SkySpecs, a drone inspection company, announced $8 million in Series B financing. The financing was led by Statkraft Ventures, with UL Ventures and Capital Midwest, with follow-on investments from Venture Investors, Huron River Ventures, and additional existing investors.
Founders and Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees, Danny Ellis and Tom Brady, along with the SkySpecs team will use the investment to scale the company’s international operations and develop advanced inspection software that enables customers to make more information-rich decisions about the condition of their energy assets.
“Last year we proved that SkySpecs is the best-in-class at collecting data that can be used to assess the health of energy infrastructure. This year we will enable owners to harness the power of the data collected by our automated drones in a platform that they can use to decide what to repair and when to repair it,” said CEO Ellis.
SkySpecs is known for their 15-minute drone inspections that require the push of a button and no additional human intervention. This speeds and simplifies previously laborious and time-consuming blade and tower inspections.
“We consider automation and standardization of O&M-related tasks the next big challenge in cost competition after hardware costs for renewable energy assets have dropped significantly over the last years,”said Alexander Kueppers, Investment Manager at Statkraft Ventures. “SkySpecs is the fastest growing inspection company in the wind sector, making rotor blade inspections more precise and safe, while keeping operations at a lower cost compared to traditional methods. Their technological expertise combined with scalable operations is the key to grow the business worldwide.”
SkySpecs combines expertise in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine-based analytics to advance renewable infrastructure inspection. The company’s guiding mission is to play a critical role in the smart grid evolution by helping make renewable energy more accessible and attainable. SkySpecs’ automated technology currently solves one of the top challenges that industrial asset owners and service providers face: making timely, informed business decisions that ultimately affect the bottom line.
This investment represents an opportunity to capitalize on that momentum.
“At UL, we see great opportunity to advance field inspections with the SkySpecs solution,” said Simin Zhou, VP and Managing Director of UL Ventures. “Using the automation of drones with the analytical power of machine learning provides efficiencies to the process and less downtime, which benefits owners and operators.”
Last year also proved pivotal for SkySpecs as they emerged the only fully automated wind-turbine blade inspection solution on the market, completing a record-breaking 3,600 turbine inspections at over 70 unique wind farms in the U.S. and Europe. To further differentiate themselves, they accomplished the technologically complex task of conducting offshore automated blade inspections without the need for human operation.
Jim Adox of Venture Investors, one of SkySpecs’ original investors, forecasts continued success for the growing SkySpecs’ team.
“We completed a strong first year of automated drone inspections for customers around the world, and capped off the year with the completion of an $8-million-dollar financing round, with the addition of four new investors,” he said. “These investors bring relevant and diverse points-of-view on the renewable energy infrastructure inspection and data market to SkySpecs. We begin 2018 with a solid balance sheet, excellent investors, and a long list of customers.”