Our Investment in Skycatch and the Future of UAVs

“The most exciting part about Skycatch is the worlds largest companies in construction, mining, agriculture, energy and oil and gas trust Skycatch and their technologies to optimize their workflows and provide unique and actionable data on a daily basis.” – Rich Levandov

It’s always hard to see at first when a technology comes on the scene how big it is going to be. The industry is rising rapidly, software is building so quickly, and use cases and applications manifest so rapidly that people are resistant to new technology. We saw this with the PC when very expensive supercomputers went into the hands of consumers, and we’re seeing the same response to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their various applications.

That’s why we’re excited to invest in Skycatch and to drive innovation in this multi-billion dollar industry with some incredible people. We’re delighted to join Google ventures and Ram Shiram of Sherpalo Ventures, along with Christian Sanz, Founder and CEO, for this thrilling ride. 

Skycatch provides the quickest and cheapest access to ground truth using advanced aerial robotics technology. More than just an attractive piece of hardware, the platform is an end-to-end data solution, including automated data capture, processing, and delivery by online interface and software packages that many companies already employ. Skycatch works with the leading construction, mining, and energy companies on the largest and most ambitious job sites in the world. This includes Bouygues, First Solar, Rio Tinto, BHP Billton, Webcor, and Chevron.

The early days of Skycatch encapsulate the organic customer-driven problem solving that changes an industry. That story began when a construction site superintendent asked if Sanz thought his drones could take aerial photos of the site to track its progress. That first ask became the catalyst for myriad applications for ground truth and the integral data that high-resolution imagery provides.

Currently, Skycatch is targeting clients who want to build daily survey grade 2d and 3d maps of large job sites (>100 acres, >1000 people) to streamline logistics, safety, and planning. Skycatch provides multiyear lease and software deals where clients are looking to deploy 10+ units in 2015. There are a few key reasons Skycatch is growing so rapidly.

UAVs can fly fully autonomously in industrial environments reaching heights of 10 miles, ground stations allow for scalable deployment with minimal human intervention. Perhaps the most compelling element is the software interface, available online and for download in native formats such as Autodesk and Maptek.

Skycatch comes at a great time when company’s needs for data imagery are high but the means of collecting the data are expensive (satellite, flyovers), where danger is inherent or the margin of human error is high.