In September, drone and aierial robotics maker 3D Robotics announced a $30 million funding round from Foundry Group, True Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and SK Ventures. Today, Mayfield Fund is announcing that it was also a part of that round, contributing $6 million to the connected, aerial vehicle platform company.
Founded by Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, 3D Robotics has ambitions of making drones and other aerial robotics technology easier, more powerful and cheaper. The high-powered, connected devices the startup is manufacturing and selling would normally only be able available to aerospace industry or the military. Now, these controlled drones can be made cheaper, and can be put towards all sorts of commercial use cases, including delivery.
3D Robotics’ portfolio is composed of a single plane-style drone and four copter drones. One of the company’s flagship devices is the Iris, a $720 drone that can be controlled with ease from a PC or an Android device (as long as you have the corresponding app) that can also follow paths “drawn” on an on-screen map thanks to its built-in GPS.
As Mayfield partner Tim Chang explained to me, he’s been fascinated by the evolution of hardware and connected devices. He’s led investments in high-powered wearable Basis, as well as game console Ooya. This is his third hardware deal, and there’s actually a personal connection. Chang majored in Robotics at engineering school. “All the computing power and sensors had to be built-in the robotics itself,” he says. “The real innovation here is on the cloud connected-software part–this has extended the brain power of robots.”
It’s still early days for widespread commercial use of drones, but it’s clear that this will become more prevalent in the future. First stop, shipping and delivery.