Investing in Skydio

Linse Capital
4 min readDec 14, 2022

Aging infrastructures around the world — roads, bridges, airports, rail lines, and public utilities — are in desperate need of repair after decades of neglect. Modern warfare is extremely complex, and urban conflict zones expose military personnel to new dangers and limited situational awareness. Public safety workers in large cities are working longer and harder due to widespread staffing shortages.

These scenarios reinforce the need to find strategic ways to help people improve productivity and safety while doing more with less.

Fortunately, the U.S. has big ambitions to revitalize critical assets and bolster national security. However, the modernization of infrastructure and tools requires more than federal funding. Building and working smarter can happen only if we invest in digital technologies and tools that evolve the way we monitor, maintain, and move around infrastructure. This means incorporating technologies like digital twins (virtual models that reflect physical objects), building information modeling, and AI. Drones are uniquely suited to support this kind of transformation.

A future with autonomous drones looks like an official at a power utility deploying a drone docked hundreds of miles away to examine downed power lines after a storm. Or a bridge inspector deploying a drone to create a digital model of a bridge to uncover defects a human might have missed. Or a firefighter deploying a drone stationed on a fire engine to provide data from multiple angles so people on the ground can make better decisions and possibly save lives.

Skydio is building powerful, autonomous aerial drones that improve human safety and productivity worldwide. Vertical integration is one of their key differentiators, and the company’s suite of in-house products makes them truly stand out. Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation captures data using autonomous maneuvers that are difficult for expert pilots to perform. Skydio 3D Scan generates digital twins of assets, providing vital data that utilities, telecom, construction, and public safety teams can analyze and digitally archive. Skydio Dock enables self-flying drones to access high-risk areas and continuously patrol potentially dangerous environments.

Each product built on Skydio’s platform unlocks more use cases that expand the total addressable market for their drones. Nonetheless, the drone market is still very competitive. Today, hundreds of drone OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), software applications, and service providers compete for the attention of enterprise customers. A similar challenge in the consumer market led to pricing that culled previous American drone OEMs.

In a competitive environment where drone hardware is often seen as a commodity, it’s essential to know the customer and offer a growing list of breakthrough AI and software capabilities. Co-founder and CEO Adam Bry has assembled a world-class team of AI, robotics, and software engineering experts who keep pushing technological boundaries. Skydio’s direct sales model and strong consumer business have helped them understand customer expectations, tailor offerings to customer needs, and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Since our initial investment in Skydio more than two years ago, we’ve watched drones play increasingly prominent roles in our economic prosperity and national security in ways that reaffirm our conviction in the company. Innovation in this market comes with regulatory risk, and widespread approval for beyond-visual-line-of-sight for autonomous flights will take some time. Fortunately, regulatory and technological tailwinds seem to be moving in Skydio’s favor.

In our opinion, Skydio is a trailblazer poised to become an industry leader. We are excited to continue our partnership with Skydio. We’re proud to help them leverage the latest in AI-powered data analytics and computer vision to continue making drones valuable tools that extend human capability while making people safer, more creative, and more productive. We envision a future where drones become an indispensable enterprise technology, and Skydio’s ingenuity and strategy are positioning the company to make that future a reality.

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Linse Capital

Linse Capital is a growth equity firm focused on industrial technology companies, in sectors such as transportation, energy, logistics and real estate.