Anti-drone radio wave startup SkySafe secures $11.5M from Andreessen

Drones are a threat to both military and public safety, whether flown by a terrorist or just a reckless pilot. SkySafe’s radio wave technology can detect and stop rogue drones from entering unauthorized areas like military bases, stadiums, prisons and airports. SkySafe’s radio frequency signals are projected from a perimeter of nodes or even a Jeep, and force unapproved drones to leave or land while allowing permitted drones to fly.

Now just two years after launch, SkySafe has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, whose partner Lars Dalgaard will join the board. It adds to the $3 million seed led by Andreessen last year.

Meanwhile, SkySafe has secured a $1.5 million Department of Defense contract with Naval Special Warfare to provide counter-drone tech to the Navy Seals. SkySafe’s mobile defense vehicle can accompany armed forces in the field to protect a moving perimeter from drone attacks or surveillance.

SkySafe CEO Grant Jordan started SkySafe after graduating MIT and working on anti-drone technology for four years in the Air Force Research Lab. He writes that “we are rolling out a series of demonstrations, tests, and exercises for DoD customers over the next year and plan to have systems in the field in 2018.”

SkySafe’s radio wave solution could prove simpler to deploy than alternative drone defenses. Laser-based weapons that shoot down drones may be dangerous and complicated to operate. Net guns that ensnare stray drones may have limited effective ranges. SkySafe claims its RF waves can detect and deter drones at the same maximum range a drone can travel from a pilot.

Defense technologies like SkySafe are an important check against the inevitable democratization of violence. As technology improves, the destructive power available to any single human increases. From hand-to-hand combat to firearms to drones and nuclear weapons, the rapid progress of weaponry will pose new challenges for our species. Defense technology must keep up in order to maintain public safety.