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Michael Chasen moves on to drones

Among the biggest names in DC tech, the founder of SocialRadar (and, before that, cofounder of Blackboard) is now CEO of PrecisionHawk.

Michael Chasen, flying a drone. (Courtesy photo)

Michael Chasen, cofounder and CEO of Blackboard and founder of SocialRadar, is moving on to a new gig. He’s the new CEO of PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, NC-based drone tech company, the company announced on Wednesday.

Drones are yet another new field for Chasen, whose professional background is predominantly in mapping software and edtech. Chasen led Blackboard for 15 years, and took the company public in 2004. He then founded SocialRadar, a mapping startup that was acquired by Verizon this past November.

For the uninitiated, Chasen is among the best known names of DC tech. He took an early edtech offering to scale and then led a rather audacious run at doing the same with a consumer facing app in a town still grappling with its consumer identity (RIP Living Social). So he’s a bellwether of sorts for this new business class. That’s why this move is a critical one for Chasen, and one we were waiting to see. (We’re clarifying if this involves any geographic change for among the most public faces of DC tech).

PrecisionHawk develops enterprise software to “collect and analyze data to improve business intelligence.” This includes things like “flight planning, tracking, data collection and analytics,” according to a press release. The company works with industries like agriculture and construction.

“Adoption of drone technology among major industries is growing at an incredible rate. By engineering an ecosystem that allows companies to gain valuable information, PrecisionHawk is at the forefront of one of the most important areas of technology innovation,” Chasen said in a statement. “The PrecisionHawk team has all of the building blocks that are required to become the world leader in commercial drone technology.”

Founded in 2010, PrecisionHawk is also helping the government develop drone policy by participating in the FAA’s Pathfinder program, the press release states.

Companies: SocialRadar / Blackboard

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