Kespry, the industrial drone startup, announced a fresh infusion of cash today in the form of a $33M Series C. It brings the total raised to over $61M across the the three rounds.
While today’s investment was led by G2VP, it also included some strategic investors with Shell Technology Ventures, Cisco Ventures and ABB Ventures joining in. Shell comes on board as Kespry tries to expand its market into oil and gas.
Daniel Jeavons, general manager for advanced analytics at Shell sees solutions like drones as part of Shell’s efforts to identify and invest in advanced digital technology. “The use of industrial drones powered by AI and machine learning is a game changer for the energy sector. It will make industrial work more efficient and safer, while empowering workers with powerful new digital tools and important, future-focused skills,” Jeavons said in a statement.
The company is focusing strictly on industrial use cases like mining and aggregates, insurance claims, construction and more recently, oil and gas. It has 150 mining customers and 200 overall, according to company CEO George Matthew, who came on board at the beginning of this year after a stint as Alteryx CEO.
Matthew sees the industry at a pivotal moment where companies are beginning to see the value of industrial drones, which is leading to a mainstream level of adoption in these sectors. That’s because it tends to be safer, more efficient and more accurate to use drones than traditional methods.
Matthew is careful to distinguish his company’s approach to that of hobbyists or even prosumers who might use drone flyovers in real estate or wedding photography scenarios. While he sees these as perfectly valid drone use cases, it’s really not an area of the market that interests Kespry.
He says one of the big differentiators is his company’s use of data and machine learning. So for instance, they layer on machine learning algorithms to understand what roof damage looks like after wind, rain or hail damage. They then use that data to determine if a roof needs replacing or if it can be fixed, all automatically without having a claims adjuster climb on the roof in dangerous conditions.
The company currently has around 100 employees and Matthew expects that to double in the next year with the new money. He also is looking at more international expansion and developing more channel partners to help push their solution in their target markets.