By Adam Bry on Jan 15, 2015
We’re excited to announce the launch of Skydio and the closing of our $3 million seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with Accel Partners participating.
Drones are poised to have a transformative impact on how we see our world. They’ll enable us to film the best moments of our lives with professional quality cinematography and they’ll also change the way businesses think about monitoring their operations and infrastructure. This grand vision is starting to come into focus, but existing products are blind to the world around them. As a consequence, drones must fly high above the nearest structures or receive the constant attention of an expert operator. “Flyaways” and crashes abound. These problems must be solved for the industry to move forward.
Skydio’s mission is to make the enormous potential of the aerial platform available, safe, and intuitive for a much broader audience and a much broader set of applications. A drone that’s aware of its surroundings is far easier to control, safer to operate, and more capable. Almost all the information a drone needs to be good at its job can be found in onboard video data; the challenge is extracting that information and making it useful for the task at hand. That challenge, and the incredible capabilities that are unlocked, are our focus.
For us this project is about harnessing the beauty and power of flight to make it “universally accessible and useful.” I’ve been building stuff that flies since I was five years old. First it was balsa wood and rubber bands, then there were electronics and big gas motors. When I was sixteen I won my first national championship flying radio controlled aerobatics. This passion for flight led me to engineering, and in particular leveraging the power of software and algorithms to make autonomous vehicles with capabilities beyond those of the best human pilots.
I met my co-founders through this pursuit. Abe Bachrach, our CTO, was my labmate at MIT where he led our research group’s pioneering work in GPS-denied flight. Together we were on the founding team of Project Wing at Google[x]. Matt Donahoe, our CXO (X for eXperience), grew up making movies before turning to programming as another storytelling medium. Our passions and experience come together in Skydio.
We’re at an incredibly exciting point in the evolution of technology. Many centuries worth of knowledge in mathematics and computer science is poised to create the first meaningfully autonomous systems for everyday use: algorithms that animate the real world. At Skydio we believe this will be the most rewarding engineering challenge of our generation. If you’re excited about taking it on, we want to hear from you.