The drone industry is still flying high — at least according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal named 25 emerging leaders as tech companies to watch in 2018, and among them are two drone companies. Kespry landed on spot No. 15, while Airobotics made it as No. 21.
Kespry is a Silicon Valley company founded in 2013 to gather data using drones and analyze it for industries such as mining, insurance and construction. Its services are mostly used for inspections and inventory and operation management. The company has 104 employees and has raised $61.4 million in funding, and is led by founders Paul Doersch, Nathan Hall-Snyder and Ben Stabler.
Kespry was among a handful of companies invited to attended a historic White House meeting last year between drone industry leaders and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Israel-based Airobotics provides drones and software for uses including security monitoring, facility and emergency inspections, surveying, and inventory measurement. The 250-person company, founded in 2014, has raised $71 million in funding and is led by Meir Kliner and Ran Krauss. It is also the first company in the world to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, as licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel.
Airobotics recently made news for poaching Richard Wooldridge as its new Chief Operating Officer. Wooldridge previously served as the COO at Facebook’s Building 8, which worked to build experimental hardware products such as augmented reality glasses. He also worked previously as COO for Google’s Advanced Technology and Products Group.
To come up with the list of 25 companies, the Wall Street Journal created an online survey conducted by the Harris Poll, which was distributed to company executives and others who make technology-purchasing decisions for businesses. Readers of certain Wall Street Journal publications and attendees of Journal technology conferences also were surveyed.
From there, they were judged based on founders’ experience, investor track record, investment, growth, buzz and social media following. Companies were included only if they were founded since the start of 2013 and had a valuation of $50 million to $500 million.