Airware Raises $30 Million, Adds John Chambers to Board

SAN FRANCISCO –- Airware, a company developing an operating system for commercial drones, has raised a $30 million Series C funding led by Next World Capital with former Cisco CEO John Chambers, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) participating. The funding will be used to increase Airware’s capacity to work with additional customers by expanding customer success, professional services, sales, and marketing functions as well as geographic expansion leveraging Next World Capital’s European expansion platform.

John Chambers, the current Executive Chairman and 20-year former CEO of Cisco, is joining Airware’s Board of Directors. Other Airware directors include: Jonathan Downey; Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz; and Mike Abbott, general partner at KPCB. Chambers, who is helping guide Airware’s enterprise sales efforts, chose Airware as his first board seat since retiring as Cisco’s CEO last summer.

“Successful companies get market transitions right,” said John Chambers, former CEO and current executive chairman of Cisco. “Digitization and the associated business model evolution is occurring rapidly across every industry. The commercial drone industry is poised to throw many markets into transition. Airware has a great CEO who is scaling remarkably fast, a strong management team and a value-added market proposition. I believe Jonathan and the Airware team are positioned to lead, and it’s an honor to be a part of their team.”

Airware also announced it is delivering, for the first time, complete enterprise drone solutions directly to the Fortune 500. Airware’s drone solutions, built on top of Airware’s Aerial Information Platform, include cloud-based planning, commercial operator software, vehicles with sophisticated autonomy and on-board sensors, cloud data processing, as well as analytics and reporting, all within a complete workflow that enables companies to integrate aerial data into their existing business processes and systems. With Airware, companies in insurance, utilities, telecom, and oil & gas can improve operational efficiency, ensure compliance, enhance worker safety, and capture more accurate, repeatable data to improve decision making.

State Farm, the number one insurer of residential properties in the United States and the first insurance company to have been granted a Section 333 exemption by the FAA, is partnering with Airware to leverage commercial drone technology for rooftop inspections, underwriting, and disaster response.

“At State Farm, our active exploration of innovative new technologies will help us continue to meet the changing needs of our customers and remain the leader in our industry,” said Jack Weekes, Operations Vice President at State Farm. “We’re currently engaged in a limited deployment with Airware to conduct hundreds of test flights and assess how commercial drones can help adjusters conduct rooftop inspections.”

“With drones, enterprises can finally bridge the physical and digital worlds, yielding new actionable insights and better decision making,” said Airware founder & CEO Jonathan Downey. “But navigating a fragmented market of incomplete offerings has left many enterprises frustrated. Today, we’re announcing complete enterprise drone solutions built on Airware’s Aerial Information Platform. Airware’s unique architecture enables Airware and our customers to more quickly deploy new applications for drones in a robust and scalable way that complies with regulations, enhances safety, and ensures accurate data.”

Founded in 2011, Airware has raised more than $70 million to date.