Stanley Black & Decker will add drones to its commercial security business

Key Points
  • Stanley Black & Decker is developing commercial security drones via a partnership with start-up Sunflower Labs.
  • Worldwide spending on security drones is expected to reach $10 billion by 2020, according to PwC forecasts.
  • Sunflower Labs has raised about $6 million in venture funding from General Catalyst and Stanley Ventures for self-flying security systems.

Stanley Black & Decker plans to add drones to its commercial security business, and is developing drone-based systems in partnership with a start-up called Sunflower Labs, CNBC has learned.

Best-known for its power tools, Stanley Black & Decker generated 18 percent of its revenue last year from security products including electronic locks, perimeter sensors and video cameras commonly installed at hospitals and on college campuses. PwC forecasts the market for security drones will surpass $10 billion by 2020.

Sunflower Labs makes a home aerial security system that has solar-powered smart lights and aerial cameras. The lights detect motion, and if the software senses it's unusual, a drone is dispatched to shine a light and record video of the scene.

Users can share the video with private security or police, said Alex Pachikov, CEO and co-founder of Sunflower with CTO Chris Eheim. "Old school systems frankly get ignored by police because there have been so many false alarms," Pachikov said.

Stanley Black & Decker is also investing in Sunflower Labs, alongside Silicon Valley venture fund General Catalyst, also an investor in Stripe, Airbnb, and Kayak. The new funding of about $3.5 million brings Sunflower's total capital raised to $6 million.

An investor with General Catalyst, Niko Bonatsos, said he expects Sunflower to help Stanley Black & Decker achieve its broader goals, while gaining a foothold in a new market through the partnership. Stanley Black & Decker is looking to grow its commercial security revenue from $2.1 billion in 2016 to $3 billion to $4 billion by 2022.

Sunflower Labs co-founders: CEO Alex Pachikov, and CTO Chris Eheim.