Looking Back While Forging Ahead

A letter from DroneDeploy's founders at 2019's year end

Wed Dec 18 2019 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Starting a drone software company in 2013 meant we started with more questions than answers. While we were certain drones and industrial robots would change the world, when, and who would want them, remained two burning questions. 

We started wondering: in which industries would drones gain traction. We couldn’t claim to be experts in every industry, but we knew if we focused on our customers everything else would fall into place.

And, wow, did you respond. The best thing about our jobs at DroneDeploy is our exposure to the ins and outs of so many industries worldwide. Whether it has been attending explosives seminars in mining, visiting massive construction sites, or learning how soybeans “fix” their own nitrogen, it didn’t take long to understand that our customers make the modern world work. After all, as we learned from a mining client of ours, “Everything is made of something. It’s either grown or mined, then built.”

Not only have we been able to learn about our customers’ operations, but every aspect of our product has been inspired by our customers’ asks. We’ll take a moment to express our gratitude for your guidance.

1M flights performed in 2019 alone.

We’re 6 years in, and 2019 has been our best year yet. This year the DroneDeploy community surpassed 120 million acres mapped (larger than Italy and Greece combined!). Over 1M flights have been performed this year alone, capturing insight into agricultural fields, buildings, quarries, windmills, solar panels, and more. But what we are most proud of is the fact that over 5,000 customers worldwide rely on our product, from the biggest drone deployments in the world to sole proprietors.

Series D Funding announcement in Times Square, New York.

Based on your success with DroneDeploy, we raised $35M in our Series D fundraise, announced in November. This will allow us to better serve all of our customers, build an even better product, and expand DroneDeploy into more languages with local support, starting with an office in Australia.

Closer to home, we were also fortunate enough to host nearly 400 of our customers, innovators, and industry leaders at our annual DroneDeploy Conference in San Francisco. We were excited to talk about the full extent of our Drone Cloud, with a full solution that goes from flight to making maps, 360-degree panoramas, video capture, and more. We launched manual inspection capabilities in our fall release, and showed off our simple-to-use Drone Fleet management, while surpassing 80 integrations, which included Autodesk, Procore, and Plangrid, to name a few.

Mike Winn delivering the opening keynote at DDC2019.

There is still more work to be done. Expect a deeper, faster, more reliable DroneDeploy in the future, with a winter release in January you won’t want to miss. And all inspired by your asks. 

We are grateful for the trust of our customers and are eager to help them succeed. This year, by utilizing DroneDeploy, our customers saved hundreds of thousands of operational hours, saved millions of dollars wasted due to inefficiencies, and – we’d like to think – saved lives by keeping workers out of harm’s way.

This all makes us thankful and excited for the future, a future filled with more customers, in more industries, exploring and sharing the advantages of drone data. Thank you for continuing with us on our journey in 2019. Here’s to an even better 2020!

Happy Holidays,

Mike, Jono, and Nick

From left to right: Jono Millin, Nick Pilkington, Mike Winn


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