Aussie analytics company secures $10m funding round for drone tech

Image: Propeller Aero

Cloud-based analytics company Propeller Aero has received a major funding breakthrough, securing $10 million from investors for advancement and expansion of its drone-mapping analytics technology.

Headquartered in Sydney (with a sales and marketing division in Denver, Colorado), Propeller visualises and analyses data from drones in the service of heavy industries such as mining and construction, where the devices are becoming an increasingly prominent fixture.

Drones can scan detailed 3D maps of mine sites that can expedite analysis operational elements such as landfill and haul roads, streamlining processes and bringing a wealth of other benefits.

The $10 million was secured primarily from established Propeller investors Blackbird Ventures, Costonoa Ventures and Accel Partners, with new support coming from Sequoia China, a company that has recently made headlines for its sizeable pre-IPO investment in Bitmain. The first three companies made up about 80 per cent of the raise, with Sequioa making up the remainder.

“We’re delighted to be able to fuel the journey of Propeller in a more substantial way, right at the time drones are reshaping the way the industrial world conducts every aspect of their business,” said Niki Scevak, partner at Blackbird Ventures. “Propeller is growing among the fastest of any company we have seen and we are so excited for the future.”

The $10 million raising is a significant development for Propeller, which launched in 2014 and had raised $4 million before the announcement.

Last year, the company made a significant stride by partnering with GPS major Trimble. According to Propeller co-chief executive officer and co-founder Rory San Miguel, the mining industry was starting to become an industry standard.

“Since Propeller’s launch in 2014, we’ve gained partnerships with top-tier industry players like Trimble and DJI,” he said. “The new financial support will help us expand our team, move into new markets, and execute our vision faster and more broadly.”