A month after news that Silicon Valley-based drone startup Airware would shut down was made public, another company has announced that it is sweeping up its assets.
French drone company Delair today announced an agreement to acquire the key assets of Airware. Delair would not disclose financial terms of the deal.
Airware, a San Francisco-based drone startup working on operating systems, ceased operations in mid-September.
Delair is a Toulouse, France-based company that is building its own long range drone hardware with accompanying analytics technology and operational services. The company, which has more than 180 employees, is primarily known for its fixed-wing style autonomous flying aircraft. Delair’s drones target industries such as utilities, construction, agriculture, transportation, mining and oil and gas. The company, which says it is being used in more than 70 countries, was founded in 2011 and has offices in Belgium, Los Angeles, Singapore and Beijing.
While Airware had pivoted strategies a number of times, its last incarnation before calling it quits was as a software analytics tool for drone-based data. With Delair’s acquisition, the predominantly hardware-focused company will now receive a software solution, more employees, and an installed base of customers and dealers worldwide. The addition of Airware’s assets will also expand Delair’s presence in the United States.
Part of the deal also includes the addition of the team from Redbird, a construction and mining startup that Airware bought in 2016. Redbird, which is also based in France and builds software for drone data analytics, will continue to be based in Paris and be integrated with Delair’s engineering and customer success operations.
In September 2018, Delair closed a round of B-Series financing with Intel Capital to accelerate the development of its software offering. “The Airware acquisition supports that strategy,” according to a statement from Delair.
And what can former Airware customers expect from the news?
“The agreement between the two companies includes a business continuity plan to ensure existing Airware customers and dealers receive world class support and service, as well as upgrades as needed,” according to a statement from Delair.
Airware had once been seen as one of the drone industry’s darlings, after having raised $118 million from big investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Google’s GV, and Kleiner Perkins.
The company went through a series of business transitions, having launched in 2011 as a company to make autopilot systems. It then transitioned to building entire drones, and later pivoted to a company that would consult other companies on enterprise applications.
Airware at one point launched its own drone investment fund called the Commercial Drone Fund, which claimed would make investments of between $250,000 and $1 million in promising startups. That fund ultimately invested in three companies, according to Crunchbase: Redbird (which will remain afloat given the Delair news), Cape and Raptor Maps.