes to take flight to 18 countries by 2018.

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