Fresh Capital

Chris Anderson’s Drone Startup Just Raised Another $30M

Old MacDonald had a drone, HA.
Mr. Anderson. (Photo: 3D Robotics)

Mr. Anderson. (Photo: 3D Robotics)

Guess who’s still droning away? Former Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson has just raised a $30 million Series B for his startup 3D Robotics. Investors include Foundry Group, True Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and SK Ventures. It’s in addition to $5 million raised last year.

The company plans to use the money to “mainstream aerial robotics and surveying,” i.e., turning this hobbyist habit into something relatively affordable and approachable for those who aren’t lifelong subscribers to, well, Wired. The team is zeroing on commercial use cases, the big example being agriculture. Mr. Anderson said in a statement

“The opportunity to bring ‘big data’ to agriculture through low-cost automated aerial crop surveys could be a game-changer for both farming and the UAV industry alike…. Adding UAVs to the precision agriculture toolkit of a 21st Century farmer gives them the power to use imaging data to not only increase yield, but decrease water use and the chemical load in both food and environment.”

Guess that beats just driving around the old home place in a pickup. Can’t wait until America’s heartland is just miles and miles of industrial-scale farms tended remotely by robots.

But hey, that’s not the only use for these handy machines. Investor Jason Mendelson wrote at his own blog that he’s also excited about search and rescue, hyper-local delivery (burritos by copter, baby) and, well, “persistent cameras.” By that he means: “I’m really excited about persistent cameras for both movie making and sports. Once these platforms become more advanced, we are going to see perspectives that we’ve never thought of before.”

Just as long as that perspective isn’t from right outside my bathroom window. Yikes.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com