25. DroneDeploy

Founders: Mike Winn (CEO), Jono Millin (chief product officer), Nicholas Pilkington (CTO)
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding: $31 million

Michael Winn, CEO and co-founder of DroneDeploy
Source: DroneDeploy
Michael Winn, CEO and co-founder of DroneDeploy

The global market for commercial applications of drone technology is projected to reach $127 billion by 2020, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. That's good news for DroneDeploy, a web-based drone control and management platform. This San Francisco-based company doesn't build commercial drones (DJI and 3D Robotics are two of the companies doing that). Rather, DroneDeploy's cloud-based software enables drone operators to plan flights, then quickly gather, store and analyze the data gathered from those flights.

This means farmers can survey land and monitor crop health, builders can get an aerial view of construction progress, and insurance companies can check on conditions for claims in areas they might not otherwise be able to get to. The company uses a software-as-a-service model, offering a free plan as well as premier plans with greater upload and mapping capabilities, starting at $99 per month.

The founders of DroneDeploy — Mike Winn, Jono Millin and Nicholas Pilkington — started the company in 2013 at AngelPad, a seed-stage accelerator program with offices in New York and San Francisco. The trio saw the potential applications for drone technology and realized how essential the software piece of the puzzle could be.

So far, the company's technology has been used in 130 countries, and it claims that its users have mapped more than 8 million acres of land. Last year it launched the DroneDeploy app store so developers can build their own apps geared for specific industries. The company has raised $31 million from investors, including Scale Venture Partners and Emergence Capital Partners.

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