Valued at $127 billion, the drone industry is flying high. That’s a promising outlook for aspiring entrepreneurs and drone enthusiasts seeking to invest in a lucrative market. Measure, the first nationwide commercial Drone as a Service® company, helps qualified individuals launch their own commercial drone business that services enterprise-level clients.
While drone manufacturers have begun to struggle with the challenges of commoditization, Measure’s Drone as a Service® model has been flourishing. The service operator capped off a successful 2016 by closing a $15 million Series B funding round. Fortune 500 IT firm Cognizant led the raise, along with Measure’s early investors and a number of new strategic partners. The investment is indicative of something Measure has understood from day one: services are at the core of the commercial drone industry. With dozens of software options and hundreds of different drones, customers need vendors with the reach and expertise to deliver the data they need quickly and cost-effectively. With this new infusion of cash, Measure is augmenting its data capabilities, growing its fleet, and ramping up operations nationwide.
Measure closed out 2016 on a high note, flying for customers in multiple industries across the United States. We’ve seen customers move past the proof-of-concept phase and begin integrating drones into their workflows and seeing ROI. We’ve expanded operations within verticals and to new verticals, demonstrated a compelling need for drone services, and continued to fight for responsible regulations that will encourage the growth of what is sure to be a critical industry in the United States.
As with any emerging technology, the American drone industry is full of visionaries and dreamers, awake to the promise of what the technology could mean for them, their respective businesses, and the nation’s economic dynamism. These individuals don’t envision a world where drones merely capture video; but one where they can also livestream breaking news straight to the newsroom. Drones won’t simply perform telecommunication inspections, but will swarm to beam internet from up high. Drones won’t only deliver pizza, but deliver pizza of their own volition, with no operator in sight. While this type of innovation is on the horizon, it has not yet fully arrived. For emerging technologies such as drones, it’s dangerous to present what is beyond the realm of current reality as possible; unrealistic expectations will inevitably result in underperformance, which will result in loss of confidence in a promising industry.