Oil and gas inspection firm Sky Futures has received an investment of up to $1 million from San Francisco-based Airware that it will use to improve its drone-based inspection technology for the oil and gas sector.
Airware has set up a Commercial Drone Fund that is designed to invest in companies that are developing technologies that Airware believes are “critical to scaling the use of drones across a variety of commercial applications”. The fund is making investments of between $250,000 and $1 million in early-stage companies involved in commercial drones and will focus on five key areas: sensor hardware, software applications, cloud-based aerial data analysis tools, drone-based services and complete solutions for specific industries.
It is in this last category that Sky Futures qualifies for Airware’s investment as it focuses on using drones equipped with high-tech cameras and sensing devices to deliver inspection services for oil and gas companies.
Sky-Futures’ drones collect high definition video, stills and thermal imagery data, which is analyzed in a proprietary data platform and delivered to clients as a technical report. The London-headquartered business currently delivers drone inspection services in the North Sea, the Middle East, South East Asia and North Africa, and has recently opened an office in Houston, Texas to serve clients in the Gulf of Mexico.
“While the commercial drone industry is evolving rapidly, we still see gaps in the ecosystem. The Commercial Drone Fund will identify and boost the rising stars that are advancing important drone-related initiatives, such as powerful new sensors, intelligent analytics, or innovative field services,” Airware CEO Jonathan Downey said in a statement.
Sky Futures CEO James Harrison added:
“We’re excited to be working with Jonathan Downey and the Commercial Drone Fund to shape the future of commercial drone technology to save time, cut cost, and improve safety for industry.
“Our solutions are already in use with over 35 of the biggest oil and gas companies globally. Investment from the Commercial Drone Fund will speed up the delivery of our technology roadmap and create more valuable data to our existing client base faster.”
The investment is the second achieved by Sky Futures this month. The firm announced on May 11 that venture capital fund MMC Ventures agreed to put $3.8 million into the business.