18 Hottest Drone Startups to Keep an Eye on in 2022

Drone flying in the sky.

Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were once only a topic of science fiction, but today, drone technology has advanced to incredible heights. These aircraft can be piloted remotely without human pilots, passengers, or crew on board and can perform awe-inspiring aerial maneuvers and navigate through treacherous terrain where it would be very difficult for humans to enter. 

Let’s explore some of the best drone startups out there today and look at how they’re transforming the unmanned vehicle industry by developing innovation-focused startups and companies that bring new technologies to the table.

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Top Drone Startups to Watch

Every year, new startups pull to the forefront of their industry through exciting innovation, tech, and industry-disrupting business models. We’ve rounded up the best drone startups of 2022 that startup-lovers, investors, and aspiring entrepreneurs should follow.

Disclaimer: With so many exciting drone startups launching and growing worldwide, we aren’t able to cover them all. Furthermore, the startups that are listed below are not officially ranked and are listed in no particular order.

1. Anduril

  • Location: Irvine, California
  • Founders:  Brian Schimpf, Joseph Chen, Matt Grimm, Palmer Luckey, Trae Stephens
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series D, $691 Million
  • Investors Include: Jovono, Covenant Venture Capital, D1 Capital Partners

The reason for the high funding for Anduril is the company is in the defense sector and protects AI surveillance and reconnaissance solutions. The autonomous single-rotor drone is able to get views and look into places humans couldn’t normally go, and it can be completely controlled through the web platform or mobile app. The company already has experience managing high-risk areas to provide complete security.

2. Epirus

  • Location: Hawthorne, California
  • Founders:  Bo Marr, Grant L. Verstandig, Joe Lonsdale, John Tenet, Max Mednik, Nathan Mintz
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Series C, $287 Million
  • Investors Include: 8VC, Piedmont Capital Investments, Broom Ventures

Epirus realized the potential problem of drones becoming used as an attack system and is developing software to counteract this issue. The company has built-in powerful microwave beams that can neutralize an entire swarm of drones when released. Not only that, but it also is able to detect unwanted vessels in waterways due to its precision detection system.

3. AirSmat

  • Location: Lagos, Nigeria
  • Founders:  Ibikunle Adeoluwa, Osikhena (Rex) Evidence, Soji Sanyaolu
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Pre-Seed, $100,000
  • Investors Include: Zetogon

AirSmat is taking drone technology and turning it into something good for the agriculture community. With the help of drones and satellites, AirSmat can get a better idea of where there are stressed plant areas. This data allows them to immediately offer strategic operations to improve the efficiency of the land and create better farming methods.

4. Ware

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Founders:  Ian Smith, Joseph Moster
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $2.5 Million
  • Investors Include: AISprouts, Bloomberg Beta, UP Partners

Funded by Bloomberg Beta and in partnership with Skydio, Ware helps tackle the warehousing industry's biggest issue, inventory. With the use of drones, warehouse managers are able to do the work of several employees in a matter of hours. Instead of manually counting inventory and leaving room for human error, the drones automatically read each item in the warehouse and take accurate counts of inventory. Managers will be able to take more frequent counts of inventory without having to spend extra on labor.

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5. Skydweller Aero

  • Location: Alexandria, Virginia
  • Founders:  John Parkes, Robert Miller
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series A, $40 Million
  • Investors Include: Marlinspike Capital, Palantir Technologies, Leonardo

Skydweller Aero doesn’t just deal with drone technology, but they integrate it seamlessly into their bigger mission of connecting the world with aircraft solutions for government operations, emergency services, and communications. The company works with drone tech and solar tech to make unmanned aircraft that can continually fly with the use of solar power. The company could lead the charge for autonomous flying in the modern age.

6. MARUT Drones

  • Location: Hyderabad, India
  • Founders:  Prem Kumar Vislawath
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $100,000
  • Investors Include: Kiran Darisi, Vijay Shankar

Mosquitos carry tons of diseases, and in heavily populated areas, they can be very tricky to manage. MARUT Drones understands this problem better than most and is using drones to curb the population of mosquitos in specific areas. The drones not only provide reconnaissance but can also hold 10 liters of mosquito repellant and spray up to five to six acres per hour.

Explore more top Indian startups.

7. Voliro Airborne Robotics

  • Location: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Founders:  Mina Samir Kamel
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $2.1 Million
  • Investors Include: BackBone Ventures, Alpana Ventures, Venture Kick

Voliro Airborne Robotics is revolutionizing drone technology by not only letting people fly them with attached cameras but allowing them to use the drones as an extension of their own bodies. These drones can actually touch and connect to different building materials to measure ultrasonic testing and dry-film thickness. The drone is omnidirectional, so it’s able to measure slopes and curves, unlike most other drones.

8. Deuce Drone

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Founders:   Timmy H.
  • Founded In: 2020
  • Funding: Corporate Round, $884,000
  • Investors Include: Drizly

Looking to make science fiction a reality, Deuce Drone is giving retailers worldwide the feature they’ve always dreamed about: same-day delivery. Retailers don’t have to be Amazon to get this kind of infrastructure. Instead, Deuce Drone provides drones that can hold packages and deliver them to customers around the area. After the package is delivered, the drone simply flies back to its drone port and waits for another package delivery.

See our full list of the top Boston startups to watch.

9. Skyqraft

  • Location: Stockholm, Sweden
  • Founders:  David Wickström, Sakina Turabali, Umar Chughtai
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $2.9 Million
  • Investors Include: Antler, Subvenio Invest, European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre at Noordwijk

On the surface, Skyqraft is a unique service that uses drones to collect data on power lines throughout an area. What makes Skyqraft really important is its contribution to a risk assessment system that is constantly being updated and improved on by the large amounts of data collected. With machine learning implemented as well, the system could improve power lines and their maintenance dramatically.

10. Ellipsis Earth

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founders:  Ellie Mackay
  • Founded In: 2020
  • Funding: Seed, $50,000
  • Investors Include: Sustainable Ocean Alliance

Ellipsis Earth is using drone tech to change the damage humans have done to this planet. The company uses drones for surveillance to determine areas of high trash density. The cameras on the drone are able to not only identify areas of trash but can also identify individual pieces of trash. With this information, governments and organizations can come together to do something about it.

11. Skydio

  • Location: Redwood City, California
  • Founders:  Abraham Bachrach, Adam Bry, Matt Donahoe
  • Founded In: 2014
  • Funding: Series D, $340 Million
  • Investors Include: Andreessen Horowitz, Linse Capital, Next47, IVP

Skydio is an innovative drone startup that’s building AI-powered drones to be used by enterprises, consumers, and even governments. Their mission is to develop incredible flying cameras without all of the excess complexity and use camera arrays coupled with proprietary computer vision tech to avoid objects in real-time, prevent collisions, and make intelligent decisions while flying. Their flagship product is a drone titled the X2 that comes with seven cameras, night vision, 100x zoom, and self-piloting capabilities that allow anyone to take the controls and fly like a professional drone pilot. 

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12. DroneUp

  • Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Founders:  Tom Walker
  • Founded In: 2016
  • Funding: Private, $7.5 Million
  • Investors Include: WalMart

DroneUp is an innovative UAV startup working on solving last-mile delivery problems by developing drones that can provide swift, simple deliveries to customers. In addition to their last-mile delivery drone development, DroneUp also focuses on flight services and inspections, making it easy to inspect construction sites, architecture, rooftops, building facades, and more.

13. D-Fend Solutions

  • Location: Ra’anana, Israel
  • Founders:  Assaf Monsa, Yaniv Benbenisti, Zohar Halachmi
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Venture, $28 Million
  • Investors Include: Claridge Israel, Vertex Ventures Israel, MassChallenge

D-Fend Solutions is an Israeli startup that’s aiming to control the threat of rogue drones using their counter-drone takeover technology. Their system automatically detects cyber drones and performs takeover and mitigation processes for safe outcomes and landings. D-Fend Solutions is innovating in drone security by controlling rogue drones, providing safe landings to keep residents safe, helping keep airspace safe, focusing on the real risk of “rogue drones” that could find their way into populated airspace, and staying ahead of the threat. 

Explore more top startups in Israel.

14. Emesent

  • Location:  Pullen Vale, Queensland, Australia
  • Founders:  Farid Kendoul, Stefan Hrabar
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Series A, $25.5 Million
  • Investors Include: Perennial Partners, In-Q-Tel, Main Sequence Ventures, TELUS Ventures

Emesent is a drone startup that’s developing solutions for the collection and analysis of data within GPS-denied environments that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to map. Their products are used by underground mining companies, survey and mapping organizations, infrastructure companies, as well as a variety of other industries and enterprises that require autonomous vehicles for data collection and environmental mapping. Their primary product offering is the “Emesent Hovermap,” a smart mobile scanning unit that can provide autonomous mapping capabilities in challenging and inaccessible terrain, whether underground or above ground. 

15. Corvus Robotics

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Founders:  Jackie Wu
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Pre-Seed, $50k
  • Investors Include: Arch Grants, Zento Ventures, One Way Ventures, Y Combinator

Corvus Robotics is a drone startup that focuses on making unmanned warehouse inventory drones that can scan pallets, place labels on product racks, and perform various warehouse jobs without any human involvement. Corvus Robotics warehouse drones are ideal for 3PL (three-point logistics) operators, healthcare systems and hospitals, manufacturers, retailers and distributors, accounting and consultant companies, and more. Wherever humans need to work in a warehouse, these drones can immediately automate a significant portion of warehouse operations to save both time and money. 

16. Skyports

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founders:  Duncan Walker, Simon Morrish, Simon Morrish
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series B, $34 Million
  • Investors Include: Irelandia Aviation, Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Levitate Capital

Skyports is a futuristic drone startup that’s designing, building, owning, and operating a variety of vertiport (vertical airport) networks that enable efficient and safe urban air transportation around the globe and in major markets. According to the Skyports team, aviation is on the verge of a complete revolution and transformation where electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft will be the future of urban air transport. They aim to be at the forefront of this industry trend and help build the infrastructure these vertical takeoff/landing vehicles need to thrive in urban settings. 

17. CesiumAstro

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Founders:  Shey Sabripour
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series B, $88.2 Million
  • Investors Include: Forever Ventures, Airbus Ventures, L3 Harris Technologies, Kleiner Perkins

CesiumAstro is a high-tech startup that’s developing software-defined phased array communications payloads that are ready to fly. All of their modular hardware is mission-ready, having fully completed and passed environmental testing. Whenever someone needs an off-the-shelf communications module for their custom aircraft or spacecraft, Cesium solves the problem right then and there with their digital backend modules and active phased array systems.  

Discover more top startups in Austin.

18. Tevel Aerobotics Technologies

  • Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Founders: Yaniv Maor
  • Founded In: 2016
  • Funding: Venture, $32.1 Million
  • Investors Include: Hubei Forbon Technology, AgFunder, OurCrowd, Maverick Ventures Israel

Tevel Aerobotics Technologies is a startup that’s developing fully autonomous drones and robots for use in agriculture, orchards, and farms. Farmers have a consistent problem during harvest season – there aren’t enough hands available to pick all of their fruits on time! Tevel solves this problem and prevents good fruit from rotting in the orchard by developing flying autonomous robots that can pick from the air. 

Recommended: Check out our full list of the top startups to watch!


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