Boeing’s venture capital arm is leading an investment round for Robotic Skies, a New Mexico-based startup that offers a global network of repair stations for drones.
Other investors in the round include Thayer Ventures, Sun Mountain Capital and KickStart Seed Fund. Neither Boeing nor Robotic Skies reported the total amount of funding, but the investments made by Boeing HorizonX Ventures are typically in the range of millions to the low tens of millions of dollars.
The investment builds on a seed round of funding in 2017, led by KickStart Seed Fund, plus a previously announced collaboration involving Robotic Skies, Boeing Global Services and its subsidiaries Aviall and Jeppesen to provide enhanced services for unmanned aircraft systems. It also meshes with Boeing’s wider effort to work its way into the ecosystem for autonomous flight.
“With safety as a cornerstone, we are shaping a robust operational ecosystem for on-demand mobility that supports the future of aircraft, air vehicles and autonomous systems,” Brian Schettler, managing director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures, said in a news release.
Founded in 2014, Robotic Skies has knit together an array of more than 170 certified, independently owned and operated drone service centers in more than 40 countries.
“Unmanned and autonomous commercial aircraft operations are increasingly mirroring those in manned aviation, including the need for quality maintenance provided by certified technicians,” said Brad Hayden, founder and CEO of Robotic Skies. “This latest investment will allow us to continue to grow our global footprint and expand operational capabilities to support customers.”
Robotic Skies joins a Boeing HorizonX investment portfolio of 18 ventures focusing on technological frontiers ranging from additive manufacturing to augmented reality to satellite services. Several of those companies — such as Matternet, Kittyhawk, Fortem Technologies and Near Earth Autonomy — concentrate on drone operations and autonomous flight.
In addition to the HorizonX companies, two Boeing subsidiaries — Insitu and Aurora Flight Sciences.— are devoted to developing autonomous aircraft systems.