Just one year after closing a $10 million funding round, a Detroit-based drone software company that seeks to build highways in the sky for unmanned aircraft is on another high-flying path.
Airspace Link Inc. said Wednesday it closed on a Series B funding round totaling $23.1 million at a valuation of about $200 million, according to an estimate by Crain’s Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News. The four-year-old company has now raised a total of $37 million.
The added money in the bank allows the company to continue growing its head count, which has swelled from 17 one year ago to 45 today, with another doubling expected in the coming months; and also further building out its relationships with state and local governments for infrastructure contracts, a primary source of revenue.
Beyond those areas for growth, the funding allows the company to start having a global footprint, something it already has the general capability to do, according to Michael Healander, the founder and CEO of Airspace Link.
“As we go global, we do have to customize and deploy and localize the systems to languages and the rules and regulations,” Healander told Crain’s. “But otherwise, we have a template and a blueprint to do that. But doing anything international, it requires extra funding and time and really building out a global team to support that.”
The Detroit startup is one of just a handful of companies approved through the Federal Aviation Administration for a data exchange program known as Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, which the FAA says provides the following:
- Drone pilots with access to controlled airspace at or below 400 feet.
- Awareness of where pilots can and cannot fly.
- Air traffic professionals with visibility into where and when drones are operating.
The latest funding round for Airspace Link was led by Silicon Valley investment fund Avanta Ventures, the venture capital arm of CSAA Insurance Group; and included participation from two other new investors: Morningside Group in Hong Kong, and family office investor the Caprock Group.
“Our investment in Airspace Link aligns with our deep focus on mobility innovation, safety, and risk management,” David Li, principal at Avanta Ventures, said in a news release. “We look forward to working with Airspace Link to accelerate aerial mobility in the safest manner for consumers and communities at scale.”
Existing investors Altos Ventures, Indicator Ventures, 2048 Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, and Thales Group also participated, according to the release.
As the broader economy has slowed in recent months, that chill has also been felt by venture capitalists and startup founders, as Crain’s reported last week.
In the weeks leading up to his deal closing last week, there was a noticeable slowdown, but the parties “stuck to our guns,” said Healander.
Completing the funding now could be advantageous for the company going forward, should financial markets continue to retreat, according to the CEO.
“Now we’re headed into a bit of (an environment) where other companies aren’t going to be able to raise, especially our competitors,” said Healander. “If you haven’t raised recently, some companies are going to be in a tough spot. So we’re in a really good spot as a company moving forward for three years.”