There’s still money flying around in the drone industry. $702 million was invested in drone companies by 299 investors, across 159 funding rounds throughout 2018.
That’s according to a drone company investment report by research group DRONEII.
The largest amount of investment funding for any one company went to secretive air taxi startup Joby Aviation, which raised $100 million in February 2018. Their investors included Intel, JetBlue and Toyota.
Behind Joby Aviation came PrecisionHawk, which raised $75 million in January 2018 to “build upon its lead” in the commercial drone space by expanding its team, developing its products, and making “strategic acquisitions,” according to a statement. And their investment already paid off. At the end of 2018, DJI announced it had selected PrecisionHawk as its new provider of airspace data in North America, replacing former provider AirMap.
Other notable funding rounds went to Skydio ($42 million), which designs ultra-flashy, sensor-covered drones that can be operated without a control, Israeli industrial dronemaker Airobotics ($40 million) drone entertainment company Verity Studios ($18 million), which put on the drone scene in Cirque du Soleil, drone delivery company Matternet ($16 million), and teen-helmed consumer drone maker Teal ($11 million).
DRONEII’s report also quells fears that the drone industry could be seeing a slowdown, particularly some major news shocked many in the drone industry last year. A number of major companies last year either laid off swaths of employees, like GoPro, or closed completely, like Airware.
But instead, the report found that a total of $702 million was invested into the drone industry in 2018, which is actually up from $625 million in 2017. Their report also added that last year’s figures bring the total of funds invested into drones since 2008 to $3,163 billion.
And the investments are expected to yield results. By 2020, an expected 7.8 million consumer drones will be shipped, and $3.3 billion in revenue will be recorded, according to projections from Goldman Sachs. That’s up from just 450,000 shipments and $700 million in revenue in 2014.