MicaSense is raising more cash from Parrot to support its fast-growing drone technology business.
MicaSense CEO Gabriel Torres confirmed with GeekWire today that his startup raised an additional $7.4 million from Paris-based Parrot, one of the leading worldwide drone companies worldwide that previously invested $2 million in Micasense back in 2014.
MicaSense, which re-located to Seattle from California about a year ago, also on Monday announced a new sensor called Sequoia that is manufactured by Parrot and is geared toward agriculture customers who use drones for more efficient crop scouting.
“MicaSense has strengthened its ties with Parrot and is on a path to join the Parrot family of companies in the next several years,” Torres said. “This provides MicaSense the backing of one of the key players in the industry, with the flexibility to serve the entire commercial drone market.”
Micasense develops sensing devices to help farmers scan fields with drones and ultimately improve the health and output of their crops. Its first product was a multispectral camera called RedEdge that attaches to drones and captures data over very specific wavelengths. Combined with the company’s own software and analytics solution called ATLAS, this device allows farmers to measure plant reflectance and gives them a more scientific approach to assess crop health across fields and over time.
The new product announced today, called Sequoia, is a smaller and more affordable multispectral camera that utilizes Micasense’s ATLAS software platform for processing, management, presentation, and analytics of data. It fits on any drone — fixed-wing or multirotor.
“The size and weight of the camera, coupled with a lower price point, make it an ideal match for use with the very popular and ubiquitous small drones available today,” Torres said. “This enables a level of adoption that is likely to be a game changer.”
Despite the funding from Parrot, Torres noted that MicaSense continues to partner with other drone companies.
“We’re still working with all UAV companies and users across the industry and remain platform agnostic and aim to continue doing so,” he said. “It’s an important part of our long term growth strategy.”
MicaSense will use the fresh funding to grow its software development team and increase the scope of its ATLAS platform. The company is headquartered in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and employs 14 full-time employees, which is up from just four people at this time last year. It is looking to double its headcount in 2016.