Drone software developers finding investor backing

By Luke Geiver | January 30, 2018

It’s been a good month for drone software developers. In the U.S., San Francisco-based Converge received a $750,000 round of seed funding from a group of big-name investors, including Samsung NEXT, Techstars Ventures and Kima Ventures.

Converge, created by alumni from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—a team that created the first software used to control drones via smartphone—is developing an artificial intelligence system to control drones used in emergency response, insurance or construction. AI software is needed to move beyond intensive, hands-on planning, flying and distilling data to an automated world where drones are a seamless part of business operations, according to Converge.

David Pittman, CEO and co-founder, said the team is using AI to turn drones into an essential team member to transform the efficiency of operations. The company has worked with construction firms in Florida and recently deployed its AI powered software in drones used by insurance companies.

Since closing the funding round, Converge has been able to run a deployment of its AI powered software for commercial drones with over 50 insurance adjusters at a global insurance company. The investment is also helping to develop and refine the software and grow the Converge team.

This is the first seed funding for the company, founded by alumni from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who created the first application for flying a drone with a smartphone. The software has already been piloted by a selection of drone service providers and one of the largest construction companies in Florida.

“Our mission is to bring the possibilities of drones to traditional industries such as insurance and construction,” said David Pitman, Co-Founder and CEO of Converge. “We are using artificial intelligence to turn drones into an essential team member, working alongside humans, transforming the efficiency of operations. Drones have the ability to take on dull, dirty, and dangerous work; removing risk and enabling companies to save valuable time and money.”

In the U.K., Altitude Angels secured a $4.5 million series A round of funding to help the company continue building out its unmanned traffic management software. With the funding, the company intends to expand offices in Europe and North America. Altitude has geospatial databases for more than 80 countries. The database is a key component of its autonomous drone navigation system, according to the company. The database allows a user to fly with better situational awareness. Founded in 2014, the company’s software GuardianUTM “provides scalable and robust digital communications services to aviation stakeholders, national drone registration solutions and integrated identification services.”

Seraphim Space Fund, Accelerated Digital Ventures and Frequentis AG all contributed to the investment round.