Funding / Startups / Technology

Measure raises $15 million to scale up ‘drones as a service’

Want drone data for your business but don't want to operate your own drones? This D.C. startup will take care of that for you.

San Antonio, Texas, home to Clear Channel Communications, NuStar Energy and Rackspace. (River Walk in San Antonio, Texas by f11photo via Shutterstock)

“We don’t make drones. We make drones work.”

So proclaims the homepage of downtown D.C.-based “drone as a service” startup Measure. Bold, perhaps, to lead with what your company doesn’t do.

But analyst Vania Wang says it’s important to make that distinction because, as Measure sees it, there are three main types of companies in the drone marketplace.

  1. There are the companies that manufacture the drones themselves (hardware) — Measure doesn’t do this.
  2. Then there are the companies that build software for drones — Measure doesn’t do this either.
  3. Finally, there are companies that are drone service providers — they operate drones (for whatever reason) for enterprise clients. This is where Measure comes in.

In a sentence, Measure offers its services to “enterprise companies that want to use drone technology but don’t really have the know-how,” Wang told The main verticals the company works in are construction, news gathering and telecommunications.

And apparently this is an intriguing idea — Measure just raised a $15 million Series B.

As we reported in September 2014 when the company received authorization to operate a bunch of drones from the Federal Aviation Administration, “Measure consults with companies on how to best make use of drone technology, and then leases and operates the devices on their behalf.”

For example, since then, Measure has used its drones in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew (in September 2016) to gather info for the news as well as perform telecoms infrastructure inspections (for Verizon) and insurance inspections after the storm. The data that Measure drones are gathering? It could be infrared or thermal imaging, or video or photos — whatever the client needs.

Not everything has been going precisely as planned, though. In 2015 many (including Measure) expected agriculture to be an industry where drones would really take off (so to speak). But in reality “agriculture has been really slow to adopt” the technology, Wang said.

With this newest influx of capital, Wang said Measure hopes to ramp up its presence nation-wide. The company is doing this via a franchise model — partnering with high-quality drone operators all across the country who can help expand their reach.

Measure previously saw “a significant capital raise” in September 2015.

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