game of drones

Airware color logos

people all across the tech industry are talking about mobile  — one of the largest markets we’ve ever seen. a side-benefit of this mobile revolution is that, in the race fit computers in our pockets, the competitive forces also drove down the cost of components. components, by the way, that have advanced technology in unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones.” and so we have an early market forming and hundreds of commercial applications just waiting to be built.​

i grew up tinkering with hardware (meccano ftw!), and the prospect of drones make me feel like a kid again. forgive the pun, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know drones will be a big deal. but how? and, when? many smart folks in tech have been giving this a lot of thought. fred wilson posted this great pic of a drone in his apt. twitter engineer @stammy has been surveying all of the bay area with his setup. and chris dixon wrote this post about a16z’s investment in a new OS company for drones. so, there’s plenty of buzz about the commercial drone space and we’ve had our eye on it for some time,  and I’m now lucky enough to jump into this game of drones!

today, kleiner perkins is proud to announce our investment in airware. i will join chris ​and john (airware’s CEO) ​ on the board, and will get to work with the ​growing team. we see ​many great opportunities here at kleiner, and i’m privileged to be able to partner with airware​ to build a world-class aerial hardware company and information platform.​

we chose to invest in airware as the frontrunner for a few reasons:

  • platform: unique in their approach, they’re building a platform with software and hardware that will be flexible enough for any commercial application. that’s especially attractive to me because I have built platforms and know how powerful they can be in fueling an industry
  • talent: team is equal parts aerospace and silicon valley – they are plugged in to the industry, know what customers need, have assembled the right people
  • regulation/compliance: they are also unique in that they’ve taken a very proactive approach with regulatory agencies and insurance providers – getting at customers’ needs and addressing them. they will catalyze an ecosystem of commercial drone development – first internationally and then in the US following FAA regulation

for me personally, the interplay between hardware and software will trigger memories of my time with webOS as well as my time building composite software and the data processing product we built.  i’m looking forward to getting started on supporting jonathan and the team on their journey. it’s a dream come true for me to focus on a company like airware.

we are just beginning to scratch the surface of all the dazzling and world-changing commercial applications for drones. airware will help drive the OS for these machines and provide a platform for others to build on.

the future is unwritten. my partners and i at kleiner are fortunate to have our chance to help a great team grow and write their own story. our goal is that one day you be able to lift up the hood of any commercial drone and see airware powering every one of them. this really is a game of drones.